With both Salman Khan starrers Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (PRDP) and Bajrangi Bhaijan box office collections turning into mega successes in 2015 with Rs 200 cr (so far) and Rs 320.34 crore (domestic and international markets), the question that these humongous numbers are giving rise to is, are the Rs 200 crore and Rs 300 crore clubs passe and we should now increasingly expect to see the emergence of the Rs 400 crore club?
As 2015 comes to a close, it is surely time to take stock and begin looking at the prospects for 2016 and thereafter. All this talk may have got you all excited, but sad to say, we must pour cold water over your thought processes and say ‘No’. As a matter of fact one can’t bet that for any film till at least the end of 2016 and perhaps well into 2017 and here are some reasons why.
The business of films is growing for sure with Aamir Khan’s PK and Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan box office collections making over Rs 300 crore within 8 months of each other. Then there is Prem Ratan Dhan Payo which is set to cross the Rs 200 crore mark. If not for the clash, both Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale and Deepika Padukone’s Bajirao Mastani could have comfortably crossed this mark solely on the basis of their opening weekend. Now, it would be the differentiated content that would do the talking, and with some luck, both could well cross this mark.
However, the hard fact is that the increase in footfalls is linear and not exponential. In simpler terms, it is not multiplying by such leaps and bounds that every ‘good’ film starts entering the Rs 100 crore club, every biggie turns into a Rs 200 crore outing and a major superstar’s film steps into the Rs 300 crore territory.
But, is that a real possibility? Yes, but only from 2017 onwards when more multiplexes mushroom across the country and there are added screens as well. Currently, the contribution of single screens is quite low, even though the footfalls compare well with multiplexes. The revenue generated from B and C centers is low, even though a lot of people are watching films theree. However, since piracy is still high, there is a substantial population that is still content with watching a film for just 50 bucks, and that too with the entire family. This is a phenomenon prevalent not just in small towns but upper class audiences in cities too.
So, it is not the calisthenics or acting capability of our prancing actors that will decide whether every top movie by a big actor enters the Rs 400 cr club, instead it is the infrastructure in terms of presence of theatres/multiplexes that will decide the time. Therefore, this problem can be beaten only if there are more theaters screening films right at the doorstep.
Once the infra is ready and it is no longer a chore to get to the cinema or stand in long lines for tickets (online purchases to the rescue), the Rs 400 crore club entry for a film becomes a very likely possibility. For now, 2016 has quite a few major films lined up in the form of Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Fan’ and ‘Raees’, Salman Khan’s ‘Sultan’ and Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’. Will any of these films hit the Rs 400 crore box office collections mark? The first step in that direction will be taken when Rs 300 crore films become a trend, rather than an one-off event, for all superstar biggies and that in turn would lead to the emergence of the Rs 400 crore club.