‘RA.One’ box office obsession: The danger of reducing movies to money

Sun, November 13, 2011 11:00am UTC by 70 Comments
‘RA.One’ box office obsession: The danger of reducing movies to money

RA.One didn’t break Bodyguard’s opening day record, but it did set a new three-day benchmark, raking in Rs 60 crore in India

The sound and fury around Shahrukh Khan’s superhero saga, RA.One, reached a cacophonous climax last week. There was much debate, of course, on the quality of the film (it was largely panned by critics in India), but the real entertainment was in the breathless number-crunching. The question on everyone’s lips was: could Shahrukh beat arch rival Salman Khan’s grosses? Would Shahrukh’s relentless 10-month-long marketing campaign deliver a bigger opening day than Bodyguard’s Rs 20 crore Eid take?

As it turned out, RA.One didn’t break Bodyguard’s opening day record, but it did set a new three-day benchmark, raking in Rs 60 crore in India. The heated speculation about whether the film was a hit or flop, how much it needed to make to qualify as the former, and how long it would take to get past the Rs 100 crore benchmark continued in the media, blogs and on Twitter well past the first few days. I felt like a participant in a spectator sport, and wondered, when did we become so box office-obsessed?

When I was a rookie reporter in the early 1990s, the vocabulary for viewers at least was restricted to ‘hit’ and ‘flop’. The ‘trade’, which sat in Mumbai’s Naaz building, discussed minimum guarantees, a film’s initial deficit and overflow. Ego-massaging ads that declared a film a ‘bumper-success’ routinely appeared in trade papers, but ads in mainstream media with box office figures were unheard of (one reason might be the mafia threat that loomed over Bollywood from the late 1990s to mid-2000s—producers didn’t want to advertise how much money they had made for fear of extortion threats from the ‘Bhais’).

These days, trade news makes mainstream headlines. There is frequent talk of the ‘100 crore club’—films that have made more than Rs 100 crore. The first to break the barrier was Ghajini in 2008. This year has been especially bountiful with a slew of films like Ready, Singham and Bodyguard achieving this—in fact, Bodyguard set a new record by doing it in less than a week. Each milestone was duly celebrated with full-page ads in newspapers. And Kareena Kapoor was anointed the 100-crore heroine, having worked in three such films—3 Idiots, Golmaal 3 and Bodyguard. The fact that she was the decoration (at least in the latter two) was happily overlooked.

An industry flush with funds and expanding its markets is a wonderful thing. But our growing obsession with numbers is less so. Flashback, if you will, to Hollywood in 1975. Steven Spielberg, only 28, had made a film with a mechanical fish in the starring role—Jaws. It tested so well that Paramount Studios created a massive TV campaign around it and released it in hundreds of theatres—both were a first for the industry. Jaws was the first film to break the $100 million mark and is now acknowledged as the movie that changed the business forever—studios discovered the formula that hype plus carpet-bombing equals the event film (read mega-money). Slowly, the more personal, director-driven cinema of the early 1970s was replaced by the blockbuster film. Jaws, in the words of a Public Broadcasting Service headline, became the monster that ate Hollywood.

In the last few years, Bollywood has also discovered the event movie. Essentially a film so big and hyped that viewers turn out in droves to see it because it’s almost like there isn’t a choice. The multi-crore grosses that eventually follow are then bandied about as proof of quality. The art becomes irrelevant.

I love blockbusters—scale, stars, mega-budgets. But there is a real danger in reducing movies to money. After Asoka’s release, Shahrukh had said to me, “I have never done a film with the market in mind. Cinema is a mishran of Lakshmi and Saraswati. I have always gone for Saraswati and Lakshmi has followed. I may be stubborn and an idiot, but it works for me. I know this is a business, but I will always dole out art.” Now seems an opportune time to remember that.

