Dangal brightens Christmas at box office

The cast of Dangal
Showing massive growth over the weekend, Disney India’s Christmas release, Dangal, has become the second-highest opener of the year at Rs 106.95 crore in the first three days.


The Nitesh Tiwari directorial started its box office campaign with Rs 29.78 crore on Friday and saw massive jumps on Saturday and Sunday with collections of Rs 34.82 crore and Rs 42.35 crore, respectively. Such jumps have become fewer in recent times, especially for a film that starts with Rs 30 crore on the first day. The highest weekend box office collection this year belongs to Salman Khan’s Sultan, which released on Eid this year. That starrer, however, enjoyed a five-day weekend, since Yash Raj decided to break tradition and released the film on a Wednesday.


If one were to look at three-day collections, Dangal has beaten Sultan. Sultan collected Rs 105.53 crore in the first three days (Wednesday-Friday) and Rs 106.5 crore in the traditional weekend (Friday-Sunday) period. What makes Dangal’s performance commendable is that it seems fairly unaffected by demonetisation and, though it was a festive weekend release, there was no holiday as such since Christmas fell on a Sunday.  The highest weekend collection (first three days) ever by a movie was by 2015’s Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo (also starring Salman Khan), at Rs 129 crore.


“The film has generated some compelling word of mouth. We have seen it grow at our properties over the weekend, which has been a pan-India trend. The story explores the father-daughter relationship and has struck a chord across the board; the rustic setting has pulled in semi-urban and rural audiences, too. After a long time, we are seeing healthy current and advance booking trends,” says Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive, PVR Pictures. Current booking refers to on-the-spot purchase of tickets, as opposed to booking tickets a day or two in advance.


The film’s pan-Indian appeal can be gauged by the fact that it has made Rs 2.5 crore from the Tamil and Telugu dubs, a rare feat for a Bollywood film in its first weekend. 


“The Phogats’ story is one that is not only relatable but inspiring as well. The moment we heard of it, we knew this was a story that needed to be told. The response the film has received since the launch of the first poster is phenomenal and we are happy to see that it has resulted in such an overwhelming response at the box office, both in India and internationally. Word of mouth on this film has been extraordinary and we feel confident that this will help sustain it for a longer run,” says Amrita Pandey, vice-president, studios, Disney India. Dangal is the second big success to come out of the Disney India stable this year; The Jungle Book was a blockbuster this summer.


“This year has been extraordinary for us at Disney India and we are happy to end 2016 on such a high,” she adds.


Internationally, the film has clocked around $9 million since it released in the traditional markets of the UAE, US and UK on Wednesday. North America has contributed nearly half the international earnings; in Australia, the film has set a record for Bollywood films, making $181,000 on the opening day and collecting $529,000 over the three-day weekend.


Exhibitors and analysts are convinced the film will cross the Rs 300-crore mark in India, and some are willing to bet that it has the potential to surpass the mark set by PK (Rs 340 crore), also an Aamir Khan film produced by Disney India.


While Dangal seems to be leading the numbers game, it has also hit the mark with profitability. Including the collections abroad and the net box office in India, the film has already made Rs 167 crore. Made at Rs 75 crore, the film needed Rs 150 crore revenue to break even at the global box office. This means the film is already booking profits and satellite rights, music, home video and digital streaming rights will further boost this.

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