New Delhi: In a month riddled with chaos over elections in key markets like Uttar Pradesh, the movie business witnessed highs and lows in equal measure. Good news came from the ever-dependable Akshay Kumar whose satirical comedy Jolly LLB 2 crossed the Rs100 crore mark, making Rs110. 71 crore in three weeks, emerging as the actor’s fifth hit in a row after Rustom, Housefull 3, Airlift and Singh Is Bliing.
“We are thrilled and humbled with the response that Jolly LLB 2 has got from audiences,” said Vijay Singh, chief executive officer, Fox Star Studios, producers of the courtroom drama. “The success of the film shows the strength of the franchise and director Subhash Kapoor’s brilliant script reinforces that audiences will embrace good content always.”
Bilingual war film The Ghazi Attack (Ghazi in Telugu) also managed about Rs15.05 crore, thanks to the traction distributor Karan Johar got in the north Indian market. The big blow, however, was not too far behind with the almost-instant disapproval to the other big Bollywood offering for the month—director Vishal Bhardwaj’s period romance Rangoon that earned only Rs20.57 crore in its first five days of release. Trade experts say the Rs70-80 crore film that oscillated between being a love story and a war drama is all set to lose at least Rs40 crore for producers Viacom18 Motion Pictures.
“It’s sad that people have not flocked to theatres despite big names in the cast and the reputation that Vishal Bhardwaj has for making meaningful cinema,” said film trade and business expert Girish Johar. “Neither the story nor songs have attracted any attention.”
Other Hindi movies like romantic comedy Running Shaadi didn’t make noise either, netting about Rs95 lakh in lifetime box office collections. While no regional films made a mark, the bunch of Oscar-nominated Hollywood films also managed limited draw. Acclaimed American dramas, including Hidden Figures, Silence and Moonlight, each netted less than Rs50 lakh over the opening weekend.
“Oscar films have a very limited and niche market in India,” said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. “Only Lion did decently well in certain premium multiplexes of Delhi and Mumbai. But that is hardly enough to be called a success story.”
However, the coming month may start on a slightly tepid note with only action film Commando 2: The Black Money Trail on offer this week, but there is much to look forward to later. The first big source of excitement is Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania that, trade experts say, should appeal to youngsters. Then, Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh’s Phillauri, whose Punjabi male lead should ensure great draw at least in north India. There is also Naam Shabana, an action spy thriller supposed to be a prequel to Akshay Kumar’s 2015 hit Baby.
“It seems like a decent month. Despite exams and the ongoing India vs Australia Test series, I don’t think attention will be taken away from the movies, especially considering they depend mostly on evening shows now for revenue,” Mohan said.
All figures have been sourced from movie website Bollywood Hungama