After a successful week at the box office with the big-ticket releases of Gangubai Kathiawadi, Valimai and Bheemla Nayak, it was time for the theatres to pave the way for two more prominent releases – Nagraj Manjule’s Jhund, starring Amitabh Bachchan, and Matt Reeves’ The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson. However, unlike the earlier week where the viewers lapped up all the releases that came by, this week saw a more lopsided outcome.
The Batman, released on Thursday, earned Rs. 21.50 crore nett over its first four days, as per Ormax Media, to clock a decent start. Released across 1800 screens in the country, the film opened to mixed to positive reviews. Not quite the quintessential Batman movie, with its premise being darker and longer this time around, the film managed to capitalize well on its release across the 21 IMAX properties in the country with approximately 20% of its earnings came from there alone. “It did phenomenal business in the IMAX screens alone,” says entertainment tracker Sreedhar Pillai. “In Chennai, for example, there are two IMAX screens where five shows per day were allowed. The Batman is a long film spanning almost three hours and yet it went houseful.”
The recall value of a franchise like Batman is one of the key reasons for the film’s performance. Even though it didn’t see a substantial growth between Saturday and Sunday, it didn’t see a decline either, and emerged as the first-choice content among the latest films in the offing in the theatres. The Batman and DC fanbase, spanning generations, makes films based on the popular superhero attractive to not only the younger audiences but also to the viewers belonging to a variety of age groups.
However, the DC film didn’t manage to set any box office benchmarks, unlike Marvel’s previous blockbuster, Spiderman: No Way Home – one of the biggest hits of 2021 in the Indian market. The reason for this is believed to be the franchise’s limited marketability in the South. “The previous installments of the film were not dubbed in any other Indian languages other than Hindi, restricting its popularity in the Southern markets,” says Gautam Jain, Partner at Ormax Media. “The Batman, too, wasn’t dubbed in Tamil or Telugu, leading to lesser contribution from those markets as compared to the MCU films.”
Nagraj Manjule’s Jhund, starring Amitabh Bachchan as a football coach who empowers slum kids through the power of sport, did not perform as per expectations, yielding in Rs. 4.50 crore nett over its first three days, according to Ormax Media. Opening at a dull Rs. 1 crore on Day 1, the film did manage to grow by a slight margin over the weekend, but failed to witness a big jump that would’ve been its key for survival. “The film should have shown higher growth on Saturday and Sunday but the audience likeability was not as desired to drive this growth,” explains Jain.
Opening to mixed reviews across the country, the film’s major collections so far have been driven by Maharashtra – a state that has a good amount of fan following for Manjule’s cinema. His earlier work, including Marathi-language films like Fandry (2013) and Sairat (2016), were superhits at the box office. His Hindi film debut, however, has lacked the appeal.
Bachchan’s presence in the film, too, didn’t help the film’s performance. This is also because while he is undoubtedly a superstar, his star power alone doesn’t warranty grand opening numbers as high as his younger counterparts. The story’s major focus centering upon Maharashtra too, has played a role in it losing a connect with northern regions.
Interestingly enough, the interest levels among the audience continue to slide towards Alia Bhatt starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi, which is now nearing Rs. 100 crore domestically. Between last Friday to Sunday alone – its second weekend – the film has earned Rs. 22 crores (approx..) as per Box Office India, making it fare better than both the latest releases. Happy Women’s Day indeed.