Although rare for good movies, it is possible for theatres to be empty. Bad marketing, sensitivity towards the content, low budgets, and, more recently, boycotts are some of the reasons.
Here are some movies which saw empty theatres despite good content.
Deepa Mehta is known for her elements trilogy and the controversy caused by them. Fire attracted hostility from conservative right-wing organizations, which objected to the portrayal of queerness.
Protestors organised protests and attacks on cinemas that screened that film, leading to low audience occupancy and ultimate ban.
After Fire, she carried on with Water. The film faced widespread violent protests even before the shooting began.
The movie explored widows, child marriage, and Varanasi. Hence, the widespread protests lead to empty theatres and low audience occupancy.
3. Jagga Jasoos
The ambitious film that yanked at the box office was Ranbir Kapoor starrer Jagga Jasoos. The film garnered good critics’ reviews of its music and overall story.
However, the length of the movie and the acting performances left audiences bored. Producers lost over 40 crores and the film saw empty theatres
After the highly-anticipated Vijay-starrer Beast was released to disappointing reviews and critical disappointment. At the Amirtharaj Theatre in Virudhunagar for the 7 AM show, the movie saw empty seats and handful of viewers.
விருதுநகர் அமிர்தராஜ் தியேட்டர் காலை 7 மணி ரசிகர்கள் காட்சி 😄😄😄😄😄😄 pic.twitter.com/mwkam7kOUf— Chellapandi Chellapandi (@ChellapandiCh12) April 13, 2022
A video of the screening went viral on Twitter. The video has almost 70K views on Twitter with over a thousand retweets.
The Ram Gopal Verma film received rave reviews from critics for being a true horror that left many sleepless. However, it did not sit well with audiences who were too scared to watch it.
In true RGV fashion, he gave a lucrative challenge to horror movie fans: a $10,000 reward for anyone who can watch the supernatural thriller, alone, in a cinema until the closing credits. Varma said the film fan who steps up to the challenge will be wired up to a heart monitoring machine and camera to ensures they keep their eyes open throughout.
The Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer was released in only 775 screens across India. It did not get enough marketing budget either.
Until the star’s untimely demise, the film did not get its due credit among audiences. A number of theatres pulled the film early due to low audience occupancy.
7. Mad Max: Fury Road
Users on Reddit shared their experience with the film Mad Max: Fury Road.
Although the movie faced critical acclaim but did not perform well at the box office.
8. Laal Singh Chaddha
Aamir Khan’s latest film Laal Singh Chaddha saw a low turnout and canceled shows on the first day. The exhibitors have decided to reduce 1300 shows of the film a few days after on the weekend.
It is reported to be the lowest opening that an Aamir Khan movie has seen in the past 13 years. The movie is good independently but does not live up to Forest Gump.
9. Laal Kaptaan
Laal Kaptaan, starring Saif Ali Khan as a Naga sadhu, failed to attract audiences. The revenge thriller failed to be a crowd-puller.
After the first day, the film saw empty theatres and low audience occupancy.
Another stellar film that got nil marketing and only 500 screens across India is Tumbbad.
The film received critical and audience acclaim after its release on OTT. Now, it is a cult horror movie that saw empty theatres.
The most recent victim of boycott culture is Anurag Kashyap’s Dobaara. Although the movie received rave reviews from critics, audience reviews left little to expect. The film failed to generate curiosity, had terrible marketing and divided the masses due to the lead actor and director’s views.
A number of morning shows got reportedly cancelled on the first day. The audience occupancy ranged from 2-3%.
The box office is an unpredictable business!