Dispelling fears that the swine flu threat may keep people away from theatres and multiplexes during the long weekend (August 14, 15 and 16), Kaminey, the latest Bollywood release produced by UTV, is estimated to have done business of around Rs 22 crore, with multiplexes accounting for nearly 55-60 per cent of the weekend business at the domestic box office.
Even the other new Bollywood release, Life Partner, is said to have grossed around Rs 6 crore in the weekend, taking the overall box office collections for the week to around Rs 27-29 crore, almost similar to the previous week's collections when there was no fear from the spread of swine flu, say film trade experts.
Kaminey is expected to do an overall business of around Rs 25-28 crore in its first week of release, even with the swine flu fear looming large say film experts.
Multiplexes say their average occupancy during the weekend stood at around 75-80 per cent for Kaminey, just a shade lower than this month's blockbuster, Love Aaj Kal, that had opened to an average multiplex occupancy of over 90 per cent in its opening weekend (July 31-August 2) and had generated around Rs 22-25 crore in the first three days of its release across the country.
"Despite the swine flu fear, it was business as usual for us across our multiplex properties. We had an average occupancy of around 85 per cent, which is extremely good," said Amitabh Vardhan, CEO, PVR Cinemas, a leading chain that runs 26 multiplexes across 13 cities.
Echoes Vishal Kapur, COO, Fun Cinema: "Kaminey did a good business in the weekend despite swine flu fears and we saw an average of 70 per cent occupancy across our properties. We did over Rs 1 crore of weekend business for the film and the top six multiplexes could have done a business of Rs 7-8 crore during the weekend, which is pretty good considering the apprehension of lower turnout due to swine flu."
Taking the gamble of releasing the film despite the Maharashtra government ordering closure of all multiplexes and theatres in Mumbai and Pune last week, UTV released Kaminey with around 1,100 prints, minus the Mumbai region and Pune. It had allocated around 100 prints for the Mumbai region, which it released on Monday said a UTV executive.
According to UTV, the Mumbai market contributes 10-15 per cent to the overall box office collections of the country. Overall, there are around 220 multiplexes in the country with 25 per cent coming from the Mumbai region and Pune.
The delayed release of, Kaminey in the Mumbai region and Pune will not adversely impact the revenues of UTV, as per its clarification issued to the Bombay Stock Exchange last week.
"We wish to clarify and confirm that we are fully insured for risks such as this and there is "Revenue Loss Insurance" quantifiable to the loss of box office proceeds for the days in question," UTV said in its communication to BSE last week.