AskIndicine: Live Again

Q. Can Akshay Kumar cross 300 crore if he gets a universal script like BB or PK on an Eid or Christmas weekend?

A. We have already seen that a film released during IPL (April end) has crossed 500 crore in Hindi and a film that released during Eid has fallen short of even 150 crore. So it’s not just about the weekend, but the star cast, budget and more importantly the concept and treatment of the film (which has to be universal). Akshay formula of making low budget films, shooting them in quick time, without a popular female star.. is not going to generate enough excitement all over. Also, inspite of his big success in the last couple of years, his films haven’t really opened to a big response. Both ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ which had the worst campaign in recent times (nothing worked except one or two songs) and ‘Tubelight’ took significantly better opening. The case was the same with ‘Jolly LLB 2’, what with the trade expecting 15-20 crore opening, but the film falling well short of that. So unless the opening numbers of 20-25 crore come, those big grossers will be out of reach. A film can’t get from 12 cr on Day 1 to 250-300 lifetime.

Q. Tiger Zinda Hai, Robot 2.0, Thugs of Hindostan, Srk dwarf….. which is the biggest and safest movie?

A. The biggest among these in terms of budget is ‘Robot 2.0’. None are safe because the budgets are high and they need to be good films to work. The Dwarf film is the riskiest.

Q. You said that Remo is not a good director but his movies like Faltu, both abcd were fairly entertaining and very popular among youth. And nowadays big directors are failing and average directors are punching above weight. So don’t u think u are underestimating Remo?

A. We can only state our opinion here. ‘Faltu’ was a decent film, ABCD 1 and 2 can’t be called well-directed films, it worked because of dance and the second had a good star cast too. ‘A Flying Jatt’ was a terribly bad film. It’s not true that average directors are producing good films. The bigger directors have failed because of the type of films they have been choosing. We think Abbas-Mustan were better choices and we hope they do not compromise somewhere to get the film ready for Eid next year. Even though ‘Race’ is a big franchise and safer than the previous film that Remo and Salman were planning, it would still need to be a good film. Thrash will be rejected these days, a fairly entertaining film will survive.

Q. Is the buzz of Judwaa 2 decreasing due to total copy of old film ?

A. It’s the same old case of a good trailer being ruined by songs. The songs clearly haven’t worked the way they were expected to and a section of audience is disliking the songs. But we still think ‘Judwaa 2’ is too big a film to do anything less than 70-80 crore at the box office. It has a lot of holidays, so the film should be through in the first extended weekend itself – unless the opening is well below expectations.

Q. Deepika is huge female superstar but her own movies not opened well at the box office so in terms of stardom is Varun bigger star than Deepika?

A. Definitely bigger. Female stars in the industry, with all due respect to them, are not crowd pullers. Anushka is one of the top stars we have, but her film ‘Phillauri’ opened at 4 crore and even that was driven by Diljit Dosanj’s popularity in the north. Punjab was the biggest earner for the film, above Mumbai which was the biggest circuit. Even Delhi/UP was better than Mumbai. And all this was because of Diljit’s presence. We don’t mean to take any credit away from the actresses in the industry, they add tremendous value to the big films.. but crowd-pullers on their own is something they aren’t.

Q. Can Tiger Zinda Hai be the highest grosser of all time?

A. No point asking such questions, they cannot be answered. If it’s an extraordinary action film, it definitely has chances of beating Dangal. There is tremendous potential for the action genre in India.

Q. Who was the superstar or came close to being a superstar? Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Govinda, Sanjay Dutt?

A. Sunny Deol, by some distance as compared to others. He was a major star, who, given the fact that he still looks good, had the potential to achieve a lot more Post-Gadar. Choice of films let him down and his films simply didn’t appeal to the newer multiplex generation.

Q. Why is it that Anurag Kashyap is overly rated in media and Rohit Shetty undermined? I mean a lot of people love Rohit rather than Anurag but why is media so cruel?

