Trade Winds Cinema

One film, many release dates

A still from Rajini Murugan, whose release has been postponed several times  

Maya and Trisha Illana Nayanthara have both managed to make the most of the Vinayaga Chaturthi weekend, benefitting greatly from Vijay’s Puli and Sivakarthikeyan’s Rajini Murugan being postponed. Puli, as originally planned, would have had a solo release worldwide had it released on September 17, but now, with the film slated to release on October 1, it will clash with Akshay Kumar’s Singh is Bling, thus losing some of its lucrative overseas income. Sivakarthikeyan’s Rajini Murugan, which was planned for the Vinayaga Chaturthi weekend, could not make it to the screens due to financial issues plaguing the project. As a result, Sivakarthikeyan’s publicity campaign to promote the film went in vain, at a time when aggressive pre-release promotions are a must for a film to succeed. Interestingly, this is not a problem other industries, which are bigger than Kollywood, face. Sony Pictures, for instance, has fixed May 4, 2018, as the date for the worldwide release of The Amazing Spider-Man 4. Similarly, in Bollywood, the movies featuring the top stars have already blocked important release dates in 2016.

While Bollywood has even gone on to announce the Diwali releases for next year, in Kollywood, even this year’s Deepavali release (just 50 days away) remains a mystery. With the festival being barely a month away, the industry is yet to announce any big releases. As of now, only three films are likely to release for Deepavali — Kamal Haasan’s Thoongaavanam, Ajith’s Thala 56 and Dhanush’s Velai Illa Pattathari 2. And if any of these films do not release on the stipulated date, there are six other smaller films waiting to cash in.

The importance of a festival release date itself seems to have diminished, as people now prefer to watch programmes or the latest films on television instead.

The advantage of sticking to a release date is there for all to see. Take the case of Thani Oruvan. The Jayam Ravi-starrer’s release date was announced well in advance. The film managed to get prime screens, the producers worked out a a good promotional strategy, and finally, the content also worked out big time. Repeated changes in release date upset the actors involved in the film.

On the contrary, Anushka Shetty’s bilingual Rudhramadevi has seen as many as four changes to its release date in the past six months. Now they have fixed the date as October 9, a week after the release of Puli. But the film is yet to be censored, and also, there is no clarity whether the film’s VFX work has been completed. In the meantime, Anushka’s other bilingual, Inji Iduppazhagi (Size Zero in Telugu) is ready for release, and its trailer has gone viral. But producers PVP Cinema are in a fix, as they are waiting for Rudhramadevi to release first.

Typically, Tamil films generate nearly 60 per cent of their theatrical collections during the first three days after release. This explains why planning a release date in advance is vital. During the 80s and 90s, big production houses in the Tamil film industry used to announce the release date of their film on the day of the pooja itself. Therefore, when a big sum like Rs. 60 crore-plus is spent on a big star movie, you could be absolutely sure that it had the optimum opening date, even if that meant fixing the release date much in advance.

In the present-day scenario, however, Kollywood stars and producers try to keep the release date a closely guarded secret, as they do not know if the film’s release will be affected by any issue. These could be financial, or arising from some controversy about the film.

A leading producer says he does not know when his film will get released, due to several external factors beyond his control. He says he is planning to release his big budget movie in the summer of 2016, and will confirm his release date only after the election commission announces the dates for the Tamil Nadu assembly election.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 10:03:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/when-bigger-industries-like-hollywood-and-bollywood-stick-to-release-dates-why-cant-kollywood/article7668444.ece

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