Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blogathon Day 12: How to make a 500 crore movie?

First there was the coveted 100cr club. Then certain three idiots came and made the elite status a matter of aam admi. Since then, year after year, Khan after Khan (and certain superheroes!) are upping the count by a crore at a time, with the latest Saahir Khan making 500cr at the box-office.

This crazy number-game made me remember a time when we were advising a Bollywood client, trying to crack the formula that predicts how much business a particular film is going to do. There were several factors that were considered, and data for films released over the last 5 years was analysed. Regression analysis was done to come up with the correlation between these factors. But honestly, the formula was crap. We couldn’t predict nuts. And that Bollywood client had 3 films in the pipeline, only one of which released and tanked without anyone noticing.

But if there were to be a formula for making a 500cr movie, what would it be? Well, let me give it a shot. I consider myself an experienced consumer of films, and a consultant, and also an Indian, so obviously, I have an opinion on everything. Here’s my opinion on what makes a 500cr movie -
  1. The K word - Either have a Khan in your film (can be Mrs. Saif Ali Khan, but not Imran Khan or Irrffaan Khan) or the main character is to have a name with K and have special powers. This condition is necessary but not conclusive.
  2. Create so much hype that the first weekend is fully sold out in advance. And when that it done, there will certainly be those desperate souls who couldn't get tickets during the weekend, and hence would keep the demand for the week going, along with college bunkers, illegitimate lovers, and stingy people who watch movies during weekdays because the tickets are cheaper 
  3. Lobby and coerce and scare other films to move their release dates so that there is no big release one week before and atleast 2 weeks after your film. This way, cinema hungry audience will have no choice but to go see your movie even though Vigil Idiot would have already ripped your movie into 5000 crore pieces, and every single person coming out of the cinema hall would have put a fb status with disappointing emoticons. 
  4. The rest is simple math. Number of screens you release your movie in, and the price of your ticket. If the movie survives for more than 2 weeks, then you make atleast a 100cr on conservative scenario and 500cr in an optimistic one. 
Here is a quick calculation with the optimistic scenario (click on image to enlarge):

Just to put things in perspective, Dhoom 3 released in close to 5000 screens, the largest release for any Indian movie till date. Avatar released in 14,000 screens. Ticket prices for Dhoom 3 went as high as Rs. 900 for IMAX screens. And don't even talk about the overseas revenue, where ticket prices are way higher.

500 crores in today's times, prices and scale may actually just be ordinary rather than exemplary. But who cares, as long as the popcorn is hot!


Shounock Chakravarti said...

While I agree with most parts .. Strongly disagree with the illegitimate Lovers part .. Lovers who prefer to use the darkness of cinema theatres always look out for films which barely run for a week ..Illegitimate lovers whatever that means would for sure be doubly careful not to enter a screen filming a feature running to packed houses..

Ms K said...

Ah. I stand corrected. Lets say lovers instead. Those who want to catch the latest hot flick without getting in the eye of acquiantences.

Archana said...

Oh lovely! I remember you mentioning this project - got me so hyper about my future in the company! :D:D