Bollywood takes a gamble, to release Akshay film in 2,000 screens

Written by Sudipta Datta | Kolkata | Updated: Jun 26 2009, 08:41am hrs
With Bollywood having one of its leanest patches so far, distributors are taking a gamble with the forthcoming Akshay Kumar starrer Kambakkht Ishq by deciding to release it at 2,000 screens on July 3.

Its one of the widest releases for a film Aamir Khans Ghajini (1,200 prints) and Akshay Kumars Chandni Chowk to China (1,400 prints) also saw huge releases, but while Khans film grossed Rs 269 crore worldwide, Akshays film was a disaster at the box-office, earning just Rs 13 crore at the domestic box-office.

But distributors Eros International has announced that it will release Sajid Nadiadwalas Kambakkht Ishq, starring Akshay and Kareena Kapoor, and co-produced by Sunil A Lulla and directed by Sabbir Khan, at an unprecedented 2,000 plus screens worldwide 1,400 in India and over 600 overseas in a combination of prints and digital format.

Commenting on the release plans, Sunil Lulla, President, Eros International, India said: The audience and trade reactions to the first look and promos have been extremely promising and we want to leverage Eros global distribution in promoting and releasing the film.

With the wide distribution strategy, we hope to reach out to a record number of audiences worldwide. But analysts say going by the Chandni experience, its a huge risk to release widely, particularly if the content isnt strong. According to an insider, producers usually go for a more than required wide release when they know the content wont survive long at the theatres.

Under the new agreement between producers and multiplex owners, if a film does exceedingly well (Rs 18-20 crore), exhibitors will pay producers 2.5% extra for the first two weeks, similarly, if a film does badly (Rs 8-10 crore) producers will pay 2.5% to exhibitors for the first two weeks.

Bollywood is having one of its worst years with no film Chandni Chowk was a flop and even Rakeysh Omprakash Mehras Delhi 6 did average business at the BO being declared a hit so far. Thus, a lot rides on Kambakkht Ishq, acquired at a time when the meltdown/IPL/strike hadnt happened, and one of the first major releases of the second half of the year.

Producers and distributors are hoping that besides Akshay and Kareena, special guest appearances by Sylvester Stallone, Brandon Routh and Denise Richards will do the trick. But no one can take the audience for granted anymore, not even Bollywood film-makers who dish out masala movies by the dozen.