From Vishwaroopam 2 to Kolamavu Kokila, Tamil films releasing in quick succession are eating into each other’s profits

Sreedhar Pillai

Aug,25 2018 15:13:13 IST

It is the familiar story in Kollywood, far too many films releasing on the same day, and most of them bombing at the box-office. Tamil film industry has been reeling out 200 plus films for the last four years in a row and the success rate is hovering between 7 to 12 percent. A dismal number for an industry valued around Rs 1500 to 1700 crore. Still, every week nearly half a dozen films are getting ready for release, as the festival season approaches.

This Friday — 24 August, there were four Tamil releases and next Friday five more are getting ready to hit the screens. In September, an actor like Arvind Swamy will have three releases — Naragasooran, Sathuranga Vettai 2 and Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. 15 other big and medium films have announced September release and some of them have big artists like Sivakarthikeyan, Vijay Sethupathi, Simbu and a few others. On Vinayaga Chathurthi day (13 September) it is going to be Sivakarthikeyan’s Seema Raja versus Vijay Sethupathi’s 96 along with Samantha’s U-Turn.

And for the big Pooja holiday weekend (17 to 21 October) Dhanush’s Vada Chennai, Vishal’s Sandakozhi 2 and Jyothika’s Kaatrin Mozhi are slated for release. And there is going to be big Diwali fireworks as two superstars clash — Vijay’s Sarkar versus Suriya’s NGK. Kalaipuli S Thanu, leading producer and distributor says: "There are far too many films releasing creating a glut in the market. Making a film is easy these days but getting it released is the real challenge."

Vishwaroopam 2/Image from Twitter.

Vishwaroopam 2/Image from Twitter.

The situation is alarming with four films on an average releasing a week, and by Monday being removed from multiplexes due to lack of audiences. The avalanche of releases eats into each other’s collection leaving even a hit film bruised. Take for example Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam 2, by its second weekend 90 percent of the screens playing it has either removed or shifted it to smaller screens with token one or two shows. Pyaar Prema Kadhal, an unknown film with a new star cast which released in limited screens along with Vishwaroopam 2, became a hit and replaced it in most screens along with Nayanthara’s Kolamavu Kokila.

In the good old days, even if a big film was bad, respect was given by theatres to its star value which allowed a free run in the second week. Now merciless chopping is taking place and only films with good content and audience acceptance is given preference. Today, everything hinges on a smooth release and the all-important opening a film takes. If the morning show reports of a film on day one of its release are average, it has no chance to pick up, at the same time if word-of-mouth is good the film will survive the weekend.

Competition is so high that even if a film is declared a hit after the opening weekend, there are new releases to battle the next week. For multiplexes the bottom line is occupancy which drives the sale of food and beverages at their concessions. And for that they have discovered that playing other language films (read English and Hindi) are far more profitable than playing Tamil films.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Film Producers Council has set up a 'Release Regulation Committee', which says films should be released according to their date of censor certificate. It means films which get censored earlier will be given a preferred date, but this is flouted all the time by producers with clout. And Tamil cinema has the maximum cases of films announced with release date and theatre booking being cancelled at the last moment due to financial issues. Once a film’s release date gets pushed, it creates more problems on the already choked release pipeline.

The way forward is that the stake holders of the Tamil film industry should come together and take a joint decision on release dates. And those who miss their release date should be penalised. A more professional approach is the need of the hour.

Updated Date: Aug 25, 2018 15:13 PM