By Anupama Chopra for The OPEN Magazine

Courtesy: www.anupamachopra.com

The author tweets at @anupamachopra

Shahrukh Khan’s ‘RA.One’ rules the worldwide box office!Subscribe to me on YouTube

  • sumant

    jhakkas movie hai yaar

    • princessa

      oh no , srk is no the king any more, and he is no super star salman khan is the new king, and he will be forever…srk is out forever, raone was not a bad movie thoug, but the reason raone failed, its because people dont like srk any more, so they all decide to not watch his movie, that ‘s why raone failed..a movie dont failed because, of the story , but because of the actor, we have to know that, i guess people realise now how crap and selfish is sharukh khan..

      • Gaonkar

        u and your father is not paying tax for the profit Eros earned from Ra.one … Look at the Pre-release ,post-result announced by Eros to stock exchanges and Sebi

        Post release : till 9th NOv Grossed 221crs
        India Infoline News Service / 21:30 , Nov 10, 2011

        Eros International Media Ltd (Eros International), a leading global company in the Indian film entertainment industry has announced an unprecedented box office collection of Rs. 221 crores worldwide for Ra.One.

        Pre-release :

        Kamal Jain, Group CFO, Eros International Media Ltd added, “Majority of the film’s costs have been recovered before the film hit theatres
        and the box office numbers are exemplary giving major boost to profitability. We are extremely happy with the box office performance of the film as the same is very much in line with our expectations.”

      • Ralph

        Right on brother.. SRK looks like an airless baloon.. he needs botox as soon as possible.

        • !brar

          srk………..is a bigg fraud actor…..superhero ke naam par..videogame dekhata hae

          • aman

            !brar, tu bhi to andar bra pehenti nahi hay, lekin naam “brar” rakh di hay! so u also r a big fraud!!!!

  • puja

    super flop movie raone…

    • don

      beti flop tum apni zindagi se ho hamesha jalna nahi chaiye

      • Drona

        Well Said don …. Like it or Not SRK is the Superstar of India.

      • KK

        ABEY GADHEY WOH BILKUL THEEK KAH RAHI HAI…
        SUPER OVERACTOR HAI WOH! AB USKE DIN BHI LAD GAYE,,,,, AND MORE DESERVING ACTORS ARE ENJOYING SUCCESS!

        EVEN NEWCOMER RANBIR KAPOOR TEACH SHAHRUKH A LESSON OR 2 IN ACTING( LOOK AT THE MIND BLOWING CHARACTERIZATION IN ROCKSTAR….. HE IS 1000 TIMES MORE MATURE THAN KACHARA KHAN WHO KKKKK…KANT ACT AND REFUSES TO GROW!!!!!
        EVEN JHN ABRAHIM AND ARJUN RAMPAL ARE BETTER ACTOR THAN HIM!!sharukh khan is one over acter who can never improve….
        keeps churning kachara one senseless movies
        look how ajay devgun,salman,ranbir,hrithik,abhishek have matured with time…………not to mention the top qu;lity genius of AAMIR KHAN,,,!
        but this kachara actor refuses to grow!!

    • bilal khan

      Last Ten Films OF Aamir Khan
      ======================================================
      1)3 idiots 358 cr
      2)Dhobi Ghat 15cr
      3)Ghajini 189cr
      4)taare Zameen Par 89cr
      5)Fanaa 109 cr
      6)Rang De Basanti 92cr
      7)Mangal Pandey:The rising
      17.20cr8
      8)Dil chata hai 25cr
      9)Lagaan 57.8cr
      10)Mann 21cr
      =====================================================
      All total collection=973cr
      =====================================================
      Last Ten Films Salman Khan
      1)Bodyguard 227cr
      2)Ready 179cr
      3)Dabangg 213cr
      4)Veer 49.75cr
      5)London Dreams 30.5cr
      6)Main aurr mrs khanna 10.50cr
      7)Wanted 91cr
      8)Yuvraaj 7.2cr
      9)Heroes 20cr
      10)God Tussi Great ho 14.60cr
      ======================================================
      all total collection=842.55 cr
      ======================================================
      Last Ten Films Of SRK
      1)Ra.one 221cr(15 day gross)Still
      Counting
      2)My name is khan 195cr
      3)Billu 32cr
      4)Rab Ne bana Di Jodi 158cr
      5)Om shanti om 149cr
      6)Chak de India 103cr
      7)Don 105cr
      8)Kabhi alvida na kehna 113cr
      9)Paheli 17.44cr
      10)Swades 32cr
      =======================================================
      All total collection=1121.44cr
      =======================================================
      Last Ten Films Of Akshay
      1)Thank You 68 cr
      2)Patiala House 55.50 cr
      3)Tees Maar Khan 89 cr
      4)Action Replayy 37.75 cr
      5)Khatta Meetha 52.50 cr
      6)Housefull 95.50 cr
      7)De Dana Dan 50.50 crore
      8)Blue 52.5 cr
      9)Kambakkht Ishq 84.21 cr
      10) singh is kiing – 92 cr
      =====================================================
      All total collection= 680 cr
      =====================================================
      From Above Figures we can
      predict that who is no.1
      1.SRK
      2.Aamir
      3.Salman
      4.Akshay

