The euphoria of those with a ticket for the superstar’s First-Day-First-Show, the disappointment and the anger of those without.

It was all there for Kabali , only this time it was pumped up several-fold by the power of social media and unprecedented marketing hype for a Rajinikanth movie.

Apart from the phenomenal star value of Rajinikanth, who is simply referred to as ‘the superstar’, the success of ‘ Kabali’ is also the success of online marketing, feel entertainment industry veterans.

According to a veteran film critic and reviewer, the first-day collections in Tamil Nadu, where it was released in over 550 screens, is an estimated ₹30 crore though others closely associated with the industry peg it much higher.

Corporate involvement

Companies such as AirAsia and Airtel jumped on to the marketing brandwagon, while many others blocked hundreds of tickets for their employees.

Individuals who had booked tickets online found it profitable to sell them at multiple times their value. In Chennai, a ₹120 ticket sold and resold to touch highs of ₹700-1,000 on the eve of the release. Fans thronged cinemas as early as 5 am to watch special shows. How many other movies of this scale have we seen in recent years launched without an audio release function or a press conference by the production house, asked a film critic.

Producer Kalaipuli Thanu and Director Pa Ranjith only tweeted the date of release and social media, print and the electronic media did the rest, he pointed out.

A senior executive from a movie production and distribution company said, Kabali was a movie that was entirely driven by online marketing and social media. “The marketing cost to gross sales may be the lowest” for this film which could turn out to be Rajini’s biggest grosser, he said.

“The movie has set a new benchmark on what can be achieved in terms of ability to sell a movie,” said the executive. Kabali has broken a glass ceiling on the market reach of a Tamil movie, he added.

Diehard fans disappointed

In all this marketing hype, the face of the sidelined traditional fans stood out – Loganathan and scores of others who waited in vain outside Albert Theatre for a special screening of the movie that never happened. “I have tickets for an evening show. But I wanted to watch the first screening,” he said, disappointment writ large.

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