Diwali Clashes: The Screen Count Factor

Boxofficeindia.Com Trade Network

There has been a major controversy this year regarding the availability of screens but this has been the case nearly every year where one film gets the edge in terms of screens.

The possible difference this year being they were booked well in advance by Jab Tak Hai Jaan distributors which fuelled the controversy while in the past bookings were made closer to release time. The other important factors being much wider releases today and the number of screens gaining more importance as business is all about the first week. It is important to get the screens whether you get them 3 months prior to release or 6 months, its a must to have them.

Below is a look at recent Diwali clashes and the part that screen count played in them and as can be seen one film always held the edge but probably never to the extent seen this Diwali.

Golmaal 3 – 1700 screens
Action Replayy – 1400 screens

Golmaal 3 had more screens and much a better chain than Action Replayy and initially it was a one horse race as Golmaal 3 had more capacity. Action Replayy crashed after Diwali period so for Golmaal 3 it was like a solo release as it got the screens requied and the competition crashed very quickly.

Blue – 1500 screens
All The Best – 1300 screens

Blue had more screens and a better chain which reflected in opening collections. It was another matter that Blue crashed after the holiday period and All the Best picked up and started collecting more than Blue from the day five onwards. Still All The Best was a hit film in terms of content and the only reason it did not the hit business it deserved was due to the fact that it got such a low initial due to clash.

Golmaal Returns – 1250 screens
Fashion – 750 screens

Fashion being a niche film and not needing single screens meant the screens were irrelevant in this clash though the business of Fashion was hurt as audiences preferred Golmaal Returns.

Om Shanti Om – 1300 screens
Saawariya – 900 screens

This is as close as we get to the Diwali clash this year where Om Shanti Om took most of the high collecting single screens available and was a one horse race initially and unlike The Blue/All The Best scenario where the big opener crashed, here it was Saawariya that crashed.

Don – 825 screens
Jaan-E-Mann – 700 screens

As the digital revolution was in its initial stages it was a fairer situation as distributors themselves were wary of going deep into interiors as extra prints may not recover the print cost so basically two films releasing on same day did not have a screen problem. Don 2 had extra screens as being a Shahrukh Khan starrer, multiplexes gave it more screen time and the extra single screens it got was due to the fact it was action film. Jaan-E-Mann distributors could have easily released on more single screens but obviously distributors at the time preferred better occupancies at single screens as higher occupancy meant higher share.

All the clashes prior like 2005 (Garam Masala, Kyonki, Shaadi No1), 2004 (Veer Zaara, Aitraaz, Mughal-E-Azam, Naach) and before had little screen issues as there were enough to go around due to smaller releases.

We have come from a 525 screen release for Veer Zaara in 2004 to a 3300 screen release in the form of Ek Tha Tiger in 2012 as the digital revolution gained momentum especially over the last 2 years so it is inevitable that one film will come off worse in a clash especially as business is all about first week so every big film will like to have those 3000 screens in week one to capitalise but its impossible with a clash that both films get the screens required.

Son Of Sardaar has been hurt with the release this year and even though Jab Tak Hai Jaan has got the single screens it would have liked its business in multiplexes has been curtailed due to the clash. At the end of the day both films may emerge hits or even super hits but they will stay below the potential they could have achieved otherwise. Even if one does the implausible and goes to 250 crore it will still mean more was out there with the perfect release from day one which likes of Ek Tha Tiger, Ra.On, Bodyguard etc got.


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