A. That’s the problem with the section of media and journalists who consider themselves to be a part of the elite group of intellectuals. There’s a big disconnect between them and those leading normal lives.  They think their intellect is far too superior to like films that Rohit Shetty makes, which the audience likes. But the thrash that Anurag Kashyap produces is called a masterpiece, which the audience doesn’t even relate to. The style of filmmaking has to be Indian. The audience that want to watch films that Anurag / Imtiaz etc make, can watch superior films from Hollywood and other international film industries. After all, a month long subscription of Netflix has far better rom-coms as compared to ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’. The point of watching that film is Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma, but 99% of the audience do not like watching them in these romantic comedies with ‘world-appealing’ treatment. The industry in general needs to stop wasting money on filmmakers like Anurag, Vishal Bhardwaj etc.. the likes of Shoojit Sircar and Aanand L Rai are far better.

Q. What is the current status of Baadshaho? Can it emerge a hit? What is your worst case scenario analysis on this?

A. Baadshaho is below average / flop.

Q. Ajay Devgn said he never had a low phase in his career. Your take?

A. It’s true. For some actors, the success ratio makes no difference. One flop for Salman or Shah Rukh or Aamir is discussed and remembered for months, whereas actors like Ajay and Akshay move on very quickly from failures. It could be because of lower budgets, faster pace of working and signing new films. Shivaay and Baadshaho have failed, but Ajay now has a big film like Golmaal Again, which should work and all will be well again. If the next two after Golmaal don’t work, he has a Singham to bank on.

Q. Indicine is 7 December 2018 is confirmed release date for Namaste Canada?

A. Yes. Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra.

Q. Firstly congratulations as you’re back to your awesome predictions getting on target. Your site is probably the most reliable and accurate site like a gold standard :) I would want to know your opinion on Raees collections. Yes it didn’t perform as well as the distributor price was high, but don’t you think getting 139 cr in the month of Jan without a festive release, with a clash against a big movie is a MASSIVE achievement and also became a Semi Hit. Also is Raees still the highest grosser of the year? Thanks and keep rocking!

A. Raees is still the highest grosser of the year. It’s certainly a decent lifetime total, but for the kind of promos and pre-release hype, Raees had chances of crossing the 200 crore mark if it was a better film. It had the best promos in recent times and a terrific cast. The director was the problem.

Q. Does Cricket Matches still affect films or is it just a myth now?

A. Big matches do affect film business, especially key world cup matches featuring India. It depends on the match itself and how exciting the contest is.. when television ratings for the cricket matches are high, footfalls at theatres are lower. It’s more significant for bigger films, which have seen a drop when cricket matches take place. The negative impact of IPL has reduced.

Q. With audience becoming extremely choosy, do you think it will help big films like TZH, Golmaal 4 get extra audience and earn much more than they would have in normal circumstances?

A. The bigger films will definitely start getting higher share of revenue. It was the case before also, but now with the audience getting choosier, the better films will start earning more. If promos are as good or better than ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, it could get pretty crazy for ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’. The stills they have released are already looking brilliant, now they have to back it up with a big-impact trailer.

Q. Hi guys! My first time asking a question. From Turkey! As an educated and business person I don’t understand how corporates and production houses in India can release some movies. I mean some of them are so bad that starting from scripting stage till acting and editing. Even music. I mean how do they approve the songs. Cant they say to music composers, no it is not good enough I want better… or do they think they are good. Some songs are sooo bad I cant see anybody paying and approving them… Or is it just easy to say than doing? I feel like most of the movies could have been done better with some well planned schedule and hard work!

