Trade Winds Movies

Summer gone dry in Kollywood

The April 26 weekend, considered the best time to release a film, will unfortunately see no major Tamil films

The heat wave is certainly on, but that doesn’t seem to be driving people into the air-conditioning comforts of a theatre. This Friday (April 26) will see no major Tamil releases. Usually, the last Friday followed by May Day is considered by the film trade as the weekend that makes the highest collection of the year, because schools and colleges are closed. However, 2019 is different — there are no major big hero releases in Tamil currently, with most of them slated only for the second half of May. Last week’s release, the Raghava Lawrence-starrer Kanchana 3, is making merry at the summer box-office with virtually no competition.

This year, the last Friday of April will be dominated by the biggest tentpole Hollywood extravaganza Avengers Endgame, which will be releasing in English and Tamil in nearly 400 screens in the State. The advance booking for the film has surpassed the blockbuster Baahubali 2, which released on April 28, 2017. It may look bizarre but there are no big or small Tamil releases on supposedly the best date to release a film in the State.

Sivakarthikeyan’s comedy entertainer with Nayanthara Mr Local, which had announced a May 1 release, has been postponed to May 17. A few other big Tamil films which were scheduled to open around this date have all been pushed to the last week of May. A member of the release regulation committee (now defunct) of Tamil Film Producers Council said, on the condition of anonymity, “This date came for heated discussion among members about six months back when four big films were vying for it. Later, the release regulation committee itself was disbanded after member producers started flouting release dates. Now, due to bad planning, the most prestigious release date of the year has gone to a foreign multinational company.”

Big Tamil film producers are now keen on hitting the screens on festival dates, as they think it holds more box-office potential. They feel two big films can release on the same festival weekend and succeed. The huge success of Rajinikanth’s Petta and Ajith’s Viswasam, which released this year for the Pongal weekend, is now taken as a case study.

But little do they realise that both these stars are A-listers and the content of their films worked with the audiences. Balasubramaniyam of Baba Complex, Coimbatore, said, “From the days of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, festival release dates had an extra valuation at the box-office. That continues for star films even today. But the last weekend of April is now as big as a festival date. We should have had a major Tamil release, even if it meant clashing with Avengers Endgame.”

According to insiders in the Tamil film trade, the basic issue is lack of planning and execution by the producers, directors and actors concerned. A leading producer, who missed out on the major release date, said, “I tried my best, but everything went haywire. To be honest, nobody in Kollywood can plan a release date one year in advance and finish a film on time because we work in a haphazard work environment, with scripts being re-written on the sets and budgets going haywire thanks to post production delays. Also, the censor process takes ages, delaying the release sometimes by months.”

Big hero Tamil films have taken over the festival dates in the next six months. Ajith’s Nerkonda Paarvai has announced an Independence Day weekend release on August 10, while Suriya’s Kaappaan hits the screens on August 30 for the Vinayaka Chathurthi weekend. Vijay’s big budget untitled Vijay 63 is confirmed for Deepavali on October 27. Rajinikanth’s Darbar will hit screens for Pongal 2020.

All that’s later but currently, all eyes are on Sivakarthikeyan’s Mr Local versus Vijay Sethupathi’s Sindhubaadh slated for May 17 and Suriya’s NGK probably taking on Vikram’s Kadaram Kondan on May 31 for the Eid weekend.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:16:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/summer-gone-dry-in-kollywood/article26940539.ece

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