The release dates of highly anticipated films such as Adipurush, Jawaan, Animal, Yodha, Maidaan, and now Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire have been subject to multiple postponements in recent times. This constant rescheduling has sparked speculation among the public, leading to the creation of negative narratives surrounding these movies.
Director Rahul Dholakia, whose film Raees (2017) was also delayed for a long period, points out that there are several reasons behind this step. “These days a lot of delay is caused due to VFX. In other cases, the film gets a better date, longer weekend. Sometimes it’s to avoid a clash. Every filmmaker likes to reserve profitable days / weekends in advance – especially for big ticket films as no one wants to be sandwiched. And like a lion marks its territory, the producers mark their dates. Unfortunately there are only so many long weekends and many more films that need to recover big,” he shares.
The effect of it
Trade expert and producer Girish Johar shares that frequent rescheduling of release date shows that “there is no planning”. He adds, “It also entails a lot of losses on various levels. Once a big film is announced, no other film takes that window to avoids the clash. And since there are no film releases in that span, theatre owners bear the losses as cinema halls go empty. But the one bearing the biggest loss is the producer as the cost of marketing increases. You need more money to stay relevant. It’s a loss for the entire fraternity and these things must be avoided,” he shares.
Trade expert Atul Mohan also agrees and adds that frequent postponement also results in audiences losing interest in the project. “It’s like you have fixed an appointment and sparked excitement in them, and then cancelled it, not once but multiple times. It would lead to disappointment and frustration. Adipurush was an example of that. Most people lost interest in it eventually.”
Producer Anand Pandit adds to the list of affects these decisions may have on the films. “If a film is put on hold too close to the release date then a lot of logistics suffer and huge costs are incurred. In such a case, postponing a film’s release can significantly impact its business and profit margins. Prolonged delays can also increase the risk of piracy and lead to a loss of revenue potential,” he shares.
However, he adds, “Postponement in some instances can provide a maker the opportunity to refine the film and align it with a more favorable market. The impact of postponement on a film’s business varies based on factors such as how well the delay is managed, the film’s quality, and market conditions. A film that is being eagerly anticipated, may also benefit from a postponement because it increases the anticipation among the audiences. However, if there is a negative buzz around the film, a delay or postponement can augment it.”
Why the hurry in announcement?
Trade expert Ramesh Bala shares announcement in advance is sometimes because a filmmaker is seeking more financial support. “It’s pretty common to announce that the film is releasing on Eid or Diwali or Holi because festive season ensures good performance for the movie also. And then, this sometimes help the makers get attention of investors and OTT platforms for good deals,” he explains.
Mohan however feels the most films sign deals with OTT platforms much in advance, and It’s the filmmaker’s fear that leads to frequent postponement. “Big films that are successful create a ripple effect. For example, if Dunki and Salaar are releasing on 22nd, there is no release on 15th, a week prior to it. That’s because filmmakers are well aware that their film would be taken off from the theatres after a week. This increasing fear in the minds of filmmakers lead to more and more of them reshuffling their release dates at the last minute,” he explains.
Lack of resources
Here, Bala points out that sometimes, the film’s delay is because of some very genuine reasons and even in that case, frequent change of the release date cannot be justified. “It’s happening more in India because we lack the kind of resources needed. In the west, there are big studious with huge man power to take care of the deadline. Also, they have international distributors and their needs to cater to. While that’s not the case in India especially down South. And hence there is hardly any thought given before announcing a tentative date and then postponing it. It’s not like they are upsetting some international distributer