      • Saira

        yOUR figures are totally wrong. You just put in numbers to make srk look bigger.. btw.. RA one did not even collect 200 crores, where are you getting your figures? It collected about 164 crores. please dont make ur self a laughing stalk.

        • gaonkar

          Hello Saira …..for your kind info …

          not paying tax for the profit Eros earned from Ra.one … Look at the Pre-release ,post-result announced by Eros to stock exchanges and Sebi

          Post release : till 9th NOv Grossed 221crs
          India Infoline News Service / 21:30 , Nov 10, 2011

          Eros International Media Ltd (Eros International), a leading global company in the Indian film entertainment industry has announced an unprecedented box office collection of Rs. 221 crores worldwide for Ra.One.

          Pre-release :

          Kamal Jain, Group CFO, Eros International Media Ltd added, “Majority of the film’s costs have been recovered before the film hit theatres
          and the box office numbers are exemplary giving major boost to profitability. We are extremely happy with the box office performance of the film as the same is very much in line with our expectations.”

        • sreeraj

          who the hell told u that ra.one didnt even collect 200crore,its worldwide collections u stupid not domestic,ra.ones 5 day worldwide collection 170 crores and 15 day collection is225 crores.unlike that bodyguard which collected 220crores in 28days and that ready which collected 17ocrores worldwide in 2 months.

      • Yamini

        Bilal Bhai., Dont get so excited about the box office collection figures and face the reality., i.e. the time of SRK has gone. Only Salman is the man who z giving consistently super hit film since last three year and now Ranbir Kapoor who z surely going to rock….

      • sumit

        ye sahi hai ki box office collection proof karti hai ki kaun hai no.1 but srk is a biggest boring hero usko romantic movies ke alawa aur koi bho movies mein success nahi mili hai to it does’nt prove that he is the best. sallu,amir they just rocks nd in true sense they are the superstar of not just india but in the whole world.

      • asad khan nasar

        Thanks. srk rockss

      • sunil

        Partner (2007 film)x office 103 crore[1
        Wanted (2009 film) 105 cr
        Noentry 90 cr
        hello add This also

      • bigyani

        bilal bhae u r r8.kon kya he wo to sab ko pata he..lekin hero wohi hota he jo har waqt hit ho,jo srk ne kiya he….one thing 4 srk’s heaters
        u luv him,u hate him but u can’t ignore him..

        • shahnawaz

          write
          ye uske liye hai jo SRK ko overactor keh raha ho,

          5 filmo ke naam hai agar salman, aamir, ya koi bhi ho kar paaye to bolna

          1)baazigar 1993 supet hit (winner best actor)
          2)darr 1994 hit (nomination for nagative role)
          3)anjaam 1995 average (but best nagative award winner)
          4)chak de india 2007 blockbustor (winner best actor)
          5)swades average (winner best actor) or bahut hai

      • sreeraj

        superb comment,very correctly said,u rocks dude.

    • sunil

      tero ko sab flop lagega na sali

    • srk

      i think u r blind or u have not seen Ra one ………

  • vikram

    puja tujhe ra .one flop lagi to dekhane kyu gai . sallu srk jeshi love story vali film kare our suparhit karake dhikaye.
    srk har prakar ki film kar sakata he our suparhit bhi hoti he.

