Finally, Vijay’s Sarkar has hit the screens worldwide on Diwali day (November 6) to a great reception. The film opened in many screens in Tamil Nadu from early morning 4 AM, despite a Tamil Nadu government G.O that says shows should start from 9 AM. There were celebrations outside many screens in Tamil Nadu, with throngs of Thalapathy fans making merry.
Tamil Nadu Film Chamber of Commerce president and leading exhibitor and distributor of Sarkar in Chennai city said: “The advance booking has been phenomenal and most of the screens which are releasing it in Chennai city have been sold out till Sunday. I welcome the government decision to allow theatres to screen an extra show of the film, which means we can hold 5 shows daily for a week.”
Till late Monday evening, there was no word from the state government officials on allowing early morning shows. The government G.O clearly indicated that the scheduled shows must be held between 9 AM in the morning and 1.30 AM in the night. Anyway, a few select screens outside of Chennai city areas started early morning shows shrouded in secrecy without opening any online bookings. In most areas outside of Chennai, ticket prices are much more than government stipulated rates.
A theatre in Thanjavur Ranee Paradise had declared on social media, that they will not be screening Sarkar due to pressure from a local distributor to sell the tickets for the first few days at double the normal rate of Rs 100. A trade analyst said: “The distributor of the film has purchased Sarkar for that area (Trichy-Thanjavur) at Rs 9 Crore almost double the price and to recover his amount he has asked the theatres to cough up MG (minimum guarantee) amounts and sell tickets at two to three times normal government approved rates, which is illegal. Most of the tickets for the first day has been priced between Rs 400 to 500.”
Ranee Paradise tweeted: “Since we have not agreed to “Sarkar” Distributor’s condition of selling all tickets in Black for more than Rs.200 for the 1st 2 days, we will not screen Sarkar. We always want to provide good cinema in an Ethical Manner. Actor Vijay should practice what he preaches
Meanwhile, in the US market, the film has taken a very good opening in advance sale of tickets. It looks like Sarkar will easily break the Mersal premiere record of $347k. Sarkar did not have premieres in key overseas markets of Malaysia and UAE, where Vijay rules, as producers wanted to open the film along with Tamil Nadu.
However, Sarkar is facing a major threat from piracy. Tamil Rockers, a piracy site, which has been at loggerheads with Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) has been releasing pirated versions of new big films on its release day. A Tamil Rockers tweet says – Sarkar HD Print Coming. TFPC held a meeting on Monday evening and has asked theatres to deploy four people per screen to monitor during a screening of Sarkar, that no mobile or camera clandestinely records it. TFPC has also urged theatre owners to have cameras with night vision in screens by April 2019, as per government order. Any which way you look, Sarkar, is all set to take a record-breaking opening all over.