Contrary to reports, Beast, the Vijay starrer that released on Wednesday, has been a profitable venture for theatre owners, Tirupur Subramaniam, president of the Tamil Nadu Theatres Association, told Silverscreen India.
Written and directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, Beast, produced by Sun Pictures, is a mall invasion thriller featuring Vijay as a RAW agent, alongside actors Pooja Hegde, Shine Tom Chacko, Redin Kingsley, Aparna Das, Yogi Babu, VTV Ganesh, Ankur Ajit Vikal, Liliput Faruqui, and filmmaker Selvaraghavan.
Beast collected Rs 34-36 Crore in Tamil Nadu on its first day of release, surpassing the first-day collections of both Ajith Kumar’s Valimai (Rs 25 crore gross), and Rajinikanth-starrer Annaththe (Rs 24 crore net) in Tamil Nadu. A day after Beast was released, however, pan-Indian Kannada film KGF Chapter 2 also opened in theatres, to huge footfall and financial success.
KGF Chapter 2 collected around Rs 134.5 Crore (gross) at the box office on its first day of release following which cinemas in Chennai announced that they have opened bookings for special 1:30 am and 4:45 am shows for the film. Reports also stated that the Vijay-starrer is losing out screens to the Yash-starrer.
On the seventh day since Beast release, Silverscreen India spoke to theatre owners from Tamil Nadu to understand how Beast has been performing so far, alongside KGF Chapter 2.
Tirupur Subramaniam, president of the Tamil Nadu Theatres Association, says, “Beast performed really well, financially, during the first five days. The number of screens allotted for Beast was huge, it was the festive period and there was also the mass appeal attached to the film.”
While no actual numbers on Beast’s box office collection have been officially announced by the production house yet, Subramaniam said that KGF Chapter 2 has managed to earn only “30% of Beast’s total collection in Tamil Nadu.” “It might extend to 50% in the long run. However, I don’t see KGF outperforming Beast or Valimai in Tamil Nadu” he adds.
About reports that the huge success of KGF Chapter 2 has reduced screens allotted for Beast, Subramaniam explains, “Screen-wise, Beast has had the upper hand. Beast had its run in theatres. About five lakh people would have watched the film during one show in Tamil Nadu, that is the number of screens we had allotted for Beast in the first five days. In case of KGF, as much as 50,000 people could have watch a single show when it first released. Now that about 5 lakh people have already seen Beast and KGF which released a day later is getting good reviews, the screens for KGF were increased. It is not that screens allotted to Beast reduced due to KGF.”
He adds that over time, the lifespan of a film in theatres becomes shorter.
“There is no 100-day run these days because of wider releases. When Ghilli (2004) was released, it released all over Tamil Nadu in 120 screens. But now films are releasing in around 800 theatres. More people watch it in less time,” he adds.
Venkatesh, the owner of Woodlands Cinemas, Chennai, says, “Beast was screened in 850 out of 1165 screens in Tamil Nadu when it released. We had started advance booking on April 9, for Beast, for shows until April 17. For KGF Chapter 2, advance bookings were opened on the 12th. KGF got 194 screens. We followed a carpet bombing strategy for Beast, and since it was festive/holiday period, we could not rearrange the content as digital service providers were often unavailable.”
He adds that theatres where no advance bookings were available for Beast, switched to KGF Chapter 2. Subsequently, the Kannada film managed to get more screens. Venkatesh says that, while initially, the ratio of screens between Beast and KGF was 5:1 respectively, now it is equal screens for both the films in Tamil Nadu.
However, both Venkatesh and Subramaniam, affirm that Beast‘s collection is still showing an upward trend. Venatesh adds that Beast’s collection exceeded that of Vijay’s previous film, Master (2021). “We have recorded high collection numbers and online booking is very positive. What tickets, I would have sold in one year, I have sold in five days,” he says.