'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.
In an unexpected turn of events in the post-Covid world of cinema, a spectacle film ended up performing below expectations, while a relatively lower budget film scored highly at the box office. Director Vivek Agnihotri's The Kashmir Files, set against the backdrop of the Kashmir Insurgency, is gaining positive word of mouth from the audience – which has led to its weekend collections going to Rs. 27 crores domestically, as per Ormax Media. "The film earned almost five times the amount on Sunday (Rs. 15.5 crores) as compared to its first day of release (Rs. 3.5 crores)," says Gautam Jain, Partner at Ormax Media. "It achieved another rare feat – its earnings on Monday were actually at par with the film's Sunday figures." This implied that there were more footfalls for the film on a Monday than on a weekend, considering the ticket prices across theatres are usually lower on weekdays. "The film is trending similarly to Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019)," adds Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures.
Aditya Dhar's Uri, starring Vicky Kaushal, had seen a similar upsurge three years ago. Made under a budget of Rs. 25 crores, the film had recovered its costs and made profits by its first weekend itself. The Kashmir Files, releasing with negative to mixed reviews, has resonated well with the audience, especially during what has been an intensely political environment in the country. "It comes at a time when there is more than enough discussion, information and perspectives about Kashmir in the public domain," says Gianchandani.
Due to this increase in demand, several multiplexes have been compelled to increase the number of screens in which the film is currently shown. "The number of screens increased from about 700-800 screens at the time of its release to 2000 currently. The film has practically broken the myth that a film requires a wide-scale release to get a decent box office number," says Jain. With the film now trending across social media platforms as well, it is expected to continue faring strongly throughout the course of its first week.
On the other hand, Radha Krishna Kumar's Radhe Shyam, starring Prabhas and Pooja Hegde, has seen a rather disappointing start. Its Hindi-dubbed version grossed approximately Rs. 14 crores over the weekend – which, considering its supremely high budget (over Rs. 300 crores), is a below par figure. Overall, the film grossed Rs. 151 crores (approx.) worldwide, as per figures released from the producers. "The film is doing well in the Telugu-speaking states but has underperformed everywhere else," says Rajkumar Akella, Managing Director, Comscore Theatrical. However, the film saw a drop on Sunday in the Telugu-speaking circuits as well, which is usually considered as a red flag on the third day. It's perhaps worthy to note that Prabhas' earlier release, Saaho (2019), which had also opened to negative to mixed reviews, had fared much better in the Hindi markets, earning Rs. 80 crores approx. in its first three days. "The film got lesser showcasing compared to Saaho. While it had received 10 shows per plex, Radhe Shyam managed only 5 shows on average at plexus," adds Jain.
However, the positive takeaway from its underperformance is that it's unlikely to have an effect on either Prabhas' or any other upcoming big-budget films in general. "By the time Prabhas' next film comes, people would have forgotten about Radhe Shyam," says Akella. "The revenue of his future films will depend on their content."
This week will see the release of Akshay Kumar's Bachchhan Paandey, a remake of the Tamil-language gamechanger, Jigarthanda. While remakes have been the flavour of the season for a while now, it'll be interesting to gauge the audience turnover, especially after a week of interesting outcomes. Numbers do surprise, don't they?