New Delhi: Like every year, the big Diwali weekend at the movies played out amid much fanfare and anticipation. Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM ) and Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay opened to what had long been touted as the biggest box office clash of the year. While Johar’s romantic drama has netted Rs.90.60 crore by its second weekend, Devgn’s action thriller has managed Rs.80.42 crore.
“ADHM had a tremendous week one and we are thankful to audiences for celebrating love this Diwali with this Karan Johar entertainer,” said Vijay Singh, chief executive officer of Fox Star Studios, who distributed the film. “It’s wonderful to have a hit during Diwali and it validates that great love stories are what people want to watch during the festive season.”
The rest of the month wasn’t nearly as eventful for the cash registers though despite the festive Dussehra season. And the only film to hit the mark in the run-up to Diwali was Neeraj Pandey’s sports biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story that spilled over from its late September release. The film has earned Rs.132 crore in box office collections so far.
“The pre-Diwali period is generally low key but even then, this year had quite a few releases lined up unlike earlier when almost no new films were released during this time,” said Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer, Cinemas, BookMyShow. “The fact that M.S. Dhoni and Mirzya released in that phase speaks volumes of the changing times and trends in India. M.S. Dhoni stood out among all pre-Diwali releases simply because it complemented two great Indian passions—movies and cricket.”
To be sure, the same cannot be said of other Hindi releases this month including Prabhu Deva and Sonu Sood’s Tutak Tutak Tutiya, MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart and Sunny Leone-starrer Beiimaan Love that notched up Rs4 crore, Rs8 crore and Rs2 crore, respectively. The biggest blow out of these came from director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s musical Mirzya, starring newcomers Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher, which only managed Rs7 crore at the box office.
“Mirzya not working was quite a big setback,” said Rajendar Singh, vice-president, programming and distribution, INOX Leisure Ltd. “The promos looked good and it brought Mehra back after the success of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag but maybe audiences just didn’t find anything in the film itself.”
It wasn’t a particularly eventful month for Hollywood or regional cinema. While a couple of Bengali movies made some waves during the Durga Puja season followed by Tamil romantic comedy Remo and Mohanlal-starrer Pulimurugan, some foreign cinema just about saved face.
“Inferno was the best Hollywood movie for the month in terms of online ticket sales. The association with Dan Brown’s book series along with Tom Hank’s performance and Irrfan Khan’s presence made this a highly anticipated movie,” Saksena said. “Other movies like Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and The Accountant did well but they had limited releases.”
With Marvel’s superhero film Doctor Strange and animation comedy Trolls already having started the month on a good note, there is much to look forward to in November, industry experts say.
“November promises to be a great month with a big release virtually every week,” Saksena said. “There are plenty of much-awaited sequels—Rock On 2, Force 2, Tum Bin 2 and then Kahaani 2 on 2 December. Dear Zindagi has great buzz going for it already and Hollywood releases are expected to be led by Doctor Strange which has just released with good hype surrounding it.”
All figures in this story have been sourced from movie websites Bollywood Hungama and Box Office India.