‘Inside The Box’ is a series in which we will take a deeper-dive into the Box Office collections and web numbers of major films released across India.
What was supposed to be an interesting weekend at the box office turned out to be a lackluster one as both the big releases last week, Ajay Devgn’s third directorial Runway 34 and Tiger Shroff starrer Heropanti 2, performed rather dismally at the box office. While Heropanti 2 earned Rs. 14.5 crores nett over its first three days, Runway 34 collected Rs. 13 crores, as per Ormax Media.
Now this is disappointing for several reasons. Hindi films, in general, haven’t seen too many clashes since the theatres reopened nationwide in October 2021. The last clash of sorts was between Antim, which featured a special appearance by Salman Khan, and Satyameva Jayate 2, which featured three John Abrahams. The results? Pretty similar, to be honest. However, this time around, the results were supposed to be different with the audiences now coming to the theatres in full swing. “While both films have drawn some audiences, their performances, at the end of the day, have been disappointing. The collections are expected to die down post the Eid holidays,” says entertainment tracker Sreedhar Pillai. “Of the two, however, Runway 34 still has a better chance of surviving.”
How, you may ask? Because while Heropanti 2 has earned slightly more than the Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan starrer, its collection has seen a steady fall over Saturday and Sunday, which ultimately, isn’t a good sign going into the holiday period. “Heropanti 2 had block bookings in multiplexes, however that did not help in changing the audience perception for the film,” says Gautam Jain, Partner at Ormax. Runway 34, on the other hand, despite having a smaller opening, has seen an upward trajectory over both days. “The film has managed to find appreciation amongst audiences in metros and high-end multiplexes,” adds Jain.
The biggest problem seems to be the lack of opening numbers for big-ticket Hindi cinema. While the post-pandemic era has seen successes in Sooryavanshi, Gangubai Kathiawadi and The Kashmir Files, only the Akshay Kumar starrer managed to get solid opening figures (Rs. 77 crores nett) to its credit. That’s also why the numbers of Heropanti 2 and Runway 34 would perhaps pinch more. Take this: Shroff’s last release, Baaghi 3 (2020), released just before the pandemic hit the country, earned Rs. 17.5 crores on its opening day – more than Heropanti 2’s three-day performance. “The weekend is lower than even Heropanti, which had collected Rs. 21 crores back in 2014,” says Jain. Devgn’s Tanhaji (2020), on the other hand, was the highest grossing Bollywood film that year.
On the other hand, pan-India films made in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages have struck a chord bigger than ever with the masses. The back-to-back successes of SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Prashanth Neel’s KGF: Chapter 2 are testimonies enough. In fact, KGF: Chapter 2, which was in its third weekend at the box office, earned Rs. 20 crores nett in its Hindi version alone, according to Box Office India – thereby, remaining the first choice for cinegoers in the country. With Eid celebrations coming up, the film is only expected to earn higher in the coming days. “The crowd is expected to be huge, and their first preference would be KGF: Chapter 2 because they’ve heard so much about it,” says Pillai.
In fact, it won’t be surprising if the film’s Hindi-dubbed version, currently at Rs. 361 crores nett, surpassed Dangal’s lifetime earnings of Rs. 375 crores by the end of the ongoing week, becoming the second highest grossing Hindi film of all time after Baahubali 2.