It is common knowledge that small budget filmmakers have to contend with great odds to secure enough theatres to release their films. But apparently, their struggles don't end there. Even after going on to become hits, the theatrical run of these films end up getting shortchanged, to make way for big star movies, resulting in a dip in revenues.
Director Dasari Narayana Rao fumed at this trend on Saturday, during the press conference of Vishnu Manchu's Anukshanam. "Despite being hits, films like Run Raja Run, Geethanjali and Lovers were pulled out of prime theatres in two weeks. Those movies would have run for 50 days had they not been shifted to accommodate big films. During holiday season, if all the theatres are
blocked for one or two big films, what will be the fate of small films?" fumed Dasari.
As a result of being pulled out of theatres initially, these films end up losing almost 15-20% in revenues. A source close to the producer of Sumanth Ashwin - Nanditha starrer Lovers said,
"We could not get theatres in prime centers in the opening week, because big films like Drushyam, Sikandar and Alludu Seenu were running.
The movie was a hit, but the revenues could have been over 20% higher. Distributors advised us to postpone the release, but with an array of big star films lined up for release right up to
December, we decided to release the film."
The high rentals of theatres in prime centres,coupled with the time it takes for the word-of-mouth to spread, makes things even more difficult for small budget films. "It isn't like prime theatres refuse to screen small budget films.The rentals of a prime theatre costs `3-5 lakhs per week. Small films don't open to houseful theatres and the footfalls tend to rise only after the word-of-mouth publicity spreads.
Films are pulled out of theaters after two weeks, exactly when the footfalls are the highest. It causes a lot of heartburn," says a leading exhibitor from Ceded region. With most big ticket films blocking a bulk of the theatres in the festive season, small filmmakers are often left with no option but to look for windows during the rest of the year.
"During festival season, big star films inevitably get the highest eyeballs and small films can't stand the competition. So the best option for them is to look for odd days where the competition from big films is minimal which is why we see as many as five small films releasing on the same day sometimes," explains another leading distributor from Uttarandhra region.