One of the biggest Hollywood ventures Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84) which released in India on December 23 is bringing moviegoers back to theatres.
The superhero flick which is the second biggest Hollywood release in India after Tenet has opened with collections to the tune of Rs 2 crore, Shailesh Kapoor, CEO, Ormax Media, a media consulting firm, told Moneycontrol.
He said that the film was able to attract around one lakh footfalls.
Wonder Woman 1984 has earned around double of what Tenet minted on its opening day as the latter grossed around a crore at the Indian box office.
COVID-19 related uncertainties impact WW84's business
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Yet, collections of WW84 could have been better had it not been for the uncertainties related to COVID-19.
Maharashtra imposed night curfew from December 22 to January 5 to avoid an increase in COVID-19 cases. Following suit, Karnataka announced night curfew on December 22 but withdrew its decision on December 24.
However, these uncertainties have impacted box office numbers of WW84 as many exhibitors had to refund tickets of evening and night shows.
The reason evening shows are important for theatres is because during morning shows, occupancy is 10 percent, matinee it is 20 percent, evening it is 40 percent and night show it is 30 percent. Without night shows, theatres lose large audience base.
According to Karan Taurani, Vice President, Elara Capital, "opening weekend collections of Wonder Woman 1984 should be around Rs 7 crore which is slightly below estimate and this is due to the night curfew in Maharashtra and Karnataka where night curfew now has been withdrawn."
Due to these uncertainties, Taurani estimates WW84 to do a "lifetime business of around Rs 15 to 16 crore, 20 percent lower than the earlier estimate of Rs 18 to 20 crore due to such curfews."
WW84 is attracting advertisers in cinemas
Despite the uncertainties, audiences are catching the movie in theatres which is resulting in strong footfalls. This is why even advertisers are showing interest for the Hollywood venture.
"To attract advertisers what you need is eyeballs which cinemas were unable to get due to dearth of content which is why cinema advertising dried up. With movies coming in especially films like Wonder Woman 1984, advertisers know that they will be able to get their captive audience. This is why there is spike in cinema advertising," said Amit Sharma, MD, Miraj Cinemas.
An Economic Times report noted that PVR has got on board around 40 advertisers for WW84.
Industry experts note that prices for a 10 second ad slot in cinemas can cost Rs 500 in small to medium size multiplexes which can go up to Rs 5,000 in top multiplex chains.
However, this year, Sharma said that many multiplexes are selling inventories at much discounted rate for full year.
Experts say that top multiplex chains which used to earn in the range of Rs 48 lakh to Rs 30 lakh per screen annually and medium size multiplexes which earned Rs 12 to Rs 15 lakh, saw zero advertising revenue for many months.
Theatres had to shut shop for as long as seven months due to coronavirus-led lockdown.
This is why experts expect cinema advertising to grow significantly next year as hardly any revenue came from this segment this year.
Last year, in-cinema advertising grew marginally and reached Rs 770 crore, according to an EY 2020 report.
Even Sharma is optimistic about the growth of cinema advertising.
"This year we can say that Hollywood is helping getting advertisers back to cinemas. We should also thank Zee Studios for releasing first Bollywood venture Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari. However, no big Hindi film has yet come to theatres. This is why I consider WW84 as a path breaking film which has released not only in India but across the globe in these uncertain times."And now Sharma along with many other exhibitors is waiting for the release of Vijay's Master, which is also being dubbed in Hindi, to change the gear in the exhibition space.