Dhoom 3, the year-ender for Yash Raj Films, might be a multi-starrer and made on a high budget, but the production house is taking the less-is-more route for promotions. Along with the publicity partner, Spice, it is ensuring that the media is not flooded with promos and hoardings of the cop-robber franchise. At work, are strategically placed teasers to intrigue the audience till the movie's release on 20th of December.
Prabhat Choudhary, head, Spice PR says. "We wanted to buck the trend of plastering the media with promotions. It is a well thought-out strategy to have just enough publicity in the run-up to the film so that people will be encouraged to come to the cinema halls and see the feature film."
Visual motifs are being employed to make the associations stronger. Aamir Khan, who plays the villain, has been donning the bowler hat at his public appearances, reminiscent of the one his character sports in the film.
To rake in the moolah despite a minimalistic approach, the producers have signed as many as 18 merchandising deals across categories to establish the third installment of India's thriller franchise as a brand before its release. The licensing partners include Mattel (a collector's edition of dolls of Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif, toy bikes, cars etc.), ICEX Electronics (Dhoom 3-branded phones, phablets and tablets), Collectabilia (fashion bags, sling bags and caps), Archies (stationery) and Bollyexpress (musical and conversational gifting cards).
The franchise has been successful with its past two installments, released in 2004 and in 2006. The theme song has been promoted extensively on the digital platform.
While IMAX screens across the country number only three (commercially deployed in Mumbai and Bengaluru), Dhoom 3 would be the first Indian release to be ready for such a display. Released digitally, it will open to no less than 4,000 screens in Hindi and dubbed in Tamil and Telugu.
Gautam Dutta, COO, PVR, one of the exhibitors with an IMAX screen says, "We are aggressively promoting it on our theatre screens and other ancillary media platform. We are working on making the cine-goer aware that Dhoom 3 needs to be experienced in the IMAX format. The screen size is bigger, 60 per cent brighter and has 30 per cent more contrast than standard screens."
PVR had opened advance bookings for select shows the day the trailer was unveiled a couple of months back. According to the multiplex chain, the movie has already seen sales of just under Rs 2 crore in advance bookings.
While the promotional strategy might be subtle, the production of the movie has been anything but. Shot mostly abroad, Dhoom 3's lavish budget includes nearly Rs 80 crore of production alone. Add to that around Rs 20 crore for prints and advertising, taking the overall cost of the film to around Rs 100 crore, according to industry estimates.
However, unlike other big-budget movies, the ticket prices have not seen a sizeable increase. On an average, the ticket rates have gone up by Rs 20-30, which is a rise registered on weekends anyway. Movies like Chennai Express and Krrish 3 have seen ticket rate-hikes of Rs 40 to 50.
Independent exhibitor and trade analyst (UP and Delhi) Shaaminder Malik says, "With Aamir Khan in the movie, expectations from it are high. His movies usually do steady business even after the opening weekend and this could turn out to be the biggest movie of the year." He, however, says the run-time of 2 hours and 53 minutes could be a hindrance to people flocking to theatres in the foggy, cold winter evenings in the north of India.
But brisk business is being forecast for the film's opening. Trade analysts are going as far as saying that it may just break Chennai Express' record opening with Rs 35 crore in collection. Dhoom 3's satellite rights have not been sold yet. But experts say satellite rights are likely to fetch as much as Rs 50-55 crore and the music another Rs 8-9 crore in physical and digital sales and television and radio airings.
Returning after seven years, the franchise has a new director in Vijay Krishna Acharya. The previous editions were helmed by Sanjay Gadhavi. With an anti-hero (played by Aamir Khan) complete with a life story, unlike its predecessors, the movie is expected to hinge on his antics. Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra resume their roles as ACP Jai Dixit and his sidekick Ali, respectively.