Trade Winds Movies

Why the second half of 2018 is crucial for Kollywood

Will the upcoming festive season change the tide for the Tamil film industry?

August is here and if the first six months are anything to go by, 2018 is turning out to be a disappointing year for the industry. But the Tamil Nadu box-office staged a fantastic comeback in July as two films released in the same week, Tamizh Padam 2 (July 12) and Kadaikutty Singam (July 13), turned out to be super hits.

As per trade sources, 90 Tamil films have released in the first seven months of the year, but box-office collections have taken a big drop of 25% to 30% this year. And, there has not been a universal blockbuster like Baahubali 2 so far this year. The divide between urban and rural audiences is there to see; while Tamizh Padam 2 has rocked the urban centres (which accounts for almost 70% of the total gross of the film) while Kadaikutty Singam has grossed almost 65% of its total gross from rural and semi-urba areas. Rajinikanth’s Kaala has grossed bigger in urban centres compared to rural areas.

Abirami Ramanathan, leading exhibitor and distributor, says, “The early trends of 2018 clearly indicate that theatrical collections are going downhill. Theatre audiences have dwindled and it has become a weekend (80% to 90% occupancy) business, with dismal footfalls during week days (20% to 30% occupancy).” The veteran blames Tamil Film Producers Council’s ‘no new Tamil releases’ for 48 days in its fight against DSPs (digital service providers) for this situation. “After the 48-day strike during summer peak time, the OTT (Over The Top) platforms and Hollywood films like Avengers: Infinity War replaced Tamil content,” says a peeved Ramanathan.

Why the second half of 2018 is crucial for Kollywood

Ramanathan feels a star can have an opening only on the first day, and content decides its fate from day two. He explains, “Today, cinema is only another form of entertainment. For the first time I’m seeing audiences preferring OTT platforms (Amazon Prime Video and Netflix) and web series, to visiting theatres.” In fact, a report of a major multiplex states that “footfalls have dropped by 15% to 20% across cinema theatres in Tamil Nadu in the first half of 2018 due to increased ticket rates as a result of GST and Local Body Entertainment Tax levied by the State Government.”

Biggest grossers this year (estimated gross)
  • Kaala Rs 65 Cr
  • Kadaikutty Singam (still running) Rs 42 Cr
  • Thaana Serandha Kootam Rs 40 Cr
  • Irumbu Thirai Rs 38 Cr
  • Tik Tik Tik Rs 36 Cr
  • Tamizh Padam 2 (still running) Rs 25 Cr
  • * The estimated gross has been culled from trade sources and is only an indication of the returns of a film

As G Dhananjayan, a leading producer, remarked, “We are in a challenging phase in Tamil cinema as even a highly-appreciated film does not run more than 100 screens after its first week. The theatrical life span of even a hit film has reduced to two to three weeks. This is not the situation in markets like Kerala or Andhra Pradesh, where a hit film has a good run for at least four to five weeks.”

A leading Tamil film financier, on the condition of anonymity, said, “I have gone slow on funding new projects due to trouble over recovering my principal amount and the hassles I face when people don’t settle their accounts but prefer filing police cases.” Even traditional film financiers are now slowly getting into web series funding for those with confirmed agreement letter from OTT platforms.

This year’s hits are nowhere near the revenue generated by last year’s hits like Baahubali 2 and Mersal, feels Rakesh Gowthaman of Vettri Theatre. But he’s hopeful because of the line-up for the second half of the year, which will see festival releases as well. Like him, all eyes in the trade are on the packed second half of the year, which will determine the future of theatrical collections in Tamil Nadu.

Movies to watch out for

August 10 (Independence Day Weekend) Vishwaroopam2

August 17 Kolamavu Kokila

August 24 (Onam Weekend ) Imaikka Nodigal

August 31 96 The Movie

September 13 (Vinayaga Chathurthi Weekend) Seema Raja

September 20 (Muharram weekend) Saamy Square

September 27 (Gandhi Jayanthi Weekend) Enai Noki Paayum Thota

October 18 (Pooja Weekend) Sanda Kozhi2, Kaatrin Mozhi and Vaada Chennai

November 2 (Deepavali Weekend) Sarkar

November 29 2 Point O

December 21 NGK, Dhruva Natchathiram

(All dates are tentative and subject to change)

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 4:16:59 AM |

Next Story