    • Yamini

      genuinely SRK ki film ko to flop hi hona hai., Over acting sayad ab public ko pasand nahi aati., Rahi Sallu ki baat ., He is most prominent and consistent super hero in any role…

      • sreeraj

        shutup u worthless creature,srk is the best ever,who the hell gave u the permission to compare him with that murderer salman khan.hw can u forget that accident caused because of the rash driving of salman which killed poor innocent people and still u cheering for him?can ur bodyguard salman beat the record of ddlj?never,so just shut up

    • amir

      sallu ki love story vali film hum aap ke hain kaun & maine pyar kiya india ki sabse badi hit love story film hai. sallu har tipe ki film karsakta hai

      • sreeraj

        dude cant u remember ddlj,so pls shut up.

    • abhijeet

      love story chod kar kuch aata hai usse, aaj tak kissi film me police ka role kiya hai, saala hijda hai, mardana role kabhi kar nhi paega

    • KAM

      EVEN NEWCOMER RABIR KAPOOR TEACH SHAHRUKH A LESSON OR 2 IN ACT
      ING( LOOK AT THE MIND BLOWING CHARACTERIZATION IN ROCKSTAR….. HE IS 1000 TIMES MORE MATURE THAN KACHARA KHAN WHO REFUSES TO GROW!!!!!
      EVEN JHN ABRAHIM AND ARJUN RAMPAL ARE BETTER ACTOR THAN HIM!!sharukh khan is one over acter who can never improve….
      keeps churning kachara one senseless movies
      look how ajay devgun,salman,ranbir,hrithik,abhishek have matured with time…………not to mention the top qu;lity genius of AAMIR KHAN,,,!
      but this kachara actor refuses to grow!!

  • Robin

    Puja is right raone super flop movie

  • Ankur

    Kya zamana aya hai log kasai ko being human ka brand dete hai and budhdhe ko bodyguard kahte hai.with d swear of ur mother tell me which is better ra one ,ready or bodyguard?

    • Ralph

      i SWEAR i didnt understand the most of your comments.. but the last one i did.. to answer you… bodyguard is the best out of those 3. Ra one is worthless.

    • sumit

      bodyguard

    • ABDUL

      BODYGUARD & READY IS BETTER DAN RA1…………

      • srk

        yar please dont compare srk with uncle………

    • Joee

      Actually Ra-one should not be compared with any of those movies because it is way different from them and a first unique try which maybe released little before time for some Indian sterotype mentality…So I think those people cannot judge this movie. Ra-one is excellently made and directed. Kids loved it and it served the purpose.

  • luqman

    Ra.one roxx….

    • srk

      no doubt

  • sumit

    srk aur har tarah ki movie kar sakta hai bhai joke marne se pehle soch to liya kar srk ki pehle ki jitni bhi movies hai uski sirf romantic movies hi hit hui hai na ki action movies.

    • zaa

      aba ghada kabi don ka naam suna haa

    • kam1

      hey fool…..sharukh khan is one over acter who can never improve….
      keeps churning kachara one senseless movies
      look how ajay devgun,salman,ranbir,hrithik,abhishek have matured with time…………not to mention the top qu;lity genius of AAMIR KHAN,,,!
      but this kachara actor refuses to grow!!

  • IAM DON dont delete if have ….

    bollywoodlife(anty srk )is not paying the tax here …. Eros will pay the tax what they earned from Ra.one

    India Infoline News Service / 21:30 , Nov 10, 2011

    Ra.One opened across more than 4,000 plus screens worldwide (3,100 plus screens in India and 904 prints internationally, including 3D, Tamil and Telugu).

    Post release (till NOV 9th)
    Eros International Media Ltd (Eros International), a leading global company in the Indian film entertainment industry has announced an unprecedented box office collection of Rs. 221 crores worldwide for Ra.One.

    Pre -release :

    Kamal Jain, Group CFO, Eros International Media Ltd added, “Majority of the film’s costs have been recovered before the film hit theatres
    and the box office numbers are exemplary giving major boost to profitability. We are extremely happy with the box office performance of the film as the same is very much in line with our expectations.”

