Salman-starrer makes 70 per cent more business in single screens than multiplexes in its first week

Boney Kapoor's latest release, Wanted, seems to herald the return of single screen theatres in Mumbai.

While figures were too premature to be given for single screens alone, Taran Adarsh, trade analyst, said Wanted did business of approximately Rs 35 to Rs 38 crore across India in just a week.

The latest trade figures indicate that Wanted has 70 per cent more business than multiplexes, a view echoed by exhibitors and trade experts across Mumbai.

Said another trade source, "Single screen theatres have been historically known to cater to testosterone boosting movies action dramas.

Wanted is exactly that kind of film. Then you have the price of the tickets, approximately less than half that of multiplexes, and the advantage of watchin it on a 70mm screen. Quite naturally, audiences will choose single screens over multiplexes."

Yet, single screens have been caught unawares. Ankur cinema in Govandi had to paint a 'Housefull' board because they didn't have one. In fact, they did not need one for many years.

Theatres like Liberty and New Empire in Mumbai also had to dig out the 'Housefull' board from their godowns where it was gathering dust for years.

In Panvel, there was a riot during the film's release and police had to be called in.

Switching Loyalties

Ever since 2002, when multiplexes first hit the city, moviegoers switched loyalties despite the higher ticket price for the ambience they offered.

As a result of dwindling footfalls and heavy maintenance fees, many single screens have shut shop or have been demolished Minerva, Novelty, Bahar and Lido, among others.

Or they have given way to multiplexes Sterling, Metro, Apsara, Cinemax Sion.

Said Adarsh, "Till now we had undermined the business contributed by the single screen theatres, but this film has made us realise that such theatres are still the bosses."

Exhibitor Manoj Desai of Gaiety Cinemas, a multiplex, believes that with Wanted, single screens have finally shown their clout.

"Wanted has got the film industry and also the single screen cinemas out of the ICU. The film has got 100 per cent collections till now and it is only going to get better."

Liberty cinema in south Mumbai had been witnessing a box office famine until Wanted.

Said Satish Vengsarkar from the cinema, "In the past two years, barring Ghajini, no other film came close to a good opening week income. But now Wanted has joined that club."

The manager at Chitra cinema in Dadar adds, "Except for one show on Friday and one show on Saturday, every other show is a houseful. This is a welcome change for us."
Unwanted Riots

>> In Hubli, almost 5,000 people gathered outside the main theatre clamouring for tickets.

>> On Tuesday night, there was police firing outside the theatre in Buland Shaher (UP) where the film was being screened due to the riot-like situation

>> At Paras cinema in Jaipur, the police requested the theatre management to sell 200 tickets less in order to control the audience

>>The film has been released in all the 3 theatres in Kanpur and all have police protection

The potential was always there, but somehow, most producers underestimated and ignored the single screens.

In multiplexes, you get a niche audience, who watch a film for the overall experience. In single screens, you get the diehard movie fan those who clap, whistle and dance.

I believe that any film that has universal appeal will do equally well in multiplexes and the single screens.

Boney Kapoor, Producer