A shorter version of Rajinikanth’s Baba was remastered and released in theatres on Dec 10, 2022 — 20 years after its original release, four days ahead of his birthday. The Tamil superstar’s 1995 superhit Baasha hit screens for a second time in 2017.
In Telugu, Chiranjeevi’s Gang Leader (1991) and Pawan Kalyan’s Badri (2000) got a second shot on the big screen in 2023, while Mohanlal’s Malayalam hit Spadikam (1995) was also re-released early this year.
It’s not just the mass hero movies. Other mega hits can also find large screens a second time. Titanic was re-released in theatres on February 10 as part of the movie’s 25th anniversary. In time for Valentine’s Day, PVR also screened romantic movies for a week. Besides Titanic, the list included Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Jab We Met, Ved (Marathi), Geetha Govindam (Telugu), Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (Tamil), Hridayam (Malayalam), Googly (Kannada) and Love Ni Bhavai (Gujarati), among others.
Fans who missed out on a good movie on the big screen only to regret it later, would get a second chance at experiencing a hit in cinemas, which is a great thing. Cinema owners would find more affordable content and can target a specific audience. Producers get to monetise more. From all sides, a win-win.
We asked: Are re-releases only for die-hard star fans? Can they fetch exhibitors a sizeable audience? Is lack of fresh content a factor for re-releasing past hits?
The second question could raise a few eyebrows in the age of multiple weekly releases on OTT platforms. But then, the mega hit magic on silver screens is rare today. Here’s what industry watchers and players had to say.
‘There is a demand for old films on big screens’
The re-releases are aimed at die-hard fans. As far as fetching a sizable audience, for some films we have got really good numbers. We are getting a good number of audiences for re-released movies.
It is not because of the lack of new content that the movies are getting re-released.
We have enough content but there is a demand for old films and to watch on a big screen. We are providing that.
Some movies are played for a day or three. But there are movies which have run for over two weeks.
– Rajender Singh Jyala, Chief Programming Officer, Inox Leisure.
‘Movies which have a cult following will be re-released’
It’s all about people looking for opportunities to bring it (the movies) to the audience. The makers would have thought that the movie has good content but couldn’t connect with the audience at that point of time. The movies which have a cult following will be re-released, which is a good attempt.
– G Dhananjayan, Film Producer.
‘Audience of the ’90s may not enjoy what is dished out today’
There are some films which attain cult status due to punch dialogues, music or even just sheer storytelling. These films have a nostalgia factor and those who enjoyed them say two decades ago may want to experience this again. But I am not too sure whether the current audience will resonate with that. Most of them are available on Youtube or other OTT channels so it may not really draw the audience by droves to the theatre.
Fresh content is available by the plenty now so that’s not really the issue. The issue is that the audience of the ’90s may not quite enjoy what is being dished out today. For example, I am a die hard fan of Mouna Ragam which was released in 1986. But try showing that to the audience of today and they may find it slow, boring or may ask you what the big deal about it is. Films have to be topical and have to connect with an audience of today like Love Today did…not that I enjoyed it as much as a Mouna Ragam but it had its moments. Content has to be curated keeping the current audience in mind. The audience of ’80s and ’90s may still enjoy the re- runs.
Exhibitors may be forced to give it at rates that are cheap hoping for the best. I am a fan of Sholay, which released in 1975. I went and watched the 3D version when it came out but hardly found any of the current generation in the audience. The Amithabh Bachan festival had few takers because they had given a blanket rate for all films screened. I would have gone had it been for each film at a subsidised rate.
– Rajeev Balakrishnan, CEO, Image Advantage Consultants.
‘Re-releases of hits are more likely to succeed’
Re-releases are an essential way to increase the theatre shelf-life of the movie. Just like you have movie re-runs on TV which get a substantial audience, there are many who may have wanted to see the movie on the big screen, but may not have been able to.
Re-releases, especially during specific occasions, like the 25th anniversary of the movie, or the birthday of a star, bring back attention to the movie, giving another chance for the movie to earn revenues.
Fresh content, if available, would have had the priority in theatres. Re-releases help meet gaps when many new releases are not available. Also, new releases are risky, as success of the movie is yet to be witnessed, but re-releases of hits are more likely to succeed since their potential has been already been seen.
– N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research.
‘Dependance on large budget films means fresh content is an issue’
Re-releases are only for die-hard fans. But I don’t think they can fetch a sizable audience because it’s more driven by die-hard fans who are actually more frequent at single screens.
I usually don’t see the multiplex fans being that die-hard star fans. So for the exhibition industry, this may not have any impact for multiplexes; it can give some respite for the single screens because ticket prices are phenomenally low there.
There is lack of content. One of the reasons for this is small and medium budget content has been a failure across the board, whether in regional languages or Hindi.
The intensity of large budget content has not been that high. The dependance is skewed towards large budget films; that’s the reason why fresh content has been an issue.
There are also instances where small and medium budget movies are put out of the theatres within three to four days when they are not doing well. These are the reasons why the re-releases are happening. There is definitely a shortfall in terms of content.
– Karan Taurani, Senior VP, Elara Capital.