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After Pathaan, theatres pin hopes on Holi week to bring back cheer

Traditionally, Holi weekends have always been milder for cinemas when compared to the festive periods of Eid, Diwali or Christmas, since most theatres on Holi day have a slow start, with shows scheduled only post 12 noon.
After Pathaan, theatres pin hopes on Holi week to bring back cheer
The holiday week will see the release of the romantic comedy Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar starring Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor.
  • Lata Jha
  • LiveMint

Last Updated: 11.26 PM, Mar 06, 2023

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Movie theatres that have seen little respite since the lone success of Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan in January, are now pinning hopes on the Holi week to bring some cheer back to the business. The holiday week will see the release of the romantic comedy Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar starring Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor which has reported good advance, especially in urban markets, and is banking on director Luv Ranjan and the lead actors’ fan base.

The film is expected to open with collections of over 10 crore on day one, which could end the dull period for cinemas with neither Hollywood nor Hindi films scoring big.

“The Holi week is likely to be a steady one at cinemas with Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar the only main release over the period, allowing the film to be a focus for both audiences and cinema halls,” Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer, cinemas, BookMyShow said. “We are expecting families and friends to celebrate the festivities together and are optimistic that the festival will bode well for the movies’ run across the country,” he added. Having said that, Pathaan is still having a strong run, which will be further amplified over the holiday period, he said.

Calling Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar Ranbir Kapoor’s next outing after Brahmastra, Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, executive director, PVR Ltd agreed the film is expected to start well over the extended Holi weekend and is certain to strike a chord with the youth. A Punjabi film titled Mitran Da Naa Chalda will also release this week, he said.

Traditionally, Holi weekends have always been milder for cinemas when compared to the festive periods of Eid, Diwali or Christmas, since most theatres on Holi day have a slow start, with shows scheduled only post 12 noon. “However, families are likely to step out after that and enjoy the festive day watching a film in the theatres” Saksena added.

To be sure, challenges for Holi release also arise from the fact that it is close to the examination period for students in schools and colleges. However, it is usually lucrative for films, especially in tier-II cities and towns where people step out in large numbers.

Audiences have been starved of content this year, with both Hindi and Hollywood films such as Selfiee, Shehzada and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, faring below par over the past few weeks. Estimates by investment banking firm Elara Capital Ltd suggest that overall box office revenue for exhibitors may see a decline of 10-15% quarter-on-quarter in Q4 FY23, due to Hindi content not doing well, except Pathaan, and no positive surprises in regional or English content.

With advances for Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar having opened late Saturday, at last count, the film had sold slightly over 25,000 tickets at national chains, making for a decent start. 

Bihar-based exhibitor Vishek Chauhan said the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer is playing on the romantic, boy-next-door image the actor has been known for, thanks to hits like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, making for a positive correlation in audiences’ minds. Further, director Luv Ranjan is coming off a spate of box office successes, including Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety and Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2.

“The only demerit is the film is looking very urban and the films that have mostly worked post covid have all been mass-market offerings. But it’s a solo release, plus the songs and the festive period should bring families into theatres,” Chauhan said adding that the youth is already on board.

Audiences have been prompt in making time if they are excited by a film, regardless of whether it’s a holiday or not, Chauhan said.

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