Aamir Khan-starrer PK did not disappoint as it opened to nearly packed houses across the country. Early trade reports suggest the movie’s occupancy touched 80 per cent for the first couple of shows and was expected to increase for shows towards the later part of the day. Industry estimates peg the first-day worldwide collection at Rs 35 to 40 crore net. The film is directed by Raj Kumar Hirani and includes Sanjay Dutt and Anushka Sharma in pivotal roles. It is co-produced by Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra in association with UTV Motion Pictures, the studio being responsible for the distribution and promotion of the film as well. PK is being released in nearly 4,844 screens worldwide with 4,000 in India and 844 overseas.
While it may not be the most widely distributed movie, UTV — the studio which also distributed and co-produced movies like Kick, 2 States and Heropanti this year —believes all the important territories in India and abroad have been covered.
Kamal Gianchandan, chief operating officer, PVR, says, “The movie has all the ingredients to be a huge success. We at PVR will be screening the film in 80 per cent of our total screens, which translates to 4, 25,000 seats. Advance booking for film is almost double that of Kick and nearly 50 per cent of Dhoom 3. PK is shorter in length than Kick and Happy New Year, and, hence, we can pack more shows as well!” PVR currently operates 454 screens across the country.
Devang Sampat, business head-strategy, Cinépolis India, says, “With 110 screens of Cinepolis, we have been running approx 500 shows a day. All shows are seeing over 90 occupancy. PK is much-awaited movie of the year and the word of mouth is positive; we expect the movie will do more business in the second week as well.”
Suniel Wadhwa, independent distributor and box office analyst, says, “The movie has generated tremendous interest. The audience is hungry for good content. This is evident from the excellent advance booking at counter sales, and block bookings by corporates, even in tier-2 multiplex and single-screen theaters, are very good.”
Analysts agree PK could be a good way to end the year, considering 2014 had quite a few disappointments. Shaaminder Malik, an independent exhibitor in North India and box office analyst, says, “The movie is likely to have a slow and steady business that will sustain beyond just the first weekend. Much like his earlier movies, Raj Kumar Hirani’s new venture, too, seems to be in for good collections. The team of Hirani, Khan and Vidhu Vinod Chopra has the success of 3 Idiots to its name and, thus, expectations are very high.”
When it comes to the international day and date release, the studio has ensured an expansive launch. PK is set to be one of the widest Indian film release overseas for day and date territories, releasing in 844 screens across more than 40 countries. Earlier this year, Shah Rukh Khan’s Happy New Year was released in 1000 screens abroad, according to industry estimates.
“We are focused on making PK reach out to as many fans worldwide as possible. The movie is being subtitled in 10 languages worldwide for a day and date release. PK will be the widest ever release internationally for an Indian movie in markets like the Middle East, North America, the UK and The Netherlands,” says Amrita Pandey, vice-president and head, marketing & distribution, studios, Disney India. The Netherlands has come into focus for PK given that there are 5,00,000 Surinamese, most having Bhojpuri as their mother tongue. The Middle East has been a strong market for the Khans of Bollywood and this film will see release in 74 screens on Friday. This is higher than some of the highest grossing Hollywood movies like James Cameron’s Avatar, which released in 60-65 screens in the territory. PK will have almost 1,100-1,200 shows in the first weekend and 2,590 shows in week-1.
In the UK also, PK will be the widest Indian movie release with 132 cinemas and 198 screens. Moreover, there is a plan to expand according to demand from December 26. All Asian pockets have been catered to and mapped against all the highest grossing Hindi films released over the last three years in the UK. For the first time cinema chains have begun advance sales of tickets three weeks in advance for a Hindi film, the studio said.
In North America, the film will be release in 300 screens, with 75 new locations. In Pakistan, the studio has confirmation for more that 70 screens. This is the widest ever release for a film (Hindi and English) in Pakistan since the market re-opened in 2007. Shows will run from 9 am to 5 am the following morning.
Another international market in focus is Australia, where the film is being released in over 35 screens which include extreme screens with stadium style capacity of 1000 seats per screen, making it one of the highest capacities available for an India Release.
“These screens are typically reserved for major Hollywood releases in the holiday season. We have amplified the ‘noise’ levels during an amazing video conference with Aamir Khan on Thursday morning in Australia. In a first, we have tied up with Hoyts (a cinema exhibition chain) across all major places in the Australian continent where over 600 ushers in all Hoyts locations will wear PK branded T-shirts for three weeks during the run. Hoyts has committed to screen 7-8 shows on Day-1,” the studio says.
In Singapore, the film is being released in 19 screens, making it one of the widest released Hindi movies in that country. The marketing of the film has been amped up on television, radio and internet platforms. For the first time for any Indian film, the homepage banner at one of the biggest cinema chains in Singapore ‘GV’ has displayed PK ads.