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Thottal Thodarum

Mar 18, 2015


  1. Screening of a Movie (Exhibition)                                                  
            Consider this scenario. The producer has completed the film production, declared the release date and also have sold the movie area-wise. There is still work to do for the producer. They include preparing and delivering photo cards for the screening theaters, posters printing, arranging press shows for the reporters and print advertisement among many others. To take a film to the masses and let the public be aware of the movie, Television advertisement and interviews have to be arranged which attract a lot of expense. Films, which are not marketed this way, find it hard to be recognized by the public. Thus in present times, it is imperative to spend a fortune for advertisement.

            Take Unnaipol Oruvan for instance. Well ahead of the release, the information flow started slowly in the farm of audio release. It moved on to coverage in visual and print media. The awareness gathered momentum when the small clippings of ten seconds duration started to appear in satellite television channels. The resulted expectation of all this was evident with the opening created in the advance booking of the movie.

            Post release, the movie was doing well with positive reviews. Despite this, further to encourage the film’s business, hero Kamalhasan continuously has been taking part in multiple TV interviews and discussion forums and was discussing about the movie. This has resulted in further crowd in box office. Aggressive marketing like this is very important in this modern era. If big budget movie with hero like Kamalhasan needs this kind of efforts in marketing, you could imagine how vital marketing is for small films. These activities are very important for a producer to do to reach his movie to the target public. This can be compared to the arrangements and facilities prepared by the bride’s parents during wedding to make her comfortable and lead a hassle-free life in her in-laws’ home.

            To pull out cases of marketing excellence for small budget movies, I would like to cite the examples of two cases of recent release. First is Subramaniapuram. Much ahead of release, stand alone, attractive print advertisement were continually released in print media (read newspapers). Later, a totally a song, totally irrelevant with the film’s genre, was circulated to key satellite channels. This created buzz about the film and resulted in tremendous expectation. Same expectation was created amidst the distributors who would purchase the film. Result? The entire movie was sold out through Minimum Guarantee!

            The other movie Silanthi was a micro-budget movie, released with Digital technology. The film was produced in a shoestring budget of INR 45.00 Lakhs. Huge publicity was necessarily created from the production house by releasing almost half nude stills of the heroine. If this is not enough, grapevines of hero has bad-touched the heroine during the shoot were leaked deliberately. Huge anticipation was on among the fans and this small budget film enjoyed good opening and collected as much as INR 1.00 crore in the box offices across the state. Interestingly, Silanthi’s producer is a media person. Perhaps that is how he is aware how important publicity is for a film.

Releasing in Theaters

            A distributor, who has bought a film, once the release date is declared for the film, must start to book the theaters vigorously. If it is a considerable film, theaters with capacity to absorb expected viewers have to be booked in advance. By and large, theater bookings are based on a film’s business and expected collection. However, in Chennai and major cities, they have to be booked with advance payment only.

            In Chennai and other major cities, almost all theaters operate on rent basis. When a film of Rajini and Kamal is released (forgive me for pulling out examples of these two icons repeatedly; they are the benchmark in Tamil industry), the distributor expects massive opening. In this case, he must book largest possible theaters big enough to accommodate all fans in the first week itself, or book more than one screen in the same complex. This is the technique to reap the maximum collection in the first week itself, the rent for theaters thus booked must be paid in advance. Typically rent of two weeks is paid as advance. Most theaters would receive the advance in two splits. One with receipt and the other part is without receipt and this unaccounted money is called as amount ‘B’. Usually the amount ‘B’ is paid as advance.

            It is fundamental to carefully choose good theaters for the movie to run successfully. Theaters, which are starved of decent facilities, or theaters with ill repute of screening porn movies would not pull masses due to their aversion of public towards them. Even some good movies would generate mediocre collection in few theaters due to this limitation.

            ‘Dasavatharam’ was released at Woodlands and also at Satyam cinemas at the same time. At woodlands, the movie collected less than Satyam cinemas. Also the movie was run a period shorter than that of Satyam. A successful movie, when compared, should run for more days in a theater where entry fee (ticket and parking costs) is relatively less, has run for more days in the nearby Satyam cinemas instead? At Satyam, though the entry fee and parking rates are higher, the management provides digital technology, good ambience, air conditioner, good sound and visual experience. People are willing to spend extra money for quality viewing experience. Thus good theaters are needed for good movies to reap good collection.

Cable Sankar - Translation Of My Book In Tamil "CINEMA VYABARAM" Done By Rangs. Published in 

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