CHENNAI: Rajinikanth-starrer Lingaa’s purported poor show at the suburban box-office has forced distributors and theatre owners to ask for their money back.
A week after the flick hit screens amid heightened hoopla, theatre owners from the Chengalpattu area went to their distributor and demanded compensation for heavy losses suffered. N Abu Thahir, manager at Mannan Films, who allegedly paid a whopping `14 crore for the film’s rights for the Chengalpattu area, said theatre owners witnessed dismal occupancy even during the first week. “They came to my office and asked that we give them some form of compensation. The film had been bought at a very high price, but wasn’t made with that much of a budget, so they’re asking for compensation,” he said. Incidentally, this was the same distributor who had a row with filmmaker Mani Ratnam over distribution losses for Kadal.
Thahir said he assuaged them by promising to speak to Vendhar Films, which had bought the TN distribution rights from Eros International — and had sub-sold it to them. “We will come to a decision after I speak to Madhan of Vendhar Films. Some theatres said they had been seeing only 250-300 seats being occupied,” he added.
Trade sources initially celebrated the fact that Lingaa took a whopping opening on release and grossed `100 crore in three days, but none of these claims have been verified.
Lingaa was purchased by Eros International for `100 crore and sold to smaller distributors at a rumoured ‘double that cost’ price. Though multiplexes and larger corporations snapped up the film, places like Chennai South, Chengalpattu and even Tiruchy had trouble up to 12 hours before its release on December 12. “Theatre owners did not want to take such a huge risk by putting down 70 per cent down payment for the film, so the number came down slightly. But with bad word-of-mouth about the film, the collections have been abysmal for us,” said a theatre owner in Chromepet.