As IPL ratings dip, most filmmakers take a bold decision to hit the marquee with some big-ticket productions. Will the risk pay off?
Cricket is a religion in India but so are films; although it took a few years for both filmmakers and the audience to realise that. So as one of the biggest cricketing franchises, the Indian Premiere League (IPL), gets off the ground on April 3, ‘IPL’ is a term that no longer drives fear into the hearts of filmmakers.
The industry is further encouraged by the fact that interest in the tournament seems to be flagging as the last season of the IPL scored much less than its previous seasons. According to television rating agency, TAM, the average TRP of the fourth season was only 3.94, a lot lower than IPL 3, which recorded one of the highest average ratings of 5.29. This is probably why filmmakers have chosen to release some big-budget films during the IPL months this year.
Since school and college vacations fetch the best collections at the box office, big-budget Hindi films usually choose Diwali, Eid or Christmas to hit the cinemas. The other major releases usually try to find a spot amidst the summer vacations. And to make the most of the ongoing holiday, filmmakers this year are not shying away from releasing their films during this period.
Thus, this year, there are some really big budget films set for release during the IPL 5. First up is Sajid Khan’s multi-starrer Housefull 2 (April 6); Priyadarshan’s Tezz (April 27) with Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor in the lead; Mukesh Bhatt’s Emraan Hashmi-starrer Jannat 2 (May 4); Vikram Bhatt’s Dangerous Ishhq (May 11), a comeback vehicle for Karisma Kapoor; Yash Raj Films’s Ishaqzaade (May 18) featuring newbies Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra; and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures’ thriller Department (May 18) starring Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt and directed by Ram Gopal Varma.
Will this bold risk work in favour of these big-budget flicks or will they lose out to the action on the field? We asked a few prominent industry people and this is what they had to say:
Ratan Jain Producer, Venus films
I don’t think the IPL will affect film releases this year as there has been an overdose of cricket lately. The game is being played throughout the year and has become an ongoing event. As filmmakers, we always have to take a risk with regard to our release dates and be prepared for any consequences. When the IPL was a new property, there was a lot of hype surrounding the tournament, and this marred the prospects of a few films that chose to release during the game. I don’t think the event will affect our films this year, as most big production houses have spaced out their releases during the IPL. Having said that, we will definitely promote our film at the IPL too.
Gaurav Seth Marketing Head, MAX
This year, the marketing spends that we are making for the IPL are almost 20 per cent more than last year. The event will have a special focus on our channel, MAX and we are going all out to promote it. Last year, there was a lot of cricket on TV with the World Cup, but this year, we have devised a plan with the BCCI to keep the viewers’ interest from dipping. Yes, there are quite a few big films clashing with the IPL this year but entertainment is very subjective. Since the audience has a short-term memory, I’m sure the recently concluded matches and Asia Cup will not affect IPL 5.
Pramod Arora Group President, PVR
I have always maintained that the euphoria over the IPL would last only two to three years. It is not a global event like the World Cup. It’s more like a local Ranji Trophy match, so people are not as excited about it as they used to be. The IPL has definitely lost its sheen and so most major production houses are choosing this period to release their films.Over the last few years, many producers burnt their fingers by releasing films during this time and a lot of good films failed to make money. But that has definitely changed. Advertisers on television too are budgeting according to the ratings these matches generate rather than buying bulk ad spots on television for the event. Similarly, we will also be showcasing the semi-finals and the finals in our cinemas based on the performance of the matches.