‘Bharat’ goes the ‘Tubelight’ route

Salman Khan’s latest film isn’t lighting up the box office. Could it spell trouble for the superstar?

Even when a Salman Khan film performs badly, it almost always crosses that coveted ₹100 crore mark other films yearn for. Of course the scale and budget of a Khan film is much larger than most Bollywood releases. Take Tubelight for instance, which is one of Khan’s biggest flops. Made on a reported budget of ₹135 core, it still opened at ₹20.55 crore net and made ₹114.57 crore net. The difference (and more) was made up with the sale of satellite and digital rights.

Star power

This year, Khan’s Eid release, Bharat’s box office collections have disappointed. In two weeks, the film has collected a respectable ₹192.41 crore net on a reported budget of ₹300 crore and a 4,500-screen release. The film opened to a whopping ₹41.75 crore net. “[Bharat] has performed much better than Race 3 , at least opening wise,” says Shailesh Kapoor of Ormax Media, a firm specialising in trade insights. ‘Last year’s Eid release Race 3 was made on a reported budget of ₹185 crore net and opened to ₹27.69 crore net, eventually earning ₹166.85 crore net. “Irrespective of the film not doing well, the film is not going to affect his stardom. Bharat opened well despite a [World Cup] cricket match on the same day,” says Kapoor. “If there was anything to do with his fans or stardom, it would reflect in the opening. The numbers prove that people want to watch a Salman Khan film on the first day.”

Sreedhar Pillai, a trade analyst echoes Kapoor’s sentiments about Khan’s unrelenting stardom. “Every actor goes through these kind of things and we have to wait and watch [for Dabangg 3],” says Pillai. “I think he’s way ahead of SRK and ahead of Aamir Khan at the Indian box office.” But Pillai does agree that Bharat has performed poorly all over India, especially in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala territory where Khan has a huge following. The film has reportedly made just over 50% of what Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) collected in the Southern region. Where the spy action thriller made ₹5 crore net in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Bharat has reportedly made measly ₹3 crore net.

Trouble or triumph

A true Salman Khan hit would be a film that crosses the ₹300 crore mark, like Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015, ₹315.49 crore net), Sultan (2016, ₹300.67 crore net) and Tiger Zinda Hai (₹339 crore net) did. But all three films performed well in both urban multiplexes as well as single screen theatres. Bharat, on the other hand, has not resonated in urban metros. Since single screens these days contribute to a mere 30% of box office collections, these numbers are insufficient to hold a film in good stead. Besides a Khan film performing poorly could spell trouble for the box office this year, which is soon to reach the half-yearly mark at the end of this month.

The most successful film of 2019 so far has been Uri: The Surgical Strike which has collected ₹244 crore net. But there’s still some hope with Akshay Kumar’s Mission Mangal (August), Housefull 4 (October) and Good News (December); Hrithik Roshan’s Fighters (October). The true test of Khan’s box office mettle will be when Dabangg 3 releases in December.

Bharat’s daily earnings


Revenue in ₹crore net

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* All figures courtesy Box Office India

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:33:21 PM |

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