Ajith's Billa 2 in Perfect Storm - 3 more Days
With just 3 more days to go, it appears that Billa 2 may have been caught in a perfect July storm. Billa 2 had an extremely bumpy ride so far with a number of false starts. With an A certificate, Billa 2 has already abandoned roughly 50% of the total market share for Tamil movies (out of roughly Rs. 125 Crores). Let's take a look at market-by-market prospects for Billa 2 and challenges ahead,
Tamil Nadu Market (Money at stake - Rs. 28 Crores)
With Naan E getting rave reviews and family crowd flocking to theatres, Billa 2 is seeing a tough competitor emerging in Tamil Nadu market. Typically, first Monday after release of new movies are good indicators for box office fate of the movies. The Monday buzz for Eega/Naan E were higher than that of the Friday buzz. This pattern was last seen for 3 Idiots, which went on to become one of the top 10 classics of all time in Hindi cinema. This is a strong indication that Naan Ee will break all sort of records in Telugu and Tamil.
Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Bangalore and North India (Money at stake - ~Rs. 6 Crores)
Since Billa 2 was sold for a modest amount of 2.5 Crores (1/4th of Saguni's Telugu distribution rights), not much money at risk here. With Eega proving to be a major hit, even big movies like Allu Arjun's Julayi backed out due to lack of theatres, it will be a miracle for David Billa to stand up against Eega and get recognized. With such strong competition, distributors will feel relieved if they can recover the invested cost.
Pan to Bangalore, it is a melting pot of all language movies releasing in India and in Hollywood. The audience this week have an option of watching Eega, Billa 2 or Cocktail. Since Eega's villain Sudeep is a native of Bangalore, Eega has been received with open arms in Karnataka. In North India, much touted "Cocktail" with Deepika Padukone and Saif Ali Khan is expected to open well at multiplexes.
Fast Forward to Next Week
This year's biggest hollywood release, Dark Knight Rises, will be releasing next week. Udhay's Red Giant will be releasing big in Tamil Nadu. Many people involved in trade believe that Udhay will look forward to settle some old scores with the Velayudham producer who is now distributing Billa 2. Dark Knight Rises will fight for the same target youth segment that Billa 2 has been primarily relying on, in all the metropolitan markets in India and overseas. The expectations are very high for Nolan's Dark Knight Rises as everybody is eager to see if it will break the BO collections set by Avengers and Amazing Spiderman.
Billa 2 caught in Perfect Storm
The perfect storm of big releases is creating a big challenge for Billa 2. There is very little room for error. Ajith fans can guarantee a box office collection of Rs. 25 Crores (opening week). In order to become a Blockbuster, another 50 Crores or more need to come from neutral and family audience. Naan Ee, Eega, Cocktail, Dark Knight Rises, are all viciously looking to eat into Billa 2's pie of viewership.
There couldn't have been a more difficult date for releasing Billa 2 during the entire 2012, avers a theatre manager at a major Chennai multiplex.