Tamil cinema had quite a turbulent first quarter (Jan to March) with just a handful of successful films and the industry shutdown robbing March of any releases. It took the industry some time to get back on its feet. Going against tradition, there were no new releases on the coveted Tamil New Year (April 14). According to trade pundits, this was turning out to be the industry’s most disastrous year as the lack of releases during the peak summer holiday season leads to a huge loss of revenue.
After the strike was called off, Karthik Subbaraj’s silent thriller Mercury hit theatres on April 20, becoming this year’s first summer release. It also opened the account for the second quarter (April to June). The film did fairly well in Chennai city, grossing close to 2.1 CR, but couldn’t make much of an impact outside urban centres.
Avengers Infinity War (April 27) brought the smiles back to the Tamil Nadu trade, eventually grossing close to 30 CR in the state (with a theatrical share of 14 CR). The film’s Tamil-dubbed version also had a huge release and went on to become a bonafide blockbuster. Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu (May 4) opened the Kollywood Hit count after the strike, grossing close to 18 CR in the state (with a theatrical share of 8.4 CR).
Irumbu Thirai (May 11) gave Vishal his much-needed superhit, grossing around 27 CR in the state (with a theatrical share of 12.5 CR). Even after crossing the 50-day mark, it is still running a few shows across multiplexes. The film’s Telugu-dubbed version, Abhimanyudu, also did roaring business. The total worldwide gross of both versions is close to 60 CR, making it a career best in Vishal’s 14 years of being in the industry.
Arulnithi’s Iravukku Aayiram Kangal (May 11) did decently in Chennai city, grossing close to 1.3 CR. Keerthy Suresh’s memorable Mahanati and its Tamil-dubbed version, Nadigaiyar Thilagam, (May 11) also had a strong run in Chennai city, grossing close to 1.85 CR together. However, neither did as well in the so-called B and C centres.
The most-hyped film of the second quarter was undoubtedly Superstar Rajinikanth’s Kaala. Meant to release on April 27, the film finally opened on June 7 due to the strike and its after-effects. Kaala couldn’t perform in line with expectations and its lifetime TN gross will fall below 60 CR. Even Lingaa, which released in 2014 and wasn’t a successful venture, fared better than Kaala in TN. On a positive note, Kaala has grossed 11.45 CR in Chennai city after 25 days, and is the all-time No.5 grosser in the city. Overall, it has grossed more than 150 CR worldwide.
Jayam Ravi’s space film Tik Tik Tik (June 22) ensured that the industry ended the quarter on a positive note. The film has grossed around 20 CR in TN after 10 days and is drawing in sizable family audiences, thanks to its unique premise.
Among films of other languages, Mahesh Babu’s April 20 release, Bharat Ane Nenu (BAN) went on to have a successful run in TN (it had a Tamil-dubbed version too, released later). In Chennai city, BAN emerged as the all-time highest Telugu grosser, collecting 1.69 CR. Hollywood films Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Deadpool 2 also did well in the state (with Tamil-dubbed versions, as is the norm). Despite opening competition from Kaala, JWFK has now emerged stronger at the box office, grossing 2.24 CR in Chennai city after 25 days.