Dec 9, 2008

Entertainment - Movie industry banking on the Khans

The recession-hit movie industry is banking heavily on December to revive its sagging fortunes—the two mega Khans (both of whom haven't had a release for almost a year) will determine the size of the market and box office that has shamefully eluded most of the releases this year. Both Rab Ne Banadi Jodi and Ghajini are getting an incredibly wide release and need to surpass the towering record set by Singh Is Kinng, the biggest outing of 2008 (so far).

Returning to direction after eight years, Aditya Chopra, unfazed by the prevailing gloom and sentiment, is giving content and SRK power a solid shot with Rab.. this week. While the movie has a modest budget and does not boast of the grandeur usually associated with a film of the ilk, it wouldn't be unfair to expect a Rs 160-crore box office result from an SRK-Aditya Chopra combination.

The south-side A Murugadoss hopes to inject thrill and adrenaline into Christmas with his Aamir Khan-starrer, Ghajini. Emerging as the most keenly anticipated film of the year across an online poll that was conducted worldwide, Ghajini, the concluding release of the year, is poised to bring a heavy shower to the parched film backyard.

Not surprisingly, the battle for the top laurels of 2008 will wage between the usual suspects—Aamir, Shah Rukh and Akshay (Kumar), followed by Hrithik Roshan for a relatively tame 'Jodha Akbar'.

Making millions

Emerging from the slums, the Danny Boyle-directed feature, Slumdog Millionaire continues to pick up heat and evoke hysteria among the audience and media alike. At the 2008 National Board of Review (NBR) Awards taking place in New York in January, the celebrated film has won a number of awards—Best Film, Best Adapted Screenplay and Breakthrough Performance by an Actor. The British-Indian lad, Dev Patel, is seemingly set for his tryst with stardom.

Knight again

I've always admired the passion and enthusiasm exhibited by American studios to chase numbers for the projects they believe in. Universal left no stone unturned to make the ABBA-themed musical, Mamma Mia crack the record of Titanic, which was the biggest British movie of all time at the box office. Now Warner Bros is re-releasing the smash hit, The Dark Knight on January 23 in a bid to make it touch the historic $1 billion in worldwide box office.

It grossed $530.3 million domestically and $465.9 million internationally, leaving it less than $4 million short of the billion-dollar milestone. Only Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest have topped that mark. The re-release will come six weeks after the DVD launch, set for today.

The other motivation for the re-release would be to bring the film back in public memory (in the wake of stiff competition from Changeling, Frost/Nixon, Australia, The Wrestler, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Quantum of Solace, Slumdog Millionaire, etc) with the Academy Awards taking place on February 22, 2009.

—The author has breadth of experience in film production, marketing and distribution. At present, he heads marketing, syndication and distribution for the UK and Europe at Studio 18, and can be reached on

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