Project Ghazi's abrupt postponement has caused quite a stir, not just among audiences but also among cinema owners.
On Thursday night, Project Ghazi premiered at Nueplex to much fanfare, touted as Pakistan's first superhero film and amassed quite a crowd. However, twenty minutes into the film, Humayun Saeed walked out and the rest of the cast followed suit.
Later that night, Project Ghazi's Facebook page announced that the film's release date has been postponed.
"When I saw the movie last night, it was obvious that it was incomplete," Humayun told Images Friday morning. "I couldn't let this be the final product of Project Ghazi. The audience couldn't be shown this. I did make some calls to stop the film. I think the film needs a good four to six months in post production to be a good release."
But the aftermath of this decision also affects cinemas - directly. So, Images got in touch with Cinepax, Karachi and Nueplex about how this decision impacts them.
"We updated our website as soon as we found out," said Kamran Yar Khan of Nueplex. However, they were not informed of the film's delay.
He told us, "I saw Project Ghazi's Facebook post at 1am that the release date has been pushed back. I called the distributor and she confirmed the news to me."
"Pulling a film after a premiere is unheard of, they [the filmmakers] shouldn't have premiered it," opines Kamran.
As soon as the news broke customers who had pre-booked tickets for the film were annoyed, but the cinema had that covered. "[In such cases] as per our policy, we give the customers the option to get a refund or exchange the ticket with another film. Of course, we received numerous complaints after Project Ghazi was postponed. Our phone line has been ringing non-stop since last night."
"It's very rare that release dates get postponed, it has usually been the case with Hollywood films, but a first for a local film," added Kamran.
"It's an unfortunate position for a cinema, it's regretful. The producers and distributors don't understand that we, the cinemas, have to face the customers. We deal with them directly and get caught in the middle."
Kamran is baffled and vexed by the delay of the film. "Pulling a film after a premiere is unheard of, especially after a successful premiere (in terms of crowd). They [the filmmakers] shouldn't have premiered it. There is no precedent for such an incident; this has never happened before."
Mohsin Yaseen of Cinepax, on the other hand, was amused by Project Ghazi's release date being pushed back and expressed his delight at the news.
"The filmmakers made the right decision. I have never seen such a bad film in my life," chuckled Mohsin.
"I found out about the news through Project Ghazi's Facebook announcement," he told us. Following the news, Cinepax decided to allot the film's screenings to Eid releases Mehrunisa V Lub U and Yalghaar.
"I thought the filmmakers made the right decision. I saw the film the morning before the premiere and I have never seen such a bad film in my life," chuckled Mohsin.
Like Nueplex, Cinepax also offered refunds and/ ticket exchange to customers who had bought tickets to Project Ghazi.
"We sold tickets worth a total of Rs. 150,000, which wasn't much. We told the customers that the film is not complete there are technical issues, we're sorry and here is your money back, or they exchanged the ticket."
"I'm happy [the film has been delayed], now people will see a different film altogether," he added. "I haven't faced any issues after this decision came about. I am happy that a film which is incomplete and is technically not sound has been cancelled. When the filmmakers previewed the film at the premiere they knew it was not complete. It's a good and wise decision because the public would've rejected it."
Mohsin agreed with Kamran that this is the first time such an incident has happened and he doesn't see "the film releasing in the near future. I see at least theee more months' worth of work needed."
While he feels this doesn't necessarily affect cinemas, he does have a message for filmmakers and producers.
"Please see the film and make the necessary changes to it. The people behind Project Ghazi woke up after the premiere and realised that they've missed details in the film. I want to be really harsh but I will restrict my comments to myself."