Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi’s upcoming film Master is releasing on Wednesday, and theatre owners in Tamil Nadu and further north are expecting it to be the biggest ever release in theatres since the Covid-19 pandemic halted business.
In Chennai, every theatre was fully booked through the weekend, as per online ticket booking platform Bookmyshow. Mayajaal Multiplex in ECR Chennai, which has 70 shows per day, was fully booked for every show from the first day of the film’s release till Sunday.
Ruban Mathivanan, managing partner of GK Cinemas in Chennai, told Silverscreen India, “Shows are full till Sunday in my theatre. Since the film’s duration is three hours and we need one hour for deep cleaning, we couldn’t increase the number of shows. Thus we will have five shows a day. But since the court has given us permission to have special shows, on the first and the second day we will have shows starting at 4 am.”
To avoid crowding during pre-booking, Mathivanan had announced pre-booking on Twitter minutes before opening the booking, at 10:30 pm. “Almost 80% of the tickets were sold out through the online platforms. Only 10-15 % of the tickets were left for over-the-counter booking,” he said.
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Pre-booking for Master in other parts of the country has been mixed.
In Hyderabad, theatre owners said pre-booking had gone better than expected, but Master would have a tough time competing with the Telugu film Krack, starring Ravi Teja.
Balagovind Raju, secretary of the Exhibitors Association in Hyderabad and owner of Sudarshan 35MM and Devi 70MM theatres, told Silverscreen India, “Tickets are selling out faster than we expected, that’s for sure. Since my theatre is a single screen, I wasn’t able to add more shows. However, many multiplexes have added special shows. Master will do well in Hyderabad. But it will be difficult for it to beat Krack as Krack is already doing well and Master hasn’t even released yet.”
In West Bengal, single screen distributor Ajoy Bakliwal said that ticket sales were low, as there was much “less craze for Vijay here”. However, Satadeep Saha, owner of the multiplex Ajanta Cinema in Kolkata and distributor of the Hindi dubbed version of Master in West Bengal, told Silverscreen India that the Tamil and Telugu dubbed version of the film were doing well in pre-booking, even though the Hindi dubbed version had yet to pick up pace.
He said, “I think the audience doesn’t yet know that Master is releasing in Hindi as well. It’s that word has gone around that a big film is releasing after a long time.”
He added that 125 theatres in West Bengal will be showing Master.
“In West Bengal to get this number for a South Indian film is huge. And we already have around 500 shows for the film. Kolkata will be a slow starter but if the movie is good and it gets good reviews, then it’ll work out really well,” Saha said.
Since West Bengal is currently the only state to run theatres with 100% capacity, Saha feels that the film will do even better by the weekend. “Even if the film does well with 50% occupancy, we will be content.”
In Chennai, theatres like Rohini and Ganga saw huge crowds for over-the-counter ticket booking, while places like SPI Cinemas in Puducherry did better with online booking.
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Meanwhile, according to a report in the The Times of India, Master has got the highest ever shows for any Tamil film in Australia.
Master is directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj. It also stars Malavika Mohanan, Arjun Das, Andrea Jeremiah, and Shanthanu Bhagyaraj. The film is produced by XB Film Creators and Seven Screen Studios.