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Birthday question for Akshay Kumar: Do four releases a year make for bad business?

Himesh Mankad | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 4:18 IST

'You often lose the value of a thing you get in abundance' - this phrase seems applicable in all aspects of life, ranging from money to love.

In India, people worship two kinds of people: cricketers and actors. India is one of those countries where actors and cricketers are treated as God by many people. Some of the well-known actors, like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan have arguably the most loyal fan following across the country.

A look at Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan's career:

Post 2007, actor Shah Rukh Khan realised the importance of making people crave for the release of his films. The actor decided to do one, or at most two, films a year so that the audiences have to wait anxiously for the release of his films, thus, enabling them to do well at the Box-Office.

Late 2000s were not a good one for actor Salman Khan as all his films one-after-another bombed at the Box-Office. The actor however, soon realised the reason for the failure of his films - over exposure. Since 2010, Salman Khan has followed a strict pattern for his film releases as every year the actor comes up with two films, thus making the audience wait for a reasonable period to watch them.

No we're not rambling -- here's the main point.

Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan

Akshay Kumar's justification for four releases a year:

Akshay Kumar, who turns 48, seems to be facing the same issue that Salman Khan faced in late 2000s. With films like Baby, Gabbar Is Back, Brother and Singh Is Bliing releasing in 2015, Akshay Kumar is the only superstar to have four releases a year and it seems this strategy is backfiring big time for Kumar.

The actor has always been vocal about his reason to do four films a year. He has gone on record to say:

"I do four films a year as it is not very difficult for me to manage being a part of four films. Me doing four films a year is good for the industry as the crew gets hired for some work and the money keeps on getting circulated within the industry."

Yes, what Akshay Kumar said seems logical. But if we take a look at the Box-Office collections of Kumar's last few films, the films have heavily 'under-performed' despite everything being in favour of the film.

Akshay Kumar Dabboo Ratnani Photo Shoot

Dabboo Ranani Photo Shoot

A glimpse into the performance of Akshay Kumar's releases in 2015:

Kumar's first release in 2015, Baby made Rs 96 crore at the Box-Office despite the critical acclaim and word of mouth publicity. His second release of the year, Gabbar Is Back collected around Rs 86 crore at the Box-Office and yet again the reviews and audience feedback was not so negative. Third release of the year was one of 2015's biggest film Brothers and still this film failed to live up to the expectations as it collected Rs 83 crore in its lifetime run.

Do the Box-Office collections indicate that the above mentioned films were bad? Definitely not.

  • Kumar's first release Baby appealed to the multiplex audiences and despite his strong fan following among the masses, the film failed to make a reasonable opening at the mass centres. The audience is well aware of the fact that Akshay has another released lined up in a couple of months which will provide them with tons of entertainment, so it was better to wait for a film which would cater their demands than not.
  • What happened with Gabbar is Back was exactly the opposite. The film opened to packed houses across the mass centres however it failed to make a reasonable opening at the multiplexes. The reason here is the same as it was for Baby. The multiplex audience were well aware that Akshay Kumar is coming up with another film in next 2 months i.e. Brothers which on-paper seemed to be an no-nonsense film catering to their needs.
  • When you do four films a year, the audiences (except the loyal fan following) begin to take the actor's films for granted as they know that he will come up with another release very soon. If we take the combined collections of Akshay Kumar's three releases this year, it comes up to a humongous sum of Rs 265 crore and the actor has another film - Singh Is Bliing, which is yet to be released.
Gabbar Is Back and Baby

Akshay Kumar - The Superstar:

The humongous collections itself prove that Akshay Kumar has the power to draw an amount close to Rs 300 crore from the audiences in a year and that sum will come irrespective of the number of films he does in a year. If the actor decides to do two films a year, the producers of his film will get a huge benefit due to heavy return on investment. The way his films are faring well currently, and most of the producers are just managing to break even.

Imagine the situation if Akshay Kumar had just two releases this year, one being Baby (start of the year) and another one being Gabbar Is Back (October). Don't you think the mass audiences will go to watch Baby as they would be well aware of the fact that Akshay's next film is 10 months away from its release so it is better to not lose the chance to watch him on the big screen? 10 months later, upon the release of Gabbar Is Back, the multiplex audiences will also give it a chance as Akshay has managed to gain the trust from the multiplex audiences by doing quality films like Baby, Holiday, Special 26 and many more.

Akshay Kumar Birthday Special 1

When is a film called successful?

Another fact being, when you leave the audiences with no choice, they will definitely come and watch your film, thus helping it to do well. No film in India can work on the strength of a particular section of audience. For a film to be successful, audiences from both the mass centres and the metros should come in great numbers to watch it and appreciate the work.

Salman Khan is the perfect example of an actor who battled out the situation by having some control over the release of his films. Ajay Devgn too has realised the same off late as the actor too had just one release in the form of Drishyam this year and will have two releases, Baadshaho and Shivaay in 2016.

Do you think Akshay Kumar should continue doing four films a year or should he join the other superstars?

On that note, here's wishing 'Khiladi' Kumar, many many happy returns of the day.

First published: 8 September 2015, 9:49 IST
Himesh Mankad @himeshmankad

Himesh Mankad is an entertainment journalist who has a B.Com degree from Narsee Monjee College, Mumbai. He prefers covering Bollywood and loves good stories and music. When not watching movies, he can be found on a cricket field strutting his stuff.