The Case Of Manipulating Bollywood Box Office Figures: Will Things Change In 2015? (Part 1)

Joginder Tuteja , 30 Dec 2014
Aamir Khan in PK
Aamir Khan in PK

2014 is coming to a close, and thankfully, PK is turning out to be one film where everyone – from producers to distributors to exhibitors to trade – is in consensus with the collections that are being made public. Otherwise, in the case of the last few biggies, especially the ones released in the last couple of years, there have been fingers pointed at the authenticity of the collections that were being printed on full page ads. So much so that even regular people who are active on social media challenged the truth behind these collections, especially after Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn too spoke against this recent trend.

One wonders, though, whether things would change in 2015, especially with Rentrak expected to report collections with authenticity.

Says filmmaker Ananth Mahadevan, who delivered a modest success The Xpose earlier this year:

That figures are inflated is now an open trade secret. This endangers even those who want to present the right collections. But behind closed doors, another story unfolds, which is centered on the truth of the real budget and the real gate collections. There are several films that have proudly published 100 crore plus figures, only to be licking their wounds amidst their account books. The disease has now assumed epidemic proportions. No one can stop the wild chase to the top.

So will a central data collection agency like Rentrak come to the rescue?

Admits Tanuj Garg, CEO, Balaji Motion Pictures,

Discrepancies are there in several movies, we do see that. Different people are on a different page about the box office grosses of certain films. It essentially boils down to no consensus or uniformity, and that’s again due to absence of a data collection agency like Rentrak that exists in certain countries abroad.

Not many are thrilled though about the idea, as an agency like Rentrak too will eventually have to battle it out with the diversities that India has to offer in terms of single screen penetration, especially across the B and C centers.

Says a prominent filmmaker who didn’t wish to be named:

Rentrak can do well in a country like US, even if it is vast. That’s because out there, there is a multiplex culture while single screens too are formalized. I can’t imagine single screens in India cooperating with Rentrak. The kind of revenues generated from there would never get reported. Even national plexes may cooperate but how about non-national plexes? They too have a pretty elaborate market with a lot of screens now. Rentrak would face initial obstacles to come on board. For their service to be foolproof, they would need maximum participation from one and all.

To be continued… watch this space for part 2.

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