Screen Big Picture: Unraveling Bollywood's obsession with numbers
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Besides entertaining, films are now largely about striking gold at the box-office. The whole number game is getting bigger by the day. Screen unravels Bollywood's obsession with numbers.
The race to join the Rs.100 and Rs.200 crore club is getting bigger by the day. Words like blockbuster, record breaking collections, highest grossing film among others are being bandied about every weekend. Ahead of every mega-budget film release with an A-lister, is a question — Will this film make it to the Rs.100-crore club?
The varying figures given by trade analysts and production houses are only adding to the confusion, raising doubts about its authenticity. Krrish 3 is one such film that found itself in the centre of a storm recently, when reports alleged that the film's box-office figures were inflated. The big question now is: How are these box-office numbers arrived at?
The distribution chain
According to a leading production house, figures given out by the distribution head of any production house are obtained from the exhibitors. Since it's all computer generated, there's no under-the-table business anymore. But in most cases, figures given by the production houses are slightly on a higher side. Says Shyam Shroff, director, Shringar Films, "I call these collections as super-built up collections. I usually cut 20 per cent to know the actual collections and call them the carpet collections."
Exhibitor and distributor Akshaye Rathi of Rathi Group of Cinemas says, "There's a degree of research and speculation, and most of the
figures are a combination of the two. Some trade analysts do their ground level research, call up distributors, take the figures, verify and then publish it."
Here's how the entire process works: The distributors give the collections after getting them from the theatres in their territory. In all, there are 13 territories; sometimes, one distributor distributes a film among two-three territories. In smaller territories like West Bengal or Tamil Nadu, there could be 70 theatres, while the Mumbai territory may comprise of 500 cinemas. Every distributor gets daily collections based on the shows being screened, from all the cinemas in his territory. The producers then get figures from the distributors of these 13 territories.
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