Revival Of Indian Theatrical Business: ‘Sooryavanshi,’ ‘Annaatthe’ Collect $33 Million At Box Office

Indian cinema halls welcomed movie buffs with open arms this weekend as the country celebrated one of the biggest festivals – Diwali – on November 4. Three major films released around the time and the box office figures confirm that theatrical business is here for good.

Rajinikanth-starrer Annaatthe, that released on November 4, has earned $19.77 million (Rs 146.53 crore) worldwide over the four-day-long weekend. Written and directed by Siva, the film released on more than 500 screens in the USA market.

Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi collected $10.3 million (Rs 77.08 crore) over the weekend after it released on Friday, November 5. The movie that features Ranveer Singh and Ajay Devgn in cameo roles, collected $13.7 million (Rs 101.66 crore) worldwide over the first weekend.

The Hollywood release for the week, Marvel Studios’ Eternals, earned $3.1 million (Rs 23 crore) in India where it released across 1400 screens on November 5.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic early last year, movie theatres have mostly remained out of business. For the maximum time, producers chose the direct-to-digital route for their projects. A few films, including Salman Khan’s Radhe Your Most Wanted Bhai, took the route of dual release – simultaneously on theatres and OTT.

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As 2021 neared end, two of the biggest film stars in the country – Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth – decided to offer Diwali special gifts to their fans. They released their big-budget films Sooryavanshi and Annaatthe in theatres alone, taking the risk of a possible loss caused by the fear of the coronavirus. The first weekend collection of these films in the country confirms that the film theatre business is on the road to recovery.

Exhibitor Vishek Chouhan says, “Across the globe, wherever cinemas started (after the pandemic outbreak, business has bounced back). I can take you to last year when Vijay’s Master released and broke box office records. China and US markets have also broken records with some of their major releases. There is no question that theatrical model is dead.”

He adds, “Cinema is a habit, a passion and people will come out when a good, commercial and entertaining film, made larger-than-life come out. Sooryavanshi is not a one-off thing. I would say the market is slightly depressed right now. The Akshay Kumar film took a fantastic start. Hollywood films are doing fantastic business. Films releasing in south India are doing great business. People are not wired to stay at home and seek entertainment. Box office collections will keep rising.”

The south Indian film industry opened up much earlier, with Vijay’s Master breaking box office records in January this year. Directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, the film collected $40 million.

Next up, Bollywood has a host of films lined up for theatrical release before the year 2021 comes to an end. These include movies such as John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate 2 and Salman Khan-starrer Antim. These are expected to be the mass entertainers that are traditionally known to make audiences flock to cinema halls.

(The collection figures are based on inputs from the producers of the respective films.)

The Tycoon Herald