Box Office Report – August 2008

If the Bollywood box office was a child and had to show its report card to Pa and Ma box office, this would be the month to bring home that report card as the box office tills have been ringing like crazy with almost one hit for each week of the month. Everyone by now knows Singh Is Kinng is the success story of the year, doing huge business not only in India but in Pakistan and the overseas too.

According to IMDB after the release of SIK in the UK, despite being released on less screens than most of the other films in the UK top ten, it grossed the highest average per screen – even more than The Dark Knight which really says something about how well SIK has done. Especially as The Dark Knight was still in its third or fourth week of release and still attracting a new audience as well as those going for a second look. SIK also broke first week box office records, taking the mantle from last year’s Om Shanti Om which set the bar very high at 40 crore for the first week. In the face of such competition, the other release that week Ugly Aur Pagli, a gross out film aimed at teenagers faltered out and is now making its way onto DVD.

Following SIK is Bachna Ae Haseeno, which has finally given Yashraj that elusive hit exactly a year since Chak De! India. Starting out as average to above average, thanks to the Independence Day long weekend in India and good word of mouth, plus an exhaustive publicity campaign (it seems the cast were on every popular television show in India at one point), the film managed to get audiences into the cinemas and is a plus for all involved.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for God Tussi Great Ho, a rip off of Bruce Almighty. Despite the presence of Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra, the film looked and felt outdated and was let down by a poor script. In the UAE, the film was even taken off screens a week after release for offending religious sensibilities. Despite this, it did manage an average performance but will not be the money spinner its makers may have hoped for.

The surprise hit of the year went to Ram Gopal Varma’s Phoonk (Smoke), a low budget no star cast film based on black magic that no one had expected anything from but has done fantastic business and due to its low making costs, may even be classed as a superhit soon. This has not only silenced RGV’s growing army of detractors but also wiped the other releases of the week including Maan Gaye Mughal E Azam and Mumbai Meri Jaan which has been critically lauded but is still fighting at the box office.

Finally, the final Friday of August saw the only release of note,  Rock On, which has opened well and will be cashing in on India’s growing rock and alternative music scene. Meanwhile Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na is still going strong and continues to get the repeat audience in, even completing 50 days at the box office, a select club these days (though July’s release Jannat has completed 100 days at the box office which is also applause worthy).

With the month of Ramadan falling in September, the  only significant release next month will be the Amitabh-Preity-Arjun starrer The Last Lear  (see  below for a preview) and we wait in earnest for the 2nd of October which will see Kidnap starring Sanjay Dutt, Imran Khan and Minisha Lamba and the Abhishek -Priyanka superhero flick Drona, whose tralier is creating waves in Bollywood at the moment. But with so many films doing well this month, the benefits will obviously spill into next month and one hopes this is a sign of things to come – we could be in for a bumper Eid/Diwali/Christmas Bollywood bonanza this year!

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