'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.
Just the way Rocky (Yash in the KGF franchise) cannot avoid violence because it seems to like him, KGF: Chapter 2 cannot avoid the herculean numbers coming its way because clearly, the audience likes it. Recording an incredibly successful opening weekend at the box office, the Kannada film is tearing up the history books, having collected a massive Rs. 546 crores gross globally in its first four days.
Domestically alone, the film has earned a whopping Rs. 443 crores (approx.), surpassing SS Rajamouli's RRR's four-day collections of Rs. 440 crores. This means that the film is now only second to Baahubali 2 – the all-time chart-topper thus far in terms of numbers – post its extended weekend. Not only that, the worldwide box office charts for the weekend of April 14-17 released by Comscore suggests that the film was also the most-watched Indian movie in the world during that period, with it securing the second position just behind Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore. "KGF: Chapter 2 opened to full houses, aided by its strong brand value, the exceptional response to the teaser and trailer as well as multiple holidays over the extended weekend," says Gautam Jain, Partner at Ormax Media.
One of the most-awaited films of the year, especially after the humungous success of KGF: Chapter 1 (2018), a pan-India outcome was always an expectation. However, the reality has turned out to be even better for all the film's shareholders. Take its Hindi dubbed version, for instance. It collected Rs. 190 crores nett till Sunday – crossing Baahubali 2's four-day earnings of Rs. 128 crores by a distance. "The Hindi version is a resounding success and is creating box office milestones that we think will be difficult to beat in the near term," says Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures.
When the prequel had released four years back, it faced stiff competition in the Hindi markets as it clashed with Zero in its first week and Simmba in its second. Either way, it managed to collect lifetime earnings of Rs. 40 crores. What did the sequel do, you ask? "With an opening day of 52 crores, KGF: Chapter 2 managed to collect more than the lifetime earnings of its predecessor within its first day," reveals Jain. The film has performed exceptionally well in the East Punjab and Delhi circuits, setting new records. What's surprising is the way its other dubbed versions are performing too." While the Telugu version was expected to open well, even the Malayalam and Tamil versions recorded opening and weekends at par with the biggest films from those languages," says Jain. Such has been its domination that it has gone beyond the IMAX weekend earnings of Spider Man: No Way Home, recording an all-time highest number of Rs. 5.81 crores domestically, as per Comscore.
But how does a film earn so much? How can this all-India, mass hysteria of sorts be defined, especially with the back-to-back outcomes of RRR, KGF 2 and previously, Pushpa? To put it simply, it all lies in the timing of it all. "All-India audiences are looking for a massy film," explains entertainment tracker Sreedhar Pillai. A large part of the audience in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities missed the hardcore masala cinema that Bollywood once produced in large numbers. "Over the last 10 years, they limited catering to that crowd. The focus shifted to stylish filmmaking and competing with the likes of Hollywood. That's where South Indian cinema entered, dubbed into Hindi, providing them just that." The popularity of stars like Allu Arjun and Prabhas grew further with these dubbed versions finding immense footing through satellite television. Similarly, KGF 2, with its scale, localised content and punchline-filled dialogues appealed to the audience looking for sheer entertainment.
With the way the film is going, not only is it expected to become the highest-grossing Kannada language film, but it is also set to disrupt the Rajamouli domination in the all-time grossers list. "Looking at the weekend growth as well as its strong hold on Monday, it is certain to go ahead of RRR over its lifetime," says Jain.
Even as superstar Vijay's Beast opened largely to mixed to negative reports, the film managed to get the job done at the box office, grossing the Rs. 200 crore margin worldwide after its first five days. "While Beast opened well, especially in Tamil Nadu to a first day gross of Rs. 35 crores, the performance was not as good as previous Vijay starrers. The Hindi version of the film failed to perform, collecting a low Rs. 0.5 crores nett on its first day," says Jain.
While the Vijay starrer didn't manage to attract a pan-India audience, it has found success in Tamil Nadu – its key market, earning a record Rs. 96 crores gross in its first five days. "The film is a big hit only in Tamil Nadu, where the film's origin is from. Vijay is a major star, arguably the biggest in Tamil cinema, which is why the film got that opening despite negative reports," says Pillai. It's worthy to note that the film, in terms of its target audience, always maintained that it was catered to its local audience. "Vijay himself has said that it's a dubbed film and he never specifically made it for a pan-India audience. The taste, the dialogues, the concept is meant for the Tamil-speaking audiences," explains Pillai.
However, the film did see a dip in terms of numbers over Saturday and Sunday specifically – and KGF Chapter 2's growing popularity had a role to play in it. The film lost many screens to the Prashanth Neel film from the second day onwards, which went on to score better in the Karnataka and Kerala markets. In Tamil Nadu too, KGF 2 was seen giving a stiff competition to the film – a first for a Tamil dubbed version of a Kannada film.
Looking at the current ongoings at the box office, it's going to be hard for the upcoming Jersey, starring Shahid Kapoor, to make a mark, especially with KGF 2's mercurial run. Will the many delays of the film be worth it? Only time will tell.