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Open letter to Chiranjeevi
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23rd March 2004
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Open letter to Chiranjeevi

Dear Chiranjeevi

I am a big fan of yours and I was perturbed by the bad name Tagore attracted. Despite being an Industry hit, many consider it as nothing more than average.

The reason why it happened is as follows.

AP population is 7 crores. Out of this, small kids - those who do not watch movies or pay for it - below 5 years of age - will be around 50 lakhs. Also Old people - people above 65 years of age - who are most unlikely to watch movies will be around 50 lakhs. In nizam alone Urdu speaking muslim populace might be around 40lakhs and other states population would be around 30 lakhs. Tribals, People living in remote villages cut of from amenities, people below the poverty line who cannot afford to watch movies together will add up to a crore. People who do not watch movies in theaters will easily add up to a crore. In my own immediate family and friends circle, I know at least 10 people who do not go to theaters to watch movies (some of them do watch in TV) - And I live in Hyderabad.

Therefore, the total number of people watching movies will only be 3.3 crores. Out of this, there will be about 50 lakhs who will watch the movie only when the movie gets released in small small towns and villages. Movies get released in such places only after the 150 days runs in the main centerers. Movies do not get much share in such places. Its great if you get 2-3 crores in such places. Therefore, people who watch the movies in main centerers in the first 150 days would be around 2.6-2.7 crores.Out of these people, there will be repeat viewers. Adding this repeat viewership, my estimate is that there will be about 3.5-3.6 crores movie viewership in the first 150 days of a movie release.

At the current ticket rates, telugu cinema capacity is 35 + 2.5 = 37.5 crores. I am saying this because Tagore was predicted by magazines and websites to be achieving this figure. Even for Indra 35 crores were predicted - There is a prediction difference of 2.5 crores between the two movies - this can be attributed to hike in ticket rates as there is a one year gap in between them. Out of this 35 crores come in straight release centerers in the first 150 days, the remaining 2.5 crores come when the movie is release in villages.

Now we come to theaters.

Take the average seating capacity at 700 - some might be more, some might be less.
Per Day 4 shows - 2,800. Per week - roughly - 20000 (twenty thousand seating capacity).

Tagore was released in 500 theaters. Tagore was reported to have done very very well in the first 4 weeks, there was some decline in 5th week, and there were reports that the decline was steep in the 6th week. Let us take collections of 100% in first week, 90% in 2nd and 3rd weeks, 80% in 4th week, 50% in 5th week.

1st week - 500 theaters - 100% collections - total viewership = 20000 * 500 = 1crore.
2nd week - 300 theaters - 90% collections - total viewership = 20000 * .9 * 300 = 54 lacs.
3rd week - 300 theaters - 90% collections - total viewership = 20000 * .9 * 300 = 54 lacs.
4th week - 270 theaters - 80% collections - total viewership = 20000 * .8 * 270 = 43 lacs.
5th week - 270 theaters - 60% collections - total viewership = 20000 * .5 * 270 = 27 lacs.

So in 3 weeks the viewership was - 1 + .54 + .54 = 2.08 crores which is 60% of the total viewership of 3.5 crores. which means 60% of the collections - 60% of 35 crores = 21 crores which is what all the magazines and websites have reported.

In 5 weeks, Tagore got 2.8 crores viewership which is 80% of the total viewership. therefore collections are 80% of 35 which is 28 crores.

Tagore got 28 crores collections in 5 weeks. I dont think any movie in any language in the world would have acheived 80% of the target viewership in 5 weeks. In that sense Tagore is one of the biggest hits in the history of world cinema.

The remaining viewership left is just 20% - 70 lakhs - which is 1 week housefull collection for 350 centres. With this just this much in hand, you cannot run the movie in 250 centres. This is the reason why collections have dropped drastically from 6th week onwards - probable less than 25% from 6th week. You can easily see that the movie should have been run in 80 centres in the 6th and 7th weeks and 50 centres at the most after 50th day. Had this been done, the movie would have collected 35 crores and a long run share of 37.5 crores as predicted by websites and magazines.

Instead, the movie is run in 200 centres for 100 days. Taking Rs.10000 average rent and taxes per day for theatre, running the movie in 150 extra centres for 65 days would cost you Rs.10 crores. Instead of getting 37.5 the movie ends up 10 crores less. Not only that, it gets a lot of bad name and many consider it as nothing more than an average movie of 20 crores as the collections have dropped from 6th week itself.

What is actually happening is that people admire you so much that they cannot wait to watch your movie once it is released. By the 50th day, 90% of the viewing public your movie with some of them watching it as many times as they want. As a result,there is hardly anybody left to watch it after the 50th day. This does not happen for other heroes.

For other heroes, some watch 50 days after the release, some watch after 70 days, some watch after 100 days and so on. That's why their movies run for even 175 days. However, for you,hardly anybody remains without watching your movie by the 50th day. In future running your movies even for 80 days would be difficult.

You should be aware of this. You cannot compete with other heroes on centres basis. Instead, I believe you should ensure that all of 37.5 crores should be collected and openly claimed. This will attract 2 or 3 extra crores of tax. This would be much less than the 10 crores spent for Tagore on dragging. The records will be authentic and your reputation will soar.

I sincerely hope that Shankar dada will be the first movie to collect 40 crores and I sincerely hope that the whole of Andhra knows it and appreciates it.

Thanks for a patient hearing.
Raja Thota

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