    • raja

      The taxes r in tune of 40 percent acording to different states …The entertainment tax is very high, that way too raone is just goonna break even if u take satellite as well as dvd rights into consideration , it’s not a hit since it has to earn more than the cost price at the box office which srk has invested but , that way & there u can also substract the multiplexes cut …this way i thnk it will just be a average…Facts r facts , we shouldn’t be enslaved by srk charisma , this time he has lost but , it was a gd attempt .

  • zaib

    aba ghada kabi don ka naam suna haa

  • chaddu

    shup up dumb head SRK = Bollywood!

    • K

      sharukh= world record of OVERACTING
      sharukh khan is one over acter who can never improve….
      keeps churning kachara one senseless movies
      look how ajay devgun,salman,ranbir,hrithik,abhishek have matured with time…………not to mention the top qu;lity genius of AAMIR KHAN,,,!
      but this kachara actor refuses to grow!!

  • aziz

    you are right. SRK is the god father of bollywood. and aamir, salman, akshay,ranbir are the trainy of Shahrukh.

  • dikshu

    saali princess wo to diwali ki vajah se pehle din itna nhi kama payi varnda bodyguard to gayi thi

  • dikshu

    don 2 and king is back in christmas

  • yaseen

    SHAHRUKH KHAN u are the real King OF bollywood this is enough saying 4 all your competitors

  • sal

    just check the comments of viewers who and which film is best by not only checking srk paid advertisemesnt.i think srk is an expired hero

    • Ata Khan

      Read my above post will get ur answer.

  • Huma.Khan

    EAST AND WEST SRK IS THE BEST AND NO 1 IN PRESENT AND FUTURE ALSO.

    • kam2

      ha ha! sharukh khan is one over acter who can never improve….
      keeps churning kachara one senseless movies
      look how ajay devgun,salman,ranbir,hrithik,abhishek have matured with time…………not to mention the top qu;lity genius of AAMIR KHAN,,,!
      but this kachara actor refuses to grow!!

    • Amit

      Srk londa hai loNda

  • kam

    sharukh khan is one over acter who can never improve….
    keeps churning kachara one senseless movies
    look how ajay devgun,salman,ranbir,hrithik,abhishek have matured with time…………not to mention the top qu;lity genius of AAMIR KHAN,,,!
    but this kachara actor refuses to grow!!

  • boxoffice

    bodygaurd opening day is 21.6cr nett.
    2nd day is 19.5cr nett.
    3rd day is 14.08cr nett
    3days total is 55.18cr nett
    5days weekend is 88.93cr nett
    acordng to vinod mirani,amod mehra,taran adarsh,
    boi.co.in,reliance,producers.
    raone 3days is 53.6cr nett in hindi
    but all versions is 56.6 cr nett in india.
    raone 5days weekend is 80.30cr nett.
    5days all version is 84.6o cr nett

  • god

    bodygaurd 9days week is 114.6cr nett.
    while raone lifetime hindi is 114 cr nett in india
    raone regional 3weeks is only 6.12cr nett.
    total all version lifetime 120.15cr nett in india
    verdict:disaster (cost 175-200cr)
    raone oversease lifetime is 43cr nett
    verdict:hit (according to cost n prints no)

    • Ata Khan

      Read my above post. will get ur answer.

  • vikram

    write
    ye uske liye hai jo SRK ko overactor keh raha ho,

    5 filmo ke naam hai agar salman, aamir, ya koi bhi ho kar paaye to bolna

    1)baazigar 1993 supet hit (winner best actor)
    2)darr 1994 hit (nomination for nagative role)
    3)anjaam 1995 average (but best nagative award winner)
    4)chak de india 2007 blockbustor (winner best actor)
    5)swades average (winner best actor) or bahut hai

    • sandy

      srk ki sari acting ke samne salman ki ek acting hi kafi hai..
      RADHE MOHAN FROM TERE NAAM..
      srk bas romantic role me thik hai..but salman sab role me perfect hai..
      you can see..,
      romantic in MPK, HAHK, Hum dil de chuke sanam etc,
      comedy in