In 2008, when the first season of the glamorous Indian Premier League hit the television sets, film producers experienced a sharp fall in theater-attendance and revenues. The sensational cricketing league promised to offer its audience much excitement, entertainment and thrill during those summer holidays. So much was the competition then that film producers stayed away from releasing any films during the IPL days. As multiplexes started going empty, owners decided to screen IPL matches instead of movies! Five years down the line, the situation has changed drastically. Film producers no more get the jitters during the IPL season.
This year with IPL Season 6 in full swing, there are some big movies lined up to get released in April and May starting from Chashme Baddoor, Rise of the Zombie, Ek Thi Dayaan, to I Love NY, Shootout at Wadala, Gippi and Aurangzeb. During the early-years when IPL was newly introduced, the occupancy rates in multiplexes would hover just around 20 percent or so. However, in recent years, the rates have ramped up considerably. Had it been the World Cup where India was seen as a strong contender, the film industry certainly witnessed a sharp decline in its business. However, with IPL, this is no more the case. Most of the people believe that IPL is more of entertainment rather than serious cricket. A good film, no matter when it is released during the IPL season gets substantial viewership as expected.
Take the example of 2011. The year witnessed some major releases during the IPL season such as Pyaar ka Punchnama, Dum Maaro Dum and Shor in the City. Come to 2012 and you will see how well Houseful 2 fared at the box office, crossing the 100-crore mark easily during that season. Similar was the case with Ishqzaade, Jannat 2 and Vicky Donor. Movies might get a less viewership on the day of their release, but the next day people do come to multiplexes and watch the show if there isn’t any match in their city.
Rather than finding solo-releases, which is easier said than done, film producers prefer releasing movies during the IPL season. They find it more feasible to go for this option instead of competing with movies, in the other half of the year, which star Ajay Devgan, Hrithik Roshan, Khans, and Ranbir Kapoor. In fact, Bollywood and IPL have taken to some sort of healthy partnership as well. Film producers seem to be leveraging the IPL platform to market and promote their movies and earn better revenues!
So, what was earlier seen as a competition or rivalry has transformed it completely. Movie producers no longer fear the IPL season. This interesting and competitive landscape has changed for the better!