If there’s one thing we know for sure about Pakistani cinema’s new wave, it is that Eid releases make the big bucks. Every single year since the revival in 2013, the highest grossing domestic films of the year have been released on Eid. There have been a few exceptions like the wildly successful “Teefa in Trouble” and “The Donkey King”. However, the highest probability of scoring a super hit still rests on either of the two Eids. Hence, there is always a dangal around that time. Films often compete for screens, and for rupees on the domestic and international circuit and the same trend is set to repeat in 2020.
A large number of films are confirmed or rumored for Eid-ul-fitr release next year.
- ARY is planning to release “Tich Button” starring Iman Ali, Gohar Rasheed, Feroze Khan and Urwa Hocane.
- HUM Films and Eveready Pictures are planning to release “Pardey Mein Rehnay Do” starring Ahsan Khan.
- IMGC has taken on Sarmad Sultan Khoosat’s “Kamli” starring Saba Qamar, Naseem Vicky’s directorial debut “Sorry Baba”, as well as Wajahat Rauf’s next venture.
- Other films that haven’t locked the distributor but are being said to release on Eid-ul-fitr include Yasir Nawaz’s next film starring Feroze and Mawra Hocane, “Half Fry” starring Yasir Hussain and Iqra Aziz, “Lafangey” starring Sami Khan, and “Money Back Guarantee” starring Fawad Khan and Mikal Zulfiqar. Rumors in trade also suggest that “The Legend of Maula Jatt” may also be gearing up for an Eid release.
Next year, Bollywood films will not be gracing local cinemas due to tense political relations. This gives Pakistani films more room to share screens. Less competition means that Pakistani cinema will have more room to grow and to experiment. It means that Eid will not be the only opportunity to achieve super hit status. This is an opportunity for Pakistani filmmakers to up their game. It’s also an opportunity to bring audiences back throughout the year and stop the fight for an Eid slot.
Unfortunately, 2019 has not been a great year for Pakistani cinema. Despite the Bollywood ban, Pakistan failed to deliver a blockbuster. Theaters lately recorded below-average footfalls and no films drummed up record numbers with the exception of “Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw”, and “Avengers: Endgame”. Even the Eid releases this year have not pushed beyond the 30 Cr barrier.
This is why the Eid fight may be more intense in 2020. 2019 has seen numerous losses for cinemas and they’ve become stingier about giving screens to independent features. Studios and distributors will be battling it out to release only those films on Eid that will profit the most. Moreover, major Hollywood summer blockbuster releases often collide with Eid. In 2018, the release of ‘Jurassic World’ swallowed up a major chunk of the Pakistani box office. In 2020, ‘Fast and Furious 9’ threatens to do the same. This further reduces the return on investment of securing an Eid release.
2020 is the year that Pakistani cinema can bounce back. Humayun Saeed is planning a new release which bodes well since he’s been delivering consecutive blockbusters. Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza are planning to release two films next year as well. If we’re lucky, “The Legend of Maula Jatt” may well FINALLY come out in 2020. It could be a really big year for Pakistani cinema. However, if smaller films are to succeed as well as large films, we’ll have to stop fighting over Eid.