Mumbai: Security, not entertainment, is priority say Bollywood trade experts who also feel that collections of 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' and Harry Potter's last edition might pick up later.

Bollywood is bracing itself for the aftermath of Wednesday's triple blasts. And going by the apprehensions of trade analysts, distributors and exhibitors, the opening of this weekend's two big releases, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2’, is likely to be affected.

Also, since Mumbai contributes to a considerable chunk of the collections, the trade is hopeful that Saturday-Sunday will see enough recovery of the probably slow on Friday.

Asserting that both, ZNMD and Potter will be affected, trade analyst, Komal Nahta observes that entertainment has gone down on the priority list and security has come right on top.

"So it all depends on how the mood is on Friday, how much tension is there in the air. Nonetheless, it will have some effect, about 20 to 25 percent," he points out.

Safety first

In the same vein, Bollywood trade commentator, Taran Adarsh says entertainment is certainly not on anyone's mind when something like this happens.

However, he feels that by today evening or Saturday, things should be back to normal. "Block bookings for ZNMD are amazing and Potter has its own audience," he says, maintaining that the films won't suffer outside Mumbai.

Like the trade experts, the exhibitors too don't seem to be cocksure of a great opening. Ashish Saksena, COO, Big Cinemas concedes the advance bookings are a bit slow, but is quick to add that collections will pick up soon.

"There will be some effect, though there's tremendous buzz for both films. It's a big weekend as Delhi Belly and Murder 2 are running very well, too," he says, adding, "The police have issued a statement saying the situation is under control." Besides, all multiplex chains have enhanced security measures following the instructions by the police.

Pointing out that the collections from Mumbai amount to about 40 percent of the total collections across India, Deepak Sharma of PVR maintains, "Mumbai certainly makes a major difference in the figures. While both the films are looking very good for multiplexes in India, those in Mumbai will be affected, resulting a dent in opening figures."

Movie producer and distributor Sunil Bohra, too, pegs the percentage of difference to 20-25 percent as he says, "Once the fear seeps into the minds of audience it takes at least 15 days for it to get over. However, only Mumbai will be affected and not the rest of India."

The fear psychosis affected occupancy even on Wednesday evening, as Manoj Desai, executive director of Maratha Mandir and G7 Cineplex reveals that people started walking out of the 6 pm show of Murder 2. "People were getting calls and messages informing them about the blasts.

They were walking out in the middle of the show," he says, adding that Thursday saw reasonable occupancy. "The advance bookings were good in the beginning, but they slowed down after the blasts," he says.

Producers optimistic

Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment, producers of ZNMD, asserts that he's not thinking about the impact of the blasts on the business of his movie.

"We've seen Mumbai bounce back every time, so I hope the city is going to recover again," he says, insisting that they have a very good advance booking.

Whatever happened is very sad. Our hearts go out to the people," says Nandu Ahuja, of Eros International, that is distributing ZNMD.

"The kind of advance and block bookings done, there's a demand for tickets. Even the window-bookings is good. Patrons who have bought the tickets, will surely come to see the film," he concludes.

Temporary truce for Potter

There is some good news for Harry Potter fans. The final installment of the franchise is releasing all over India today amid reports of a deadlock between the producers, Warner Bros Pictures, and multiplex owners over revenue sharing.

Apparently, with time running out and no consensus reached, both parties agreed to go ahead with the release of the movie.

"In partnership with every one of our cinema partners right across India, we'll be releasing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," says Denzil Dias, deputy managing director (Theatrical), Warner Bros Pictures, India.

 A source adds, "The terms will be finalised within four weeks and the collections will be split up accordingly."

However, both WB and the multiplexes lost on making the most from paid previews as a majority of them, scheduled for Thursday night, were called off due to their stand-off.

Total Recall

The movies that were affected due to 26/11 Terror attacks:

Dostana (November 14)

Though it released before the attacks, the producers claimed insurance for loss of profit as they felt collections had suffered later.

Oye Lucky Lucky Oye (November 28)

The film had created a good buzz but it was the worst hit by the blasts because it released immediately after the strike.

Sorry Bhai (November 28)

There weren't great expectations from the film but the blasts ruined whatever little chances it had at the box office.