With Barfi! and Heroine releasing in two consecutive weeks, we had Ranbir Kapoor v/s Kareena Kapoor at the box-office. So which movie buzzed, and which one fizzled, here's a detailed analysis.
Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine, starring Kareena Kapoor has been a headline grabbing project for a long time. The movie, which was initially conceptualized with Kareena Kapoor, went to Aishwarya Rai who unceremoniously dropped out of it, after launching it at Cannes Film Festival, on becoming pregnant, leading to some controversy. Finally, Kareena Kapoor came onboard and the movie got a new lease of life leading to Heroine releasing on Sep 21, 2012.
Unfortunately, Heroine has not been able to create a lot of buzz in the media with its promotional activities, reflected in the online search activity related to the movie and its leading star, Kareena Kapoor. Maybe, the absence of a powerful co-actor in the movie also didn’t help the cause much, as the promotion initiatives laid entirely on the petite shoulder of Kareena. Though, Madhur accompanied her for some of the events and also gave some interviews, Kareena had to bear the burden of carrying the movie across media (Print / TV / Radio / Web / ...).
While last week’s release Barfi! gained from the online association with YouTube, Heroine didn’t have any powerful online partnership to give it the much needed boost, that’s required to generate online buzz and curiosity. Barfi with 2 top lead actors (Ranbir and Priyanka) also managed to get significant buzz in online search trend, thanks to the multi-pronged marketing and promotional campaigns. Though, heroine centric films have done well in recent past for Bollywood, it can’t be the new normal for Hindi movies. Despite the poor buzz, Trade Analyst Komal Nahta was optimistic about Heroine.
Search activity / trend for Heroine and Kareena Kapoor
In the 2 weeks, prior to release, Heroine didn’t manage to scale peaks on search trend. The maximum gain it achieved was 50% above the average for 30 days prior to launch on Sep 13. In comparison, Barfi! managed 3 major bumps on 3 occasions, which took the search activity to new heights, and on 2 occasions almost doubled the 30 day average in a short span of 2 days. The first of the two bumps were on Sep 8-9, 2012 when there was some buzz related to Kareena promoting the movie at Phoenix Mills, Mumbai and also the news about Amitabh Bachchan wishing her, which sort of closed the unpleasant chapter related to Aishwarya’s connection with the movie which also coincided with the weekend, which is typically associated with higher movie related search queries.
The second bump for the search activity happened on Sep 15-16, 2012 (the next weekend) when the promotional activities moved into top gear with Kareena, Madhur making multiple media appearances. Also, for the first time, another co-star, Mugdha Godse was included in the flurry of promotional activities and she also appeared in the news, pushing search queries to the all time high (compared to 30 day average). The appearances on reality shows like Dance Ke Superkids on Zee, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa on Colors which were telecast during the weekend also contributed to a part of the heightened buzz, leading to higher search activity.
There was some controversy related elements towards the end of the promotion period, with Priyanka Chopra being dragged into the story with Kareena’s purported quote about Fashion. But, it was not well covered in the media and it died down quickly. There was no legal dispute related controversy like Barfi! which could have added to the noise in the media. Even Saif-Kareena’s marriage date speculation and Kareena remaining mum, while Sharmila sent out invites (Sep 12) didn’t help the cause of the movie. Kareena’s graph moved in tandem with Heroine graph. The movie clearly failed to break out in the online space and there was no significant jump, as witnessed in Barfi! between the movie and the lead actors, where summation of parts is clearly more than the whole.
Search activity / trend for Heroine, Barfi, and OMG Oh My God
When we compare search activities for Barfi! (Release: Sep 14, 2012), Heroine (Release: Sep 21, 2012) and OMG Oh My God! (Release: Sep 28, 2012), we find, till Sep 11, Barfi! and Heroine were close. However, with couple of days prior to release, and tremendous word of mouth publicity, Barfi! took off and the gap with Heroine was huge. Obviously, there was a drop for Barfi! on Sep 17, but it didn’t release translate into good numbers for Heroine. Clearly OMG Oh My God! has not been very online friendly and lags way behind Heroine and Barfi! Today, when no one can ignore the online audience, the Producers can only hope, that the numbers will pick up in the week before the release. (For this comparison, I tried different options for the name of the movie like OMG movie, Oh My God movie, etc and the results were similar or worse)
Search activity / trend for Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ranbir Kapoor, Akshay Kumar
When we compare the graph of the lead actors in the 3 weeks’ release, we find that historically, Kareena topped the charts in comparison with Priyanka Chopra and Akshay Kumar behind her and Ranbir Kapoor bringing up the rear. But, the buzz linked to superlative performance of the lead pair in Barfi! helped Ranbir and Priyanka to break out and Priyanka even managed to catch up with Kareena, while Ranbir topped Akshay. Akshay’s curve has been more or less flat and gained nothing from imminent release of his home production, OMG Oh My God!
Top Indian states searching for Heroine, Kareena Kapoor
Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are 2 states, which are in top 5 states in search trend for both Heroine and Kareena. So, the producers can expect at least a good opening, if not good business from these states. Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are the other 4 states on both the lists, which should also do well. Andhra Pradesh is the only state from South India in the list for Heroine. For states like Punjab and Delhi, the producers will be hoping, Kareena will be able to draw the crowd to the theatres.
Overall, Heroine has not able to manage a great online buzz and capitalise on the hype related to the project from the beginning. They clearly lacked another star in their team, who could have pushed the movie forward in the crowded promotional space, competing with post release positive buzz related to Barfi!
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