A. Most of these corporates do not understand the Indian audience. When a film like ‘Rangoon’ is paid the kind of money it got, it’s surprising. What was even more surprising was Sajid Nadiadwala producing that kind of movie. It’s difficult to understand why, but even banners like Yash Raj Films headed by a very like Aditya Chopra is losing what we call ‘knowing the pulse of the audience’. This is the same director who made films like DDLJ and Mohabbatein and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. It is the same banner that dominated the early 2000s with back-to-back hits. People would see YRF as the banner and go watch films. Now they are dependent on Salman and Aamir, who will obviously squeeze out the profits. None of their smaller films are working, in fact most are becoming major disasters. So when a banner like YRF is going wrong, it’s not even worth discussing the other corporate banners that are heading by professionals. About songs, not every song can be good, but we do not need so many songs in films and we do not need to show full 3 minute long song videos before release. But music rights is big money and companies like T-Series make money from the song promos. But when everyone sees their own benefit and plays safe, what is reducing is the value that a film ticket provides. All this results in reduced ticket sales. There is a year-on-year downfall in footfalls at theatres, 2017 is dismal without Bahubali 2.

Q. It is a boring scenario. There is not much to talk about when there is no film recently released or will be releasing soon of any superstar. The fate of the other movies are almost sealed after the trailer is released. Most of the songs are remixed version of old songs, no chartbuster song in a good while. I do miss a good old romantic movies or a good action movie with a young hero. Someone with karisma. The heroes from young generation havent actually created the mass hysteria, and I think its too late for them.. I’ve loved indian movies, but now, I dont even bother to stream them for free. Not that I’ve lost interest, but there is nothing interesting to watch. Where do you see the industry in 10 years, if nothing changes?

A. You summed it up actually, none of the upcoming films look interesting or exciting is the biggest problem. The 10 year outlook is pretty bleak as the industry hasn’t yet produced someone worthy enough to be called a superstar after Hrithik Roshan (year 2000) and the guys who are ruling are those who made their debut 25-27 years ago. So the biggest are actually the oldest.

Just a look at Judwaa 2 promos makes everything clear. Watch the old promos, Salman was natural, charismatic and brilliant in the tapori character. Varun simply doesn’t match up, which wasn’t the case with his previous films but it could be because of the burden of expectations and obvious comparisons with Salman. The industry is still star-driven – the other smaller films that are called hits, aren’t watched by 99.9% of the population (i.e a film like Bareilly Ki Barfi was only watched by around 0.15% of the Indian population in theatres) – whereas a film like Bahubali 2 was watched by 9-10% of the population. That’s a massive difference between the biggest hit and the smaller hits.  So unless we produce big stars or massive films (which become very risky without bankable stars).. we aren’t quite sure how the industry will survive after Salman, Aamir, SRK, Akshay are done. They need to either retain their star power beyond the age of 60 or the industry needs to get its next sensation.

Q. How much credit will be given to Akshay Kumar for the success and collections of Robot 2.0 in Hindi? He is the big face from North (presently the 3rd biggest crowdpuller), while some ppl claim it will be only Rajini film and not Akshay’s coz he is playing a villain. What do you say?

A. It’s unfair to call him the 3rd biggest crowd puller, when SRK will easily better him on Day 1 and even weekend with mixed word-of-mouth film. He is certainly the 3rd biggest star when it comes to current standing in the industry. That aside, the credit for the Hindi collections of Robot 2.0 will go to Akshay. South (Andhra/Karnataka and lower) obviously, it’ll be Rajnikanth’s show. How big can Akshay make the film in the North, Central and East of India will be what we’d be looking at.

Q. What are the box office prospects of Lucknow Central? How is the buzz and how much can it collect?

A. Very poor, there’s no interest to watch the film. It’ll open slow, rest is content dependent.

Q. I feel Akshay couldn’t attain those big numbers at b.o. due the quality which is compromised for the quantity of the film’s he does. If he reduce quantity and focus on more quality than now can he get big grossers . Your views please

A. Not every actor is into the number game, certainly not Akshay. When everything is going right and he has cracked a strategy that has him doing low budget films that can be completed in quick time.. he has no reason to change it. Increase in the quantity is of huge importance to the industry, especially the trade, exhibitors. If they had to made a choice, they’d pick 6-8 Akshay films in 2 years over 1 big Aamir film during the same period. It’s a no-brainer. It’s between Salman and Akshay at the moment actually, even without Akshay performing at record-levels. If Salman can sustain his level and do two films every year, there’s nothing better than that.

