Film industry under pressure due to low ticket sales

Published: May 18, 2018
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: So far, 2018 has seen a fairly decent number of Pakistani films releasing across the country, namely Parchi, Cake and Motorcycle Girl, amongst others. Now that the holy month of Ramazan has arrived, no new releases will be hitting theatres up until Eid.

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Fortunately, this Eidul Fitr will see the release of a number of local productions, in Urdu, Punjabi and Pashto as well. Big budget projects such as Azaadi, 7 Din Mohabbat In, Zaraar, Wajood and Parwaaz Hai Junoon are all in their post-production phases, set to release in on Eid. (The trailer of Parwaaz Hai Junoon is yet to be released due to the on-going court case).

Much to the industry’s dismay, however, the films that did release earlier this year haven’t done as well as was hoped, except for maybe Cake, thereby putting added pressure on the upcoming Eid releases to revive the box office. Parchi, Azad, Motorcycle Girl, Maan Jao Na, Allahyar and the legend of Markhor, Pari, Tick Tock and Cake all came out this year but failed to generate much traction at the box office. Even the elaborate PR campaigns run by the films’ teams, which involved a host of different outdoor and indoor activities and advertisements, were not able to carry the films towards becoming super hits.

A senior official at one of Pakistan’s biggest film distributor groups told The Express Tribune, “Film related businesses are disappointed with the Pakistani films released this year. They are also worried about the future of Pakistani cinema. However, they are hopeful that the Eid releases will make up for the losses incurred so far.” He added that Eid is usually a good time for business and the holiday season usually generates a lot of profits. The official also explained that since the recent rebirth of Pakistani cinema, 2018 has been the worst year in terms of film business.

Of course, considering the number of films scheduled to release during Eid, there is bound to be some tough competition at the box office. “Many producers are complaining that cinema halls are unavailable to release films because, obviously, if screens are not allocated to local content, Pakistani cinema cannot survive,” claimed the distributor. “Bollywood releases have done a lot of business this year but we could do well if Pakistani films are able to garner the same, or more, profit.”

Chaudhry Ejaz Kamran, chairman of Film Distributions Association of Pakistan, stated, “According to the information I have received, I feel that we will be giving a tough time to Bollywood films. There are a number of Pakistani films releasing on Eidul Fitr, including four Pashto films and one Punjabi film. The rest are all in Urdu.”

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He further added that Jawani Phir Nahi Aani 2 releasing on Eidul Azha and Teefa in Trouble hitting screens on July 20 can also help give the industry a much-needed boost but there is already enough competition for the summer. “No matter how many international films are released in Pakistan, the business mostly thrives on the local content. Business owners also need to realise that their profits can only flourish by the collective effort of local film-makers and distributors.”

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