New Delhi: Sony Pictures Entertainment India’s comedy drama 102 Not Out has clearly fizzled out at the China box office. The Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor-starrer had made $3.56 million ( ₹ 25.06 crore) at last count in the neighbouring country. However, the film had emerged as a sleeper hit upon its release in India earlier this year, clocking ₹ 51.77 crore in domestic collections according to trade website Box Office India.
The other disappointment in China this year was India’s blockbuster war epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion that only made about $11.9 million ( ₹ 80 crore). These may be decent numbers in themselves but unimpressive considering the benchmark set by Bollywood films in the neighbouring country. To be sure, the success story in China, so far, has been driven single-handedly by Aamir Khan-starrers. While his sports drama Dangal, currently the highest-grossing Indian film in China, had made close to ₹ 1,200 crore, his musical production Secret Superstar earned around ₹ 760 crore. Other superhits include PK ( ₹ 123 crore) and 3 Idiots ( ₹ 16 crore), which Khan had promoted in the country personally.
“After a lacklustre opening weekend, 102 Not Out plummets in China.
Surprisingly, the strong-in-content film isn’t delivering at the ticket windows," trade analyst Taran Adarsh had tweeted.
The humongous screen count is an important factor for Indian films to have set the cash registers ringing in China, according to industry experts. The country almost quadrupled its screen count in the last few years, from around 10,000. India, on the other hand, works with 9,000-odd cinemas divided between single screens and multiplexes.
The second big factor contributing to the sky-high collections is the difference in ticket rates. The average ticket price in China is $12 compared with India’s $1.5. But most importantly, Indian stories with their strong emotional connect have resonated with Chinese audiences, who are used to either Hollywood spectacles or Chinese mythologies and fantasies. Be it Dangal with its women empowerment theme or Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which is a human tale, subjects that worked in the country were always been high on realism and emotion.
To be sure, Bollywood is not giving up on the market so soon. While Akshay Kumar’s PadMan directed by R. Balki is scheduled for release on 14 December, Yash Raj Films is taking its action adventure Thugs of Hindostan to the country on 28 December despite its failure in India.
“China, as a film market, is akin to the goose that lays golden eggs, but you cannot expect every Indian film to strike gold at the China box office. While 102 Not Out has fizzled out, hopes are pinned on the next two Hindi releases: PadMan and Thugs of Hindostan," Adarsh tweeted.