Housefull 2: A Campaign That Fell Short

This post is about how Housefull 2 could have benefited from a better planned campaign and opened far higher than the level at which it has actually opened. It is not about the film itself. In fact, I haven’t watched the film yet!

Diwali 2010. Golmaal 3 (G3) released to thundering box office response, scoring Rs. 34.75cr on the opening weekend at the box office. G3 had another film with a bigger starcast (Action Replayy) cutting into about 35% of its screen space. Also, Diwali (Friday in this case) affects that day’s collections by about 30%, because of Laxmi Puja. If it was a clean holiday weekend with no competition, G3 would have scored Rs. 43cr, if not a couple more.

We are in April 2012 now. The benchmarks are going up all the time, at a rough rate of 20-25% per annum. Potentially, if G3 came this weekend (April 6, 2012), it had more than a real chance of crossing Rs. 50cr.

That’s where the puzzle begins. If a franchise comedy with only one big star and no chartbuster song can cross Rs. 50cr on its opening weekend, why can’t another franchise comedy (Housefull 2) with one and a half big stars (no, not of the critics variety!) and three songs in the top 10, achieve the same? In fact, from what it seems, HF2 may fall staggeringly short, and finish at around Rs. 40cr. Surely, it must be a case of an opportunity lost? Indeed.

Let’s look at some data from Cinematix to understand what went wrong. The chart below captures the Buzz (%) for G3 and HF2, from seven weeks before release (Wk -7) to the week of release (Wk 0).

As you can see, the campaigns were tracking equally well on Buzz till Wk -3. One can argue that HF2 should have tracked well from Wk -7 itself, given Akshay’s fan base and the pre-cursor campaign in last year’s Cricket World Cup (you remember?). But that’s a point of digression.

Wk -2 onwards, the HF2 campaign clearly ran out of steam. What G3 showed in its last two week is “normal” Buzz growth most big releases show. However, HF2 just couldn’t grow at the normal pace. There was no apparent effort to create the Buzz. The stars were not present on any reality shows. There was no controversy brewing in the papers and on the news channels. It almost seemed that the makers were over-confident that the strength of the franchise will see them through. In fact, the director of the film was more visible than the stars themselves! Our Director’s Equity Survey (DES) results show that he should have stayed away from the campaign as far as possible.

Next, let’s look at Interest (i.e. Intention to Watch). This represents % theatre audience who said they will definitely watch the film in a theatre when it releases.

G3 was always ahead of HF2, even at the start of the campaign, indicating that Golmaal is a bigger franchise than Housefull. Having said that, the HF2 campaign no growth in Interest at all. In fact, the Wk 0 score is lower than the Wk -6 score.

The reasons were embarrassingly apparent to us. It was a comedy film but none of the promos were funny. The whole campaign hinged on Anarkali Disco Chali and Papa Toh Band Bajaaye. Only about 2-3 dialogue clips were used. There was no sampling of actual humor from the film. In fact, the Wk -4 low of 48 came after Papa Toh Band Bajaaye promos were fatiguing out, and the funny promos had not started at all.

Now some of you who have not liked the film will argue that there is no humor in it that’s “promo worthy”. Without watching the film, I can contest that thought. Because when you don’t have strong enough comic lines, you should handle the quality problem with quantity. Put 10-12 dialogue promos out and everyone will find the 2-3 that they like. That’s what the theatrical of Kya Super Kool Hain Hum attempts to do. That’s what Rohit Shetty has always done with the Golmaal films, and will surely repeat with Bol Bachchan.

Comedy is the most popular genre in India. It is the rare genre that has the ability to draw families to the theatres. But not when you choose to hide all the humor. An inexplicable error of judgment.

What happens to the film Monday onwards is another point of analysis altogether. But the fact is: Housefull 2 should have crossed 50cr on its opening weekend. And a poorly executed marketing plan has stripped the film of 20-25% of its opening weekend potential. A lesson for other big comedies lined up this year!

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About Shailesh Kapoor

Founder & CEO - Ormax Media. Film Lover. Media Insights Detective. Budding Author. Lifelong Student.
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8 Responses to Housefull 2: A Campaign That Fell Short

  1. Deepak, Delhi says:

    Total hogwash and rubbish.

    When Bodyguard or Ra.1 can just do 50 crore in three days. It is unbelievable stupid to expected HF2 to do that. You seem to have limited box office knowledge and have weird theories though you write well. A golmaal 3 doing as much as Bodyguard opening if released now is ridiculous and just silly assumption. You have just adjusted the maths to suit your article. A HF2 was also going to do like Ready like weekend of 42-43 crore and due to IPL it may do 1 or 2 cr less. Just checked you also have prediction of 37 cr with ormax media, that much your research but looking 5 crore out means research going wrong or does 37 mean 32-42 range which is lame and even still you are just about hitting range.

  2. Shreyash says:

    Excellent article … The facts quantify the opinion and thus cannot be challenged … However, 2 things that are of prime importance which some how did not get highlighted in the article were
    IPL – Although the TRP’s have been on an all time decline and there is clearly an overdose of the sport but lets face it …. Its cricket …. Its a religion, especially with big matches lined up during the weekend, it landed up eating the share of the movie in a way.
    Also another factor that was not highlighted while comparing H2 with G3 was the star value associated with each of the films. G3 released in 2010 with brand Ajay Devgn. In that particular year, Ajay Devgn had an enviable track record with Athithi, Rajneeti and OUATIM declared as superhits and Aakrosh doing above average business. There was a lot of expectations not only riding on the movie but also on brand Devgn as his work had been impressive in that particular year appealing both the classes and the masses. In the case of H2, it rides on majorly on brand Khiladi. Akshay in the recent past has had all time duds to his credit with Desi Boyz, Thank You, Patiala House, Tees Maar Khan and Khatta Meetha. The audience has not been enjoying his performances off late which in a way has reduced the credibility of brand Khiladi. A blockbuster is the need of the hour, to cement his credibility in the minds of the targets (hopefully Rowdy Rathore should do the trick). Thus, although the franchise being a strong brand by its own, one parameter that also led to the business being low apart from the ones cited above has been “the depreciating brand Khiladi”.
    However, its just an opinion that I felt could be shared.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Shreyash Sampat

    • Anonymous says:

      who told you that Tmk,Db,Thank you Khattametha.are duds.All those movie are earns due the starpower of Akshay.

      • Shreyash says:

        Dear Anonymous
        If you actually consider the box-office collections of the above mentioned movies, they have either lost or have managed to break-even. As far as the audience verdict went regarding the content of the above films, there were mixed reactions favoring the negative side. Thus, although Akshay Kumar was a force to reckon with post Welcome and Singhh is King … Things really went sour by the time H2 hit the theatres.
        (the above mentioned post is just an expression of my opinion coupled with some harsh facts.)

        Thanks & Regards,
        Shreyash Sampat

  3. u missed to consider IPL, Racha & Mirza – due to these 3 about 2-3 crores were lost

  4. Amardeep Lakra says:

    Box office collections are affected by lots of reasons yes benchmark is getting higher each passing months and years. I remembered the theater occupancy when me and my friend were at Theater to watch Golmaal 3 and I said to my friend I didn’t knew that Golmaal 3 has lot of craze but after reading the article now I knew that it is all about well executed promotion strategy of movie.
    Houseful 2 has not as craze as Golmaal 3. Producers of Golmaal 3 used dialogue promo to promote movie but makers of Houseful too relied on songs promo only, even the songs are in chartbusters but enjoyable dialogue promo actually works to provide ample effect on audiences for movies.

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