The month of July is expected to be an exciting one for Hollywood movie fans. July saw the release of Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One. The Tom Cruise-starrer has met expectations and has done very well at the box office in its five-day weekend. The moviegoers are now looking forward to the release of two highly awaited films – Oppenheimer and Barbie – which will clash at the box office this Friday, July 21. It’s a rare occurrence that two Hollywood biggies release together in cinemas. We have seen in the past how fights erupt over screen sharing when two Hindi films clash. But in the case of Oppenheimer and Barbie, thankfully, the programming is being done in a peaceful manner.
Most theatres asked to play both Oppenheimer as well as Barbie; not allowed to choose any one of the two; PVR IMAX Lower Parel, Mumbai sets a RECORD by selling Oppenheimer’s recliner seat tickets for Rs. 2450
A source told Bollywood Hungama, “While Barbie is backed by Warner Bros, Oppenheimer is a film by Universal Studios. In India, Warner Bros is distributing films of Universal since 2020. Since one studio is releasing both films, they have gone all out to ensure that Oppenheimer as well as Barbie get the best showcasing in theatres.”
The source added, “Warner has told most theatres they have to play both films. Or else, they won’t get either of the films. They can’t choose to screen only one of the movies. Also, they have requested for theatres to have an equal number of shows for Oppenheimer as well as Barbie.”
The source continued, “Of course, there are exceptions as the studio understands that a one-size-fits-all strategy is not practical. In centres where they feel Barbie might not have a chance, they have agreed to let exhibitors play Oppenheimer or have more shows of it than Barbie. The vice versa has also been considered. Moreover, with Barbie being 1 hour 54 minutes long and Oppenheimer’s run time being more than 3 hours, having an equal number of shows might not be possible for multiplexes with lesser screens and Warner has taken it into account. Over the last few weeks, they have meticulously gone through each and every theatre and the audience it attracts to arrive at an ideal showcasing plan.”
When asked if the exhibitors have agreed to the demand, the source replied, “Absolutely. The advance booking for Oppenheimer has been very encouraging. Hence, they had no qualms about giving shows to the film. There was some reluctance for Barbie but after some theatres opened bookings and it got a huge response, the apprehensions disappeared.”
As for the screen count, the source said, “Oppenheimer will have a bigger release as it’s releasing in IMAX and also has a dubbed Hindi release. It will release in around 700-800 screens while Barbie will get a release in around 400-500 screens. The number is expected to go higher based on the demand.”
A section of moviegoers, however, are unhappy lot with the ticket prices, especially for Oppenheimer. There’s insane demand to watch the Christopher Nolan-starrer in IMAX theatres. Taking advantage, some theatres have gone for blockbuster pricing. Shockingly, the most expensive tickets are in PVR IMAX Lower Parel, Mumbai where the recliner seats tickets are being sold for a record Rs. 2450! The normal row tickets are priced at Rs. 760 and 960 for morning and post-midnight shows and Rs. 1160 and Rs. 1360 for all shows after 3:00 pm. The rates for recliner seats for morning shows are Rs. 1850. Interestingly, the most expensive ticket for Avatar: The Way Of Water (2022) in this theatre was Rs. 1750, though the film was in 3D. Oppenheimer, meanwhile, is releasing only in the 2D version and yet the prices have gone through the roof.
Even in other IMAX screens in Mumbai, Oppenheimer’s cheapest tickets start from Rs. 700. The same is the case in Delhi though Bengaluru is cheaper. Pune has just one IMAX screen and taking advantage of it, the cheapest ticket is priced at Rs. 1050!
As expected, several netizens can be seen grousing over it on social media. An industry insider commented, “This is beyond blockbuster pricing if you ask me. But at the same time, when people are ready to shell out the money, why won’t theatres hike up the prices? For instance, the recliner seats at Lower Parel property are priced at Rs. 2450 and yet, are sold out on the first day.”
Also Read: Cillian Murphy on Oppenheimer: “If Christopher Nolan asks you to do something, no matter what the size of the part, you just turn up”
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