Cinema is an industry that thrives on content; good content to be specific. However, ever since the ban on Indian films, there has been zero new content for cinemas to screen. Old Pakistani hits are back in town while most of the screens have closed down in different cinemas. For instance, Cinepax – being the biggest chain – has shutdown 5 screens at their Packages Mall site. Moreover, the recent Disney biggie Captain Marvel did not release in Pakistan, as was planned earlier, thereby denying the cinemas further, of quality content.
22nd March releases
However, not all is bad. This Pakistan day (a day before actually), we have two new local releases coming out. The first one is Sherdil and the second is Laal Kabootar.
It is our speculation that the two movies will benefit not only because of the national holiday but also because there are no other quality films being played in the cinemas, these days. Therefore, the holiday benefit is likely to get much bigger, unlike under normal circumstances. However, it is also important that movies like Captain Marvel come out this week so that the audiences start flocking to the theaters again.
Sherdil seems to be at a bit of an advantage here, as it takes forward the current bilateral issues between India and Pakistan on the air force battlefield. Laal Kabootar, on the other hand, is based in Karachi and has indie film vibes which are likely to appeal to a niche audience rather than having a countrywide appeal. Either way, the films are a good news for our otherwise deserted cinemas.
What the experts have to say
We got one of our trade stalwarts, Mr. Nadeem Mandviwalla – the man behind Atrium cinemas – to talk on this issue. He pointed out that whenever a ban like this happens, it takes cinemas and distributors some time to do the required rescheduling of movies. To put in simpler words, we might see more releases in April, than March.
Furthermore, he hinted that, at this point, it cannot be predicted if the business will pick up after the new releases as the overall footfall has gone down but he hopes that the 22nd March releases will bring in some good content and some sanity will prevail between the two neighboring countries.
Another expert – Mr. Khorem Ghultasab – the man looking after Super Cinemas in Lahore -is of the view that Sherdil may have a better chance at the box office for it hits all the right chords, what with all the national interests with India, at the moment. He feels that Laal Kabootar is more of a niche film, although with a very nice teaser. He also mentioned that according to him, local releases need to come after regular intervals, rather than being consolidated around specific dates.
Cinepax chain’s marketing manager Natasha said, “after refreshing the memories of Pakistani moviegoers with reruns, on public demand, of super hit movies from the past 2 years, the last week of March welcomes two of the most promising Pakistani films – Sherdil and Laal Kabootar!”
We wish great success to both of the 22nd March releases. We are also keeping our fingers crossed, jbtw!