Q. Buzz for Simran? Has Kangana’s “promotions” worked?

A. She has opted for quite possibly the most shameless form of film promotion in recent times. She has also used the media pretty well, but the audience is not dumb. They’ll come to theatres only if the film is worth a watch in theatres. However, if the film was good indeed good, Kangana probably would’ve have needed this sort of promotion.

Q. Any confirmed news on KRRISH 4’s release date? And how big the ‘KRRISH’ brand is? Hrithik should do a commercial movie now and probably Krrish is the best choice. Your comment please.

A. There’s nothing confirmed about Krrish 4, no release date yet. The brand is huge, especially at smaller centres. At major multiplexes and ‘class centres’ it’s probably weakened a little – if we compare Krrish 3 to the first two films in the series. With the right release date and budget, it would still be one of the biggest films of the year.

Q. So now Indicine has started directly insulting directors and even the audience, giving them advice to watch “world cinema” at Netflix instead of Bollywood films.
Who the hell are you to give advice to the audience who likes class cinema?? Btw, Directors like Rohit Shetty and Karan Johar can do shit without big stars in their movies. It’s always a big star who saves their ass. Anurag Kashyap movies dont ‘connect’ with the audience?? Yeah sure, and Rohit Shetty’s flying cars ‘connect’ very well I guess?? Do you even know what does it means by ‘connecting’ with the audience??

A. The ‘connect’ with the audience means, films that do well at the box office. If films are liked, it’ll reflect in the collections because people are paying to watch. Sure, a Rohit Shetty and Karan Johar might need stars, but directors like Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj can ruin the career of stars.. like we’ve seen with films like Bombay Velvet and even Jab Harry Met Sejal. As for ‘who the hell are we to give advice’ – we are not advising them, but stating our opinion on our website  to our readers.

Q. How is “Secret Superstar” shaping up to be? What is the actual buzz so far & how appealing can it be? How will it affect Golmaal’s collection?? & lastly 2 films in 2 months for Ajay Devgan.. Will it affect Golmaal much as far as Ajay’s core fan base is concerned?

A. The interest for the film is steady, not too high not too low. Perfect space for the film to take a decent opening on the strength of Aamir’s name and then take it from there. It’s a great release date for a film like Secret Superstar. It’s difficult to say if it’ll affect Golmaal collection. It shouldn’t, unless Secret Superstar is a masterpiece and Golmaal Again is trashy. It’s a similar scenario to Welcome and Taare Zameen Par.

Q. Is Baadshaho is profitable to distributer?

A. No. They’ll lose around 8 crore.

Q. Ayushman khurana is a Fantastic actor but he cannot termed as a superstar.What types of movie he had to do to be a superstar.

A. His films are limited to cities and are word-of-mouth dependent. The success of ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ will help him, but ‘superstar’ is something that even far biggest crowd-pullers like Ranbir and Varun haven’t attained.

Q. I m not going to participate in further QnA session if I not got my answer this time is their any film targeting Xmas 2018 along with SRK if yes then which actor?

A. How do we answer questions for which there are no answers? Right now no one has targeted. The release is too far away. For now it’s a solo release for Christmas.

Q. INDICINE Plz reply! Who is most discussed actor in all Ask Indicine Sessions?? Plz answer otherwise it would be clear that you people r not replying to Pakistani Fans!!

A. It’s usually SRK / Salman. But in the last few months, lot of questions related to Akshay.

Q. Does Shahid Kapoor has any advantage over any new comer as in Does he need to invent his career same as a newcomer in industry or his past has any advantage that can take his quality or accepted content movie somewhere . I feel he should have been doing film’s like bareily ki barfi and shubh mangal savdhan . Your views please

A. A lot has already been spoken about Shahid Kapoor in previous QnA’s. He’s always been promising talent, which explains why he continues to get films even though none of his films have even crossed the 70 crore mark. He’s struggling only because of his choice of films – which can make or break even a talented actor.

