Director Sriram Raghavan’s black comedy thriller Andhadhun has surpassed expectations, inching towards the ₹100 crore mark in China. Starting last Wednesday, the film enjoyed an extended opening weekend, having made $ 13.72 million ( ₹95.38 crore) at last count.
“Andhadhun embarks on a fantastic start in China. A mid-week release, it neared $ 6.5 million, till Friday which is remarkable," tweeted trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
This is the first China release for director Raghavan and lead actor Ayushmann Khurrana. The film co-starring Tabu and Radhika Apte had made ₹73.37 crore on its release in India last October.
Trade website Box Office India said the film was sold for a minimum guarantee of $800,000 which means the Chinese distributors will earn big and the makers will get also make returns. The film is certain to be among the top five Indian films in China and a realistic target for the first week should be around $20 million.
To be sure, Andhadhun seems to have broken the jinx that Bollywood was reeling under in China of late. In the past few months, Indian films haven’t really had the best run in the country though the market had emerged as a goldmine in the past few years. Yash Raj Films’ action adventure Thugs of Hindostan only managed $ 4.71 million ( ₹32.93 crore) over its opening weekend while Akshay Kumar’s biographical drama Padman registered an unimpressive total of $3.55 million (Rs. 25.54 crore). Comedy drama 102 Not Out made $3.56 million ( ₹25.06 crore) in the neighbouring country while India’s blockbuster war epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion too had only managed about $11.9 million ( ₹80 crore).
The success story in China, so far, has been majorly driven by Aamir Khan-starrers. While his sports drama Dangal is currently the highest-grossing Indian film in China, making 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). Trade experts are currently tracking Andhadhun on the lines of Hindi Medium that had earned $33 million in China, however its opening weekend was higher ($21 million).
The massive screen count is an important factor for Indian films to have managed such impressive theatrical returns in China. The country almost quadrupled its screen count in the last few years, from around 10,000. India, on the other hand, works with 9,600-odd cinemas divided between single screens and multiplexes.
Then there 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 chord have resonated with Chinese audiences, who are used to either Hollywood spectacles or Chinese mythologies and fantasies.