Shah Rukh Khan’s Bollywood starrer “Chennai Express” will open day and date in a number of markets, and not just the usual suspects with a large South Asian diaspora. Disney UTV will release the film on Aug. 9 in India, the U.K., U.S., Australia and the Middle East, all big markets for Hindi films, as well as Peru, Morocco, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Israel.
“Chennai Express” is expected to attract huge holiday audiences in India and the Middle East, where the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. But Indian audiences can expect to pay more for tickets. In a model similar to the one predicted by George Lucas for Stateside theaters, Indian multiplexes are raising ticket prices for the film by up to 40%, confident that “King Khan” fans will turn out. In suburban Mumbai, tickets are expected to sell for 500 rupees ($8.17) each. Single-screen theaters, however, are not planning on raising prices.
Bollywood exhibitors are hoping that “Chennai Express,” co-starring Deepika Padukone, will help bring Hindi cinema out of the doldrums this year. Several expected hits failed to spark at the box office, including “D-Day,” “Ramaiya Vastavaiya” and “Raanjhanaa.” There have also been hits such as “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” and “Yeh jawaani hai deewani.”
There has been an avalanche of publicity for the Rohit Shetty-directed film in the past few weeks.