Happy New Year set to record the widest release for a Bollywood film

by Urvi Malvania  |  Mumbai.

marks the coming together of directorand Shah Rukh Khan, after the success of the pair in films such as Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om

This Diwali, teams from Shah Rukh Khan’s and Yash Raj Filmswill gear up for the widestrelease so far. Next week, Happy New Year, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and Boman Irani, will hit as many as 6,000 screens worldwide, the most ever. This will surpass releases of films such as Dhoom 3 (2013), Kick (2014) and Bang Bang (2014).

Sources say the makers of Happy New Year are targeting release in 5,000 screens in India and 1,000 abroad. The film is produced by Red Chillies Entertainment; and will be distributed worldwide by Yash Raj Films, which also the force behind the widespread distribution of Dhoom 3 in December 2013, the biggest film of that year. The thriller was released in about 4,500 screens in India and 800 abroad.

Happy New Year marks the reunion of director Farah Khan and after the success of the pair in films such as Om Shanti Om and Main Hoon Na, while Khan and Padukone have delivered hits such as Om Shanti Om andChennai Express. The two Khans, not related to each other, had a brief falling out but have since patched up for this film.

Last year, Chennai Express was released across 750 screens abroad, a record in terms of foreign release on the day on the film being released in India. Movies such as Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 also saw similar exposure last year. This year, Kick and Bang Bang stepped up the game, with release across up to 850 screens in foreign markets.

Kamal Gianchandani, chief operating officer, PVR Ltd, says, “You cannot get a better combination in Bollywood. Happy New Year marks the return of SRK and Deepika after Chennai Express and SRK and Farah (Khan) after hits such as Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om; and, it’s the occasion of Diwali. The film is set for a wide release and, at least at PVR, 80 per cent of our screens will be running the movie.”

Shah Rukh Khan has seen immense success in the case of Diwali releases, with Om Shanti Om (2007) earning about Rs 98 crore in India and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) raking in Rs 102 crore.

Suniel Wadhwa, independent distributor and a box-office analyst, adds, “Wide release strategies are typical for major films with blockbuster potential. Distributors book a film in a huge number of screens to record maximum results due to the festive occasion of Diwali. Happy New Year‘s release strategy is the widest in the history of cinema; it’s not only being released in the original language, but also dubbed Tamil and Telugu versions, with 4,500-4,700 screens in India, surpassing Kick.”

Shah Rukh Khan has a huge fan following in the traditional foreign markets of North America, the UK and West Asia and given the occasion of Diwali, the film will be released in these markets on October 23, a day before the India release. The reason is while Indians abroad celebrate the occasion as a community, in India, audiences are known to stay away from theatres on Diwali day.

Happy New Year has been marketed extensively. While digital media has been the driving force, Shah Rukh Khan and his team have ensured no stone is left unturned – from a trailer launch on Facebook and WhatsApp, to interviews in print and television and spots on radio. Promotion was also boosted by the Slam tour – the cast toured across countries and acted as judges on a dance reality show on Zee TV – Dil Se Naachein Indiawaale.

“Shah Rukh is a marketer’s delight and you can see that in the promotions of the film across media. We were very glad when the team from PVR approached him and the rest of the cast to shoot some public service messages, and the team agreed,” says Gianchandani. All the 454 screens across the country from the PVR stable are airing 15-20 second films on Happy New Year.

It is expected the film will garner more than Rs 30 crore on the first day. However, Wadhwa adds the length of movie could be a deterrent for showcasing it in multiplexes. Gianchandani agrees, but adds the team at PVR has ensured convenient timings. He, however, says despite the big-banner release, ticket sales will not see a huge jump.

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