More box office data! The first meta bit of this, is that there is just SO MUCH data available. Normally there is just one graph showing the global total for each film for a weekend. But today, there are 6 different graphs just about Fan. Clearly, people are really really watching this particular release.
The first most important figure to keep in mind is 105 crore. That’s how much Yash Raj spent on Fan, including production, promotion, and release. So as soon as it clears 106 crore, it’s in profits. In contrast, Happy New Year had a budget of 150 crore, Chennai Express and Dilwale of 115 (excluding any fees for Shahrukh). Shahrukh’s average fee is 40 to 45 crore per film. Add that on to Chennai Express and Dilwale, and you get a budget of 155 crore. So, say the average recent Shahrukh film would cost a non-Red Chillies studio 150 crore to make. Fan only cost 105, only around 60 once his fees are removed. Why does this matter?
It matters because it shows that Fan wasn’t supposed to be a blockbuster. Or at least not the same kind of blockbuster we are used to. The studio didn’t blindly throw money away, they took a calculated risk, decided to put most of the cost towards paying for SRK, and otherwise kept it small. So even though the box office is less than his most recent films, it’s a controlled fall, not a free-fall. Shahrukh knows, and YRF knows, that it is getting harder and harder for him to break box office records, so they aren’t even trying for that any more.
Now, to the numbers! First, regionally within India. While Dilwale did better in the outskirt territories, Assam etc., Fan is doing well in the metros. About 30% of the profit from Bombay, and 20% from Delhi, making those two areas alone 50% of all income. Makes sense, it’s a fairly sophisticated plot and film, it probably plays better if you are fluent in the language and familiar with the areas where it is set (Delhi and Bombay).
Next, overseas! Full breakdown for this weekend, including screen count and comparisons with other releases, is still not available. But the general number is, 6.01 million USD. Which puts it at Number 7 on Shahrukh’s all time global numbers list, after Dilwale at 8.5, Chennai Express at 8.25, Happy New Year at 8.1, Jab Tak Hain Jaan at 7.58, Don 2 at 7, and Ra.One at 6.14. And just ahead of My Name is Khan at 5.73.
Now, this is fascinating! When My Name is Khan came out, just a little over 5 years ago, it set the global box office record. And since then, as you can, every single Shahrukh release has broken that record. It’s clearly not a matter of quality or popularity, it’s simply a matter of the global market opening up. But now Fan is breaking that trend. I am SO CURIOUS as to the screen count for it. Did they lower it? Meaning their production costs and distributor rates are considerably lower as well, but a smaller box office will be easier to swallow? Notice, Dilwale is at the top of this list (barely), but it was still a “flop” just because the distributor rates were so high.
That list clearly shows the way Shahrukh is sliding down, but there is another list that shows how Hindi films in general are doing. Fan is also Number 7 on the list of global weekend figures for all films from everybody. Dhoom 3 is at the top, with 10.2 crore (although that was a 5 day weekend, so an unusual situation). Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is number 2 at 8.9 crore. Dilwale is after that with 8.5. And Bajrangi Bhaijaan is after that with 8.1. Then Happy New Year at 8, and P.K. at 7.9.
Now, a different trend appears here. Both Bajrangi Bhaijaan and P.K ended up setting global records. But their opening weekend was behind Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which did okay, but not as good as Bajrangi Bhaijaan, and Happy New Year, which was something of a disappointment in terms of box office. Globally, the opening weekend box office does not appear to be closely related to the overall take. There can be a steep drop or a steady climb, which makes all the difference. So, in terms of Fan in particular, these opening weekend figures may not matter as much. And in terms of the industry in general, it might be wiser to spend less money on a big print and promotions push for opening weekend worldwide, and more on making a better film that will garner word of mouth and a long run internationally.
And then there’s the local figures. First, measuring Shahrukh against himself, there has been not so much a controlled slide in Indian figures, but a desperate out of control slippage. Dilwale only made 65 crore opening weekend, compared with 100.42 crore for Chennai Express a few years earlier. Considering that screen counts and ticket prices are only rising, dropping almost 40 crore in 3 years is a big problem. Fan only made 52 crore. But, again, the budget was only 105, including SRK’s fees, so 52 crore means they are halfway to turning a profit already. And if it had been a Red Chillies production, with SRK charging no fee, it might already be making a profit. Raees will be a Red Chillies production, and I will be very interested in the budget figures once they are available. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes in at under 50 crore, meaning the new “standard” Shahrukh opening weekend could easily clear all costs.
Oh, and when I say “standard”, Fan is still the highest opening weekend of a Hindi film so far. This is star power, it goes Shahrukh in Fan, and then a drop of about 10 crore down Akshay in Airlift, and then exactly halved to get downto Kapoor and Sons. So yes, Shahrukh is slipping when measured against his past self, or his current rivals (Salman and Aamir). But he is still far above any non-Khan star (Akshay, Hrithik, Ajay, etc.), and twice as valuable as any rising star (Siddharth, Fawad, Varun, Shahid, etc.).
But I still really want those global weekend box office figures to see how he measured in per screen, and against the regional films!