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Yash Raj Films makes money despite string of flops: Will Jayeshbhai Jordaar end box office dry run?

YRF is an intellectual property management company, where 100% of the content they produce is owned by them.

Yash Raj Films
The social comedy, directed by debutant Divyang Thakkar, stars Ranveer Singh. (Instagram/Ranveer Singh)

The Yash Raj Films (YRF) name has been behind some of India’s biggest blockbusters, churning out hundreds of crores over the years. The mere association of the production house with a film means a good shot at success. But the data suggests otherwise — the misses outnumber the hits. Its last production Bunty Aur Babli 2 (2021) failed dismally despite the hype. In the past decade, YRF had 14 flops over 11 hits.

Bunty Aur Babli 2 managed a box office collection of Rs 11.98 crore (net gross). Mardaani 2, released in 2019, only managed an average run at theatres and earned Rs 46.33 crore. Big-ticket release Thugs Of Hindostan (2018), starring Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, was expected to bring in the moolah but fell flat on its face, earning Rs 138.34 crore on a budget assumed to be around Rs 240 crore.

The banner has faced a tough time with films such as Qaidi Band (Rs 35.4 lakhs), Titli (Rs 1.7 crore), Meri Pyaari Bindu (Rs 9.2 crore), Bewakoofiyaan (Rs 13.9 crore), Daawat E Ishq (Rs 25.58 crore), Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (Rs 26.2 crore), Kill Dill (Rs 29.98 crore), Befikre (Rs 60.2 crore), Fan (Rs 84.03 crore), and a few others (See The Indian Express graphic).

The films that kept the banner afloat were War, and the Tiger and Dhoom franchises. After the huge success of Ek Tha Tiger (Rs 186.14 crore) in 2012, the sequel Tiger Zinda Hai raked in Rs 292.71 crore. The third film of the Dhoom franchise, Dhoom 3, is an all-time blockbuster for the banner, collecting Rs 260.63 crore. Salman Khan-starrer Sultan (Rs 300.67 crore) and Hrithik Roshan-Tiger Shroff’s War (Rs 292.71 crore) minted cash for the banner.

However, despite the debacles, YRF raked in the profits. Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi told The Indian Express that YRF was different from other companies that produced films at a significant scale. The other companies partner with some studio — Dharma (Karan Johar’s production house) has started doing films with Fox Star. Dharma also did films with Viacom that were funded, marketed, and distributed by the latter, and the intellectual property (IP) shared between multiple entities. While most banners are producers or content producers, YRF is an intellectual property management company, where 100% of the content they produce is owned by them. Rathi said it was a very envious position to be in.

He added even if films bombed at the box office, they had great satellite or streaming value. Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, which failed at the box office, got significant traction on Amazon Prime Video, Rathi said. With YRF owning 100% of the intellectual property, they eventually made a huge amount of money.

However, trade analyst and film producer Girish Johar feels the banner needed to be mindful of what films it associated with, adding that the audience had changed due to OTT releases.

With Jayeshbhai Jordaar up for release, Johar believes YRF will only get a brief respite, unlike a Tiger or Dhoom film, which would have broken break the spell.

The social comedy, directed by debutant Divyang Thakkar, stars Ranveer Singh. It revolves around Singh’s character, the son of the village head under pressure to produce a male heir. It also features Ratna Pathak Shah and Shalini Pandey.

Rathi said KGF 2 had simmered down to a level where other film could co-exist. He also gives the Ranveer Singh-starrer a good chance at ticket windows. However, the film’s merit is the key with the audience becoming very selective about what is worth going to theatres.

Rathi pegged the opening day collection at Rs 6.5 crore. Jayeshbhai Jordaar is expected to screen on 1,500-2,000 screens.

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