rise of what the industry is now calling the R100-crore club,” Gianchandani adds.
The multiplex culture also gave rise to what are often referred to as “multiplex films”. With scripts and storylines that look beyond the formulaic big-budget entertainers, this new genre proved that there is a discerning audience for films that is high on content but may lack star power. It is, in fact, this genre that made producers realise the need to take up distribution. Although for good cinema, distributors would show reluctance to buy these films since there was no star factor. But good response in the multiplexes to films such as Bheja Fry encouraged producers. “At UTV, we’ve done Udaan, Aamir and Paan Singh Tomar, among several others, where we backed strong scripts and used marketing to generate curiosity that initially brought in the audience. We would open small but word-of-mouth would help the film grow bigger over the weeks following its release,” says Verma.
“But every film cannot release in 2,500 screens—that is something only the big stars bring in, such as the Khans, Hrithik Roshan and now Ranbir Kapoor, among others. For other films that include a studio's yearly slate, we come up with plans that help us maximise our gains without compromising on a film’s run,” says Vivek Krishnani, head, distribution-marketing-syndication, Fox Star Studios.
So apart from getting studios to device individual distribution strategies for films, this also made them relook at the marketing of a film—something that was a mere formality earlier but is today often the make-or-break factor for a film. “Today, with so many awaited films releasing week after week—some Fridays see multiple releases—and jostling for audience attention, their shelf life has gone down from several weeks to the opening weekend,” points out Gianchandani.
Verma adds that, in addition, they are racing against the growing home video and satellite landscapes. “The threat of piracy is very high too with the Internet increasing that risk. All it takes is for one pirated copy to pop up anywhere across the world. In such a scenario, distributors aim for as wide a release as