‘Dangal’ grips China, total earnings may surpass India collections
New Delhi: Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal wrapped up its 10-day box office run in China with a massive $59.74 million (Rs382.69 crore). At this rate, the film, released in about 9,000 cinemas across the neighbouring country, may soon surpass its lifetime collections of Rs387.38 crore in India.
Earlier last week, the all-time blockbuster had emerged as the highest-grossing Indian film in China, overtaking the record previously held by the actor’s own 2014 release PK, which made Rs123 crore in the country. Indian films that have made a mark in China, apart from PK, include Khan’s 3 Idiots and Dhoom 3, which earned Rs16 crore and Rs24 crore, respectively. S.S. Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Beginning managed about Rs7 crore from close to 6,000 screens. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion hasn’t released in China yet.
Dangal, which opened in China on 4 May, earned $2.27 million (Rs14.67 crore) on the first day itself. On the sixth day in Chinese theatres, the Nitesh Tiwari-directed wrestling drama also beat the collections of American superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, making $3.91 million compared to the Hollywood flick’s $3.5 million.
The one big factor for the possible trump over India collections may be the difference in ticket rates.
“The total number of people watching Dangal in China would be much less than India,” said Utpal Acharya, founder of film production, distribution and marketing company Indian Film Studios. “But the average ticket price in China is $12 compared to $1.5 in India.”
There is, of course, the basic connect the plot has made with Chinese audiences who have, till now, been more used to Hollywood spectacles and action fare apart from local content.
“The idea of two female underdogs winning accolades for the country has resonated very easily with Chinese audiences,” said film trade and business expert Girish Johar.
There are lessons to be learnt for the Indian movie business from this. China, the second-largest movie market after the US, offers nearly 27,000-28,000 theatres and a Bollywood film typically releases in 4,500-5,500 screens. In India, too, the widest possible release a film can get is 4,500-5,500 screens out of the 8,000-9,000 screens. PK was released in about 4,000 screens, while Dangal managed 9,000, nearly double its India screen count.
“Compare these figures with what Dangal made in India and you will realise the kind of revenue the film missed out on,” Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema, wrote in a recent article on the contribution of overseas territories to the Indian movie business. “Imagine the difference it would make to the revenues of Indian films from the domestic theatrical sector itself if screen density in India matches Chinese proportions.”
All figures in the story have been sourced from movie website Bollywood Hungama.