‘Golmaal Again’, ‘Mersal’ put up sparkling numbers in Diwali week
New Delhi: The Diwali week brought cheer to the Indian film industry. It turned out to be one of the most impressive runs a festive weekend has had at the Indian box office in recent times.
While director Rohit Shetty’s multi-starrer comedy Golmaal Again became the fastest Rs100 crore earner of the year, minting Rs116.89 crore so far, Tamil film Mersal featuring Vijay grossed about Rs147 crore globally in the opening weekend itself. Aamir Khan’s production, Secret Superstar, though not in the same league, managed Rs34.36 crore. Telugu action comedy Raja The Great also held forth with Rs26 crore in the first three days worldwide.
In comparison, the two big Diwali releases last year—Karan Johar’s romantic drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay—had made only Rs80.19 crore and Rs70.41 crore, respectively, at the end of their first week.
“Diwali witnesses the release of some of the biggest films of the year and the trend continued this time,” said Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer, cinemas, at online ticketing site BookMyShow. “However, this Diwali’s box office collections were significantly higher as compared to some of the previous years since all the films did well at the box office, which is usually not the case.”
Independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai called this one of the best Diwalis ever, thanks to not just the domestic collections of the films but also the overseas earnings of Mersal that made around Rs3.57 crore in Malayasia, Rs13.62 lakh in New Zealand, Rs3.11 crore in the UK and Rs2.07 crore in Australia at last count.
“With this film, Vijay has broken into the overseas market that was previously only dominated by Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan,” Pillai said, adding that the film got off to a flying start in Tamil Nadu from Wednesday itself, which is when the south of India celebrated Diwali. The film that sees Vijay in triple role also benefited from the controversies surrounding its political stance, particularly its criticism of government schemes like the goods and services tax (GST).
“The film released in about 630 screens in Tamil Nadu and was allotted about 6-7 shows daily. Screenings began as early as 4:30am in some cases,” he said.
Up north, while Golmaal Again and Secret Superstar received equal showcasing, to begin with, things soon tilted in favour of the former.
“Secret Superstar is not the typical fun Diwali release,” said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. “It would have worked better as a solo offering on a non-holiday weekend with limited showcasing that allowed for word-of-mouth to spread.”
To be sure, Mohan said that Diwali continues to be the festive weekend movie business in India depends on, and has existed much before occasions like Independence Day, Republic Day and Eid came into vogue. While box office clashes are now common even on regular Fridays, it is only Diwali that can allow multiple offerings, even with average content, to fare well.
“The fact that you still have producers fighting for Diwali slots shows that the charm of the festival remains,” Mohan said. “It is considered a time when families are in the mood to spend and movies figure very high on the checklist. Even if there are competing releases, they are likely to watch one followed by another.”
All figures have been sourced from movie website Bollywood Hungama.