At one time, Diwali was considered to be the best time for big ticket films. And Shah Rukh Khan is said to be synonymous with the festival of lights as his films like 'Veer-Zaara' and 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' struck box-office gold. However, with 'Ghajini' and 'Taare Zameen Par', Aamir Khan proved that Christmas is no less a good week to release films.
Ditto Salman Khan, starting with Wanted and Dabangg. Considering that a national holiday boosts the opening numbers in a big way, release dates are being announced even while the scripts are being finalised. Besides the three festivals, other important dates to open movies in cinemas are Republic Day weekend, Pre-IPl (Indian Premiere League), Post IPL and Independence Day. So which is profitable time to release a film?
Producer-distributor NR Pachisia feels Christmas has been the most lucrative period. He says, "That's the year-end holiday period. From Ghajini and Welcome to Dabangg and Dhoom 3, all the films that released during this time emerged big hits." Asked about big Eid hits like Chennai Express and Kick, he reasons, "Yes, they did huge numbers but primarily on the holidays, after which the collections on the working days reduced. Also, the next big release is only on Republic Day weekend. So that gives ample time to the Christmas week release."
In the same vein, Harsh Jain, whose family has been in the business for generations, adds, "From a worldwide perspective, Christmas is a long holiday. So that adds to a big-ticket film's global numbers. People indulge in plenty of pre-Diwali shopping, besides visiting relatives and friends to exchange festival greetings -- unlike pre-Christmas so perhaps that also boosts collections this time of the year, and in some cases repeat viewing too."
Delhi based distributor, Sanjay Ghai, who believes that Eid is more profitable for massy films and Diwali, Christmas for family entertainers, votes for the December year end period too. Tell him about how Christmas was viewed cynically as people in the cold Northern parts didn't venture out for late evening and night shows, and he responds, "Back then, theatres were far and people were wary of travelling then. Over the years, number of theatres, specially multiplexes, has increased. Also many people have their vehicles, so chilly nights are no longer deterrent for movie-goers. And the collections of Christmas releases are ample proof of that."
Republic Day Weekend
2014: Jai Ho! (Salman Khan, Sohail Khan)
2015: Baby (Akshay Kumar, Neeraj Pandey)
2016: Shivaay (Ajay Devgn), Mohenjo Daro (Hrithik Roshan, Ashutosh Gowariker)
2014: Main Tera Hero (Varun Dhawan, David Dhawan)
2015: Gabbar (Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali), Phantom (Saif Ali khan, Katrina Kaif, Kabir Khan)
2014: Holiday -- A Soldier Is Never Off Duty (Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, AR Murugadoss, Vipul Shah)
2015: Dil Dhadakne Do (Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Anushka Sharma, Zoya Akhtar)
2014: Kick (Salman Khan, Sajid Nadiadwala)
2015: Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Kabir Khan)
2016: Sultan (Salman Khan) -- Tentative
Independence Day Weekend
2014: Singham Returns (Ajay Devgn, Rohit Shetty, Kareena Kapoor)
2015: The Fan (Shah Rukh Khan, Maneesh Sharma)
2014: Happy New Year (Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Farah Khan)
2015: Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo (Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Sooraj Barjatya)
2016: Shuddhi (Salman Khan, Karan Johar, Karan Malhotra)
2014: PK (Aamir Khan, Rajkumar Hirani, Anushka Sharma)
2015: Bajirao Mastani (Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone),
2016: Ayan Mukerji's next (Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt)