JayShah’s Saturday Box Office Column – Dhoondte Reh Jaoge and 13B decent…

Note all numbers are from Trade Guide

Reporting Methodology

1) New films most of the time where possible will be benchmarked against other films ‘in the same range’. The gross used for the older films will be one’s I have computed in the past
2) Films currently playing – I will always do some trending analysis. This is always against the ‘week before’
3) To compute subsequent week grosses I will always benchmark against ‘the first week’. Before it was always the preceding week, but Week 1 is always the best base because it gives maximum centres to use
4) Going forward I will show ONE example in FULL and show the results of the remaining scenarios

New Releases

Dhoondte Reh Jaoge & 13B

Both the new releases had a decent opening week in terms of collections. Dhoondte Reh Jaoge coming from UTV Motion Pictures did slightly better than 13B with collections of around 5.8-6.2Cr compared to 13B’s 5.0-5.5Cr.

Dhoondte Reh Jaoge stars Sonu Sood, Kunal Khemu and Parsh Rawal whereas 13B is a horror flick Starring Madhavan – both movies had fair reviews overall and the audience response is inconclusive thus far hence the second week collections will decide the fate of both releases.

Past Releases

Delhi 6

Delhi 6 fell by around 53% in its third week to net around 2.8-3.0Cr from India. Total collections are around 31.6-33.7Cr and the film is a flop overall.


Billu fell by about 60% in its fourth week to collect 0.4-0.5Cr from India. With total collections of around 22.7-24.1Cr, Billu is a flop.

Dev D

Dev D continues its good run into its fifth week with a fall of around 37%. Collecting 0.7-0.8Cr, Dev D is the only hit of the year, albeit a small hit in a niche genre with total collections of around 15.3-16.2Cr.

January 2009
Chandi Chowk to China : 24.5 – 26.2Cr (Disaster)
Raaz – The Mystery Continues : 22.5 – 23.8Cr (Below Average)
Slumdog Millionaire : 4.8 – 5.5Cr (Flop)
Luck By Chance : 16.3 – 17.9Cr (Flop)
Victory : 1.2 – 1.5Cr (Disaster)

February 2009
Dev D : 15.3 – 16.2Cr (Hit)
Billu : 22.7 – 24.1Cr (Flop)
Delhi 6 : 31.6 – 33.7Cr (Flop)
Kisse Pyaar Karoon : 0.4 – 0.5Cr (Flop)
Siddharth – The Prisoner : 0.1 – 0.2Cr (Flop)
Dhoondte Reh Jaoge : 5.8 – 6.2Cr (Decent Opening Week)
13B : 5.0 – 5.5Cr (Decent Opening Week)

35 Responses to “JayShah’s Saturday Box Office Column – Dhoondte Reh Jaoge and 13B decent…”

  1. Great stuff.
    Delhi Six should end around 35-36 crores.
    A disappointment overall.
    The new releases seem to have done better then initially reported.


  2. Great stuff here…


  3. Given the kind of film D6 turned out to be it should have been released on a small print count, more or less a ‘limited’ release. The problem in India is that if a film has a major star it’s released the same way irrespective of genre. In Hollywood you don’t see Troy and Babel get the same kind of release just because Pitt stars in both. Or for that matter Magnolia and MI just because Cruise is in both. I think that D6 unlike say JBJ did have a segment that liked it very much (and this was reflected in many of the major media reviews as well) but obviously it was a minority segment. When you do the major release you get the larger initial but also more disappointment. If you just advertise it as an alternative film people know what to expect.

    Take Dev D. It’s done well. Now if you put a major star in it and give it a bigger release you’d see a bigger initial but also an eventual ‘flop’. Because this sort of subject again has a limited audience.

    Now I wouldn’t say this for JBJ. That’s a ‘normal’ film. D6 though was ‘alternative’ in some important ways and especially ‘tonally’.


  4. Agree, Satyam. Have said that often in the past.
    Plus, these kind of films have to priced realistically in terms of budget and selling prices. You cant go crazy and splurge while making the film nor should you sell them at unrealistic prices even if there are fools ready to buy it at such prices. One might make less money but earns greater credibility for future projects.


  5. “Take Dev D. It’s done well. Now if you put a major star in it and give it a bigger release you’d see a bigger initial but also an eventual ‘flop’. Because this sort of subject again has a limited audience. ”

    Absolutely on the spot Satya, Take Billu. If the costs could have been contained and less prints would have been released, this could have been a fair deal for everyone.


  6. Also with Ghajini, everyone felt previews were an excellent way to earn some big extra bucks. But that idea also has falled flat with several releases this week, because it’s very difficult to have buzz like what Ghajini had. Only a film that is very highly awaited can make a killing at the previews (and it better be at atleast a decent film). We saw how CCTC failed when it tried the same.
    So as Satyam says, what’s good for the gander is not always good for the geese. It needs to be seen case to case.


  7. Satyam: two correction for me.

    One, i meant ‘this year’ not ‘the week’

    Two, I meant ‘fallen flat’


  8. For, Satyam though this is a change of stance of sorts. In the past he was against this unless I misunderstood him. Even SR would have beinfited from this strategy. For the distributors it may not matter how you get there ( as I dont think eventual totals would vary much), but the battle of public perception might be one with a smaller release.


    • Not sure if I ever argued against this Rajen.. at least I don’t remember doing so.. what I did say at different points is that a film which is fundamentally a commercial venture, even if it is ‘different’, if such a film has major stars it has to be sold accordingly. Now of course Bachchan’s Mukerjee projects were never sold at the price his Desai projects were. This makes perfect sense and this is something Bollywood has lost sight of for a long time. But you can’t undersell a Desai project. which is part of the debate I had with folks at different points. Taking Mehra as an example yet Aks and RDB were both ‘different’ films, both were risky. The first one flopped, the second one didn’t. But both films still had more in common in a tonal sense which sets them apart from D6.

      On SR you’re right that it might have benefited but here everyone knew what it was about and ‘expectation’ wasn’t the problem. Yes perhaps some of us overestimated the reach of an RGV film but still SR falls in the category of films that could have worked more with some things fixed in terms of narrative and so on. But with D6 my contention is that those ‘fixes’ wouldn’t have made much of a different given Mehra’s kind of story-telling here.


  9. There is no inkling of how your audience is going to react to a film in advance. The problem with less number of screens is that you might end up where you get with more prints, with your film being averagely liked. Only way you might get more is your WOM is extremely positive or you have target audience who would come irrespective of film. Take for example the fate of SIK would have been worse, if it was released with less number of prints.

    But agree with Rajen that you should know you demand to keep you supply side in check.

    ps: It helps more to distributor if they recoup the investment in first two weeks. As weeks progress, exhibitor keeps most of the money coming from a movie.


    • All this is fair but my point is that when a film opens at say 15 crores because of a small print count and goes on to make 30 that makes it successful whereas a film that opens at 25 and does 40 is less of one. It is true that even with a smaller audience a similar percentage of people might not like the film and so instead of going from 15 to 30 you could go from 15 to 22. But my point assumes the right kind of advertising. So if a film is marketed as not being of the usual commercial variety and then also released on a small count the message would be clear. People for the most part wouldn’t go into it expecting just any other different film. In this sense Mehra made a mistake. Yes many of us expected RDB 2 in some ways but the director never told his audience (except very briefly in one interview) that this wasn’t going to be a regular narrative. When people go with the right sense of expectation they might still be disappointed but at least they’d go into it with a more open mind. Again to take the earlier example many people did not like Babel but they never went into it expecting Troy!To the extent that there is a segment for the ‘different’ this has to be maximized. and as I said I think such existed for D6, which is not all what I’d say for a Tashan.


      • rational Says:


        But some of the blame is with audience when they expect something based on previous movie experience. You can not advertise TZP or Lagaan like Ghajini or OSO. In later, you overstate about movie and in former you tend to under advertise. I think D6 should have been lower in budget so that they could have started with small foot print and marketed to its niche audience.


  10. Off topic of course but Rangan is golden as always here in his review of Jai-Veeru:

    “OF ALL THE ACTORS CAPABLE OF PORTRAYING a cool-cucumber conman, the kind who’ll hotwire a car even as a police posse sniffs at his heels, would you pick Fardeen Khan? It’s not just the looks. (Who knows – perhaps the underworld is littered with carjackers who resemble a ball of butter that’s never seen the outside of a refrigerator.) Even his attitude is that of someone who’s never done a day’s work in his life, let alone slave away as a garage mechanic (hence those lethal carjacking skills). His is the face you see in the ads in low-rent lifestyle magazines. There’s not an iota of individuality in his pampered features, but he does seem the sort who’d only have to snap his fingers before a liveried servant scurried over with refreshments. Just who’s going to believe him as Jai, one half of the roughneck titular duo in Jai Veeru?”

    Master Cads


  11. Rangan’s reviews of bad films are better than his of good ones…


    • agreed! I want bad films to be made so that Rangan can review them!


      • Oh my god I just read this. I was dying….my favorite part:

        “…wherein he freeze-frames an arbitrary shot (to the accompaniment of a soundtrack whoosh) and drains the colour to a pallid yellow, which gives the impression of the raw stock having turned ill at the indignities it’s being subjected to.”


  12. Poor Fardeen!


  13. These issues are pretty serious but the producers are complaining rather pathetically IMO. They are saying costs have gone up – but its them and corporates who are to blame for the excessively structured deals. if top grossers like SIK are making losses in some territories its the greed of buyers and sellers that is leading to lot of these issues. A bit of cost efficiency and this recession should bring some greedy people into a reality check.


    • I think this problem more or less confirms our side of the story in many of the numerous debates we’ve had in the past. Note how they are not making an exception for stars or setups but only for ‘performance’. And for good reason. If I were them I’d make an Aamir exception though!


      • Irony is, I don’t believe an Aamir film has had an issue pre-release regarding shares and this and that. Sure Fanaa had issues but that was different. Ghajini didn’t have an issue, don’t recall JTYJN or TZP having issues either.

        It’s a rather silly fight. They are both feeding each others coffers. It is in both interests to release a film. A delay on some of these films will kill them, a sunk cost. The multiplexes can’t afford to lose business either.

        And the worst thing is, if distributors/producers get their way, it is all about milking the first few days.

        “that the revenue share of each movie should be performance linked, the benchmarks of which should be decided on the basis of box office collection of a film, budgets, star cast etc.”

        What a way to kill the industry. How is that performance linked? LOL – basically this kind of model is suited to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.


        • Yes on Fanaa that was more Yashraj greed than anything else..


          • The wider point is how can a 70Cr odd grosser like SIK not make money for everyone in the chain? This is only the fault of greedy distributors and producers.


          • yes absolutely.. you know the other thing is that comedies fade fast.. Akshay’s comedies have typically been big in Western India. Eventually Delhi got on board but even the rest of the North is generally not out of the ordinary. So there’s really no excuse for over-pricing on this kind of genre. But things have also gotten to this impasse precisely because of terms like ’satellite rights’, ‘DVD sales’ and so forth. Because much as in the present financial crisis you start throwing around these terms and pretend that the essentials on ‘economics’ have changed. Eventually the bubble bursts but while it lasts you game the system. In Hollywood there was a similar period in the 90s when not so profitable (if at all) disaster movies (not only these) were being made for loads of money and the pretense was that video rights made things safe. This period ended eventually. The extreme example was the devil’s own with Pitt and Ford (not a bad film but somewhat turgid) where they spent 80m on a film that shouldn’t have cost half that! Again this reminds me of older debates but the entire idea that films could be made safe by talking about table profits and cable rights and what not was always bunk. You can do that for sometime but not all of the time. We can pretend it’s only about a producer or a distributor or whoever but someone in the food chain’s losing money and there are real effects. For years they also pretended that the multiplexes were the only show in town. Isn’t it an irony that now these very multiplexes have rebelled?! Then again can’t blame Bollywood too much when some of the biggest names in American business had invented fancy lingo and what not to justify their own bubbles.


          • this is actually a response to Jay’s ’70 crore’ comment on the 17th.


    • Jay check out this piece. Do some of the arguments sound familiar?! The Ghajini/Gadar analogy is also instructive. At that enormous gross the film is delivering less to its distributors than Gadar did all those years ago. Think about those ‘ordinary’ hits/superhits or whatever that are routinely heralded as the most profitable ones imaginable! Again your SIK example is on the money.


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