This Eid-ul-Azha is all set to witness a clash of titans as Humayun Saeed’s Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Fahad Mustafa’s Na Maloom Afraad go head to head at the box office! Two mega budget films releasing simultaneously may not be a big deal else where, but for our infant industry it’s nothing short of a milestone and fight for the top spot is getting intense with each passing day as both films reveal their cards. However, now with less than a week to go to release, cinema schedules have just been updated and this fight just got super dirty super soon!
Fight for showtimes is not a new issue for Lollywood, and film-makers have often complained how cinema owners discriminate against them by giving them fewer shows and that too at odd times. But the cinema owners have a fair point that it’s all about the demand and they’ll play whatever the audiences want to see. So if a film is in demand it gets more shows and vice-versa. But what these same cinema owners are doing this Eid-ul-Azha, well that’s a different story.
Before I get to my point let me share with you the schedule of Nueplex Cinemas, one of the leading multiplexes of Pakistan, for the coming week:-
For the first four days, including the three Eid holidays, the show breakdown is as such:
Na Maloom Afraad 2 has 58 shows while Punjab Nahi Jaungi 28 shows
Then for the next three days, the break down is as such:
Na Maloom Afraad 2 has 46 shows while Punjab Nahi Jaungi 15 shows
You might go like hey that is only one multiplex chain, well the situation at Cinepax Cinemas all over Pakistan may not be as extreme as Nueplex but a similar trend is clearly visible. Here is a screenshot of their Rawalpindi schedule :
And while Cinestar Cinemas is yet to upload a schedule we are fairly certain that the trend followed would be similar.
Why are these multiplex giants favoring one film over the other while the hype and buzz for both films is at par, you ask? Well, the answer goes by the name of Excellency Films. Excellency Films is a Pakistani film production and distribution company established by Cinepax, Nueplex and Cinestar cinemas. It is worth mentioning that Cinepax already has a distribution wing Footprint Entertainment while Cinestar has its distribution wing HKC Entertainment ( which also dabbles into production at times). Nueplex did not have any such wing, but with the creation of Excellency Films these three multiplexes now are on the same page and have complete control over film production, distribution, and exhibition.
The first production by Excellency Films is Na Maloom Afraad 2 and to promote their homegrown content the showtimes have been devised as such to give Na Maloom Afraad 2 a huge push. While this push may work for the film and the box office numbers might be great, I strongly feel that this polarization is not healthy for our film industry and such measures will only have disastrous results in the long run. Showtimes for the first few days for both the films should be equal and then depending on the audience reactions, alterations for future shows should be made.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Comments.