New Delhi: For a year littered with box office disappointments, much needed respite came right at the end. The month of December, trade experts say, was just the right note to bid 2017 goodbye, as far as movies were concerned.
“That was all thanks to Fukrey Returns, easily the most profitable film of the year and of course Tiger Zinda Hai, the highest grossing Hindi film," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema.
However, had it not been for the Rs500 crore-plus domestic collections of Tamil-Telugu war epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, it would have been hard for the year to save face at all, Mohan said.
Fukrey Returns, a multi-starrer comedy and a sequel to the 2013 hit Fukrey, earned about Rs78.84 crore, more than doubling its Rs30 crore budget. The Salman Khan-starrer directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, on the other hand, made Rs272.79 crore at last count and is still running in theatres.
“The lack of film releases really helped Fukrey Returns bloom. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time," said film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar. “Tiger Zinda Hai, of course, ticked all the boxes that Salman Khan fans would expect. With hardcore action, songs and good mounting, it was right up his alley, especially after the failure of Tubelight."
Other Hindi films of the month didn’t exactly set the box office on fire. Offerings like Tera Intezaar, starring Arbaaz Khan and Sunny Leone, Kapil Sharma’s period action comedy Firangi, suspense thriller Game Over and Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Monsoon Shootout only made Rs1.95 crore, Rs10.27 crore, Rs0.03 crore and Rs0.6 crore, respectively.
Johar added it wasn’t a particularly good month for Hollywood movies in India either. Though there were a couple of pleasant surprises, the one big-ticket release, epic space opera film Star Wars: The Last Jedi ended at Rs11.6 crore, while fantasy action adventure comedy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has opened only last weekend at Rs21.84 crore. 3D animation comedy Coco managed about Rs4 crore.
The only regional film to make a mark this month was Telugu romantic drama MCA- Middle Class Abbai, starring Nani and Sai Pallavi, Mohan said.
To be sure, there’s much to look forward to next month. While the first week of the new year is generally considered unlucky for film business, competition starts to heat up in the middle of the month. Saif Ali Khan-starrer Kaalakaandi is up first along with Anurag Kashyap-directed Mukkabaaz. A release date for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama Padmavati should also be announced as soon as there is clarity with the censor board.
“The Republic Day weekend is the first big holiday of the year. With Akshay Kumar’s Padman and Neeraj Pandey’s thriller Aiyyary, it should be very exciting," Mohan said.
All figures have been sourced from movie website Bollywood Hungama