‘Fan’ fails to connect with fans?
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New Delhi: Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Fan has witnessed a considerable drop in its box office collections over the first three days despite recording the highest opening weekend numbers for the year so far. The film, which opened at Rs.19.20 crore on Friday, only notched up Rs.52.35 crore by Sunday, according to movie website Bollywood Hungama.
The numbers pale in comparison to what would ideally be expected of a Shah Rukh Khan-Yash Raj Films (YRF) collaboration, say trade experts. For instance, their last outing, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), netted Rs.80.73 crore in its opening weekend and Rs.120. 85 crore as lifetime business. Further, overseas territories, where Khan is known to reign, have only brought in collections of around Rs.40 crore for the Maneesh Sharma-directed film.
The film’s underwhelming performance could be attributed to a couple of factors.
“Firstly, the much-loved promotional Jabra song not being part of the film was a huge disappointment,” said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. “SRK and Yash Raj are known for their hit songs and even otherwise, any producer today prays for a popular track he can cash in on.”
Mohan added that the dark, unhappy vibe of the film was further amplified by the ending that did not work for die-hard SRK fans who went looking for either an emotional connection with a character that they assumed represented them or at least a depiction of the glamorous lives that stars lead. The absence of a top leading lady was the last straw for audiences, who are used to seeing the superstar romance the likes of Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma.
To be sure, though, the same vibe has worked for some audiences and the film is doing far better at multiplexes than single screens.
“All big films get mixed responses. This one is not a typical masala film and works more like a Hollywood thriller that has been treated very intelligently. In that context, it’s got strong and healthy admissions and reactions,” said Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer, PVR Pictures, and chief of strategy, PVR Ltd. PVR has released the film on 516 screens, or nearly 50% of their inventory.
Another factor eating into the thriller’s business is the unstoppable American live-action fantasy adventure The Jungle Book that crossed the Rs.100 crore mark by its second Sunday (17 April) and has witnessed a consistent rise in shows and collections. The Hollywood film may have released last week in India but reached the US and other foreign territories the same day as Fan, denting collections overseas.
To be sure, there is no doubt about YRF recovering its investment on the film. The total production, print and advertising budget of Rs.105 crore is sure to be recouped through satellite rights (sold to Sony Entertainment Television for around Rs.40-45 crore) and digital innovations for the Jabra fan anthem, besides theatricals.
Industry experts, however, remain divided on the week ahead for the film. Gianchandani expects it to hold strong and have a long box office run. Meanwhile, analyst Mohan estimates the week’s business to fall in the range of Rs.70-75 crore and the film to finally cross the Rs.100 crore mark easily, though it doesn’t seem like much of an achievement anymore.
“I think YRF has experimented a bit too much in the name of good cinema,” he said. “Fans weren’t prepared for this. When they come to theatres for a Shah Rukh Khan film, they want to see him sing songs and romance women. That is what has made him who he is.”