Kannada film industry faces slump at box office

March 24th, 2009 - 9:10 am ICT by IANS  

Banglaore, March 24 (IANS) The Kannada film industry is going through a rough patch, with even star-studded films biting the dust at the box office while films with newcomers are generating only 10-15 percent opening collections, members of the industry said.
“The massive drop in collections has been a matter of huge concern for us. You can say even the quality of Kannada films has come down. Business continues to slide downwards with each passing day. We don’t know what has really happened to this industry which saw a golden revival in 2006,” said producer K. Manju, whose recent film “Raja Kumari” with top stars has been the biggest flop in recent times.

Producer and distributor K.C.N. Kumar said: “We are worried. A couple of producers recently met informally to discuss the issue. The position is so bad that even the financiers are wary of investing money in the market.

“Each Friday we are hearing stories of producers losing money. In the last three months, only one film ‘Junglee’ was a big success, while a film like ‘Ambari’ was able to recover investments. According to my estimate, producers and distributors have lost more than Rs.60 crores (Rs.600 million),” Kumar said.

Films such as “Nam Yejamaanaru”, “Raja Kumari” and the recently released “Veera Madakari” with top stars like Vishnuvardhan, Ravichandran and Sudeep respectively have failed to generate the expected collections.

“Nam Yejamaanaru” with a combination of Vishnuvardhana and director Nagabharana has been a total disaster. Even the combined revenue of “Nam Yejamaanaru” and “Raja Kumari” may not make up 50 percent cost of any one of these films.

The opening of “Veera Madakari” was the best of the lot. It had collections of 80-85 percent on the opening day in all centres, but the film’s collections dropped right from the next day.

Most of the films released these days which do not have star power have 10-15 percent opening collections, while the theatre rentals are in the range of 20 percent of the total collections.

In several screens the prints of many Kannada films with new stars were not returned because the collections were very poor and even maintenance cost was not recovered.

Gangadhar, distributor of the recently released “Veera Madakari”, said: “The mood is now pessimistic. Unless there is sharp reduction in star salaries and reduction in weekly rentals of the theatres, the producers will continue to lose money. The weekly rents of theatres has increased two-fold in the past three years, though theatrical collections have not increased proportionately.

“People are not coming to theatres these days because of excessive video piracy and exorbitant ticket rates. We have to see that the ticket rates are reduced,” he added.

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