Q. Why is it that good films like SMS and BKB struggle to collect big nos across India? Is it because Teir 2 and Tier 3 cities and villages prefer only to watch good films of BIG stars. Also these films have collected very well in Metros. Is it because Metro audiences are more willing to accept good content even with not so popular stars? Hence in totatility is it fair to conclude that if you want to have a big Pan india successful film STARS+CONTENT is mandatory and the presence of only 1 of the 2 will not ensure BIG success?

A. It’s because of lack of face value. You ask anyone if he / she would want to watch a film and the first question would be.. who are the actors. If their names are not appealing enough or sometimes unheard of, then people won’t spend on movie tickets to watch the film. That’s what differentiates the big stars from the rest. Toilet:Ek Prem Katha doesn’t really have a ‘big film’ feel to it, but because it features someone like Akshay Kumar, a larger section of the audience feels it is worth spending on his films. The same film with Ayushman and business would be cut by 75%. Even at multiplexes, people are reluctant to spend on films with smaller stars, unless the film is very good and falls in the recommended / must watch category.

Q. How is the buzz if the judwaa 2 right now and can it touch 20cr opening and above 60cr weekend?

A. 20 looks difficult. With better songs and promos, it had a chance.

Q. This is going to be a longish question, so bear with me. I’ve been a patron to this site and am deeply disappointed by some glaring inconsistency in your articles off late. Let me start –

1) Tubelight was sold at a price of Rs 135 crore. The recovery cost was estimated at around 250 cr. It bundled up under 115 cr, hence the distributor share was around 57 cr. One can clearly see the ginormous loss here. JHMS was sold at 70 cr. The recovery cost was estimated at around 150 cr. It wounded up under 60 cr hence the distributor share will be around 30 cr. The loss is definitely there but minimal as compared to Tubelight. Let me add, these are figures from trade websites only. Now in what universe is JHMS a disaster and Tubelight just a flop? You’ve yourself termed Tubelight a ‘colossal failure’ in one of your articles, is that an euphemism for flop or disaster? In fact sticking to the same topic till date you’ve not written an article on the verdict of Tubelight but had been ultra quick to describe the debacle of JHMS. Why? In terms of money lost Tubelight is probably a much bigger failure than JHMS, then why is the latter a disaster and former a flop?

2) I’ve often observed you quoting figures of SRK and Salman films with a slight change of texture in your voice. In articles, more than one, I’ve seen you saying “FAN collected 19.52 crore on a partial holiday of Ram Navami, real value of which comes out to be 15 cr”. Why’s there a need to calculate the “real value” of a movie, let alone a SRK one? If thats the way to go why have I never seen you quoting the “real value” of Tubelight on Eid, which was a full-fledged holiday, released on a good 1000 screens more than FAN and ended up collecting almost 50 lakhs lesser than the SRK-starrer? In fact you factored in the Pre-Eid dullness and said the opening day value of Tubelight is actually 24 cr, a good 3 cr higher than what it collected. Now these kind of articles throw me off-guard because then I start questioning myself whether I’m being a fed a neutral narrative here or not.

Look, I’m a SRK fan but that doesn’t mean I’ve to hate and belittle any other actor. I’ve never done it and will never do so. I just don’t come from that school of thought. All I’m saying is that the above observations have baffled and saddened me in equal measure. I hope all my concerns will
be addressed with the same semblance of rationalism and sensibility that I tried to exhibit. Thank you!

A. We’d have to do an entire article for this, but we are going to keep it short. One, the economics of two films cannot be compared, more so when Salman covered a huge chunk of the losses and returned it back to the distributors. Jab Harry Met Sejal is a huge disaster every which way it’s looked at. The distributors lost huge money and purely from theatrical business point-of-view, a big star cast film, with the kind of money spent on producing it.. lifetime business of 60 crore is disastrous. Tubelight collected almost double of that.

About your second point on ‘real value’, it’s a norm in the industry. A full holiday can give films as much as 35-50% advantage. Ramzan or Pre Diwali release affects film business too. There’s no hate for SRK or any other actor here.

That’s the end of QnA for today. Thank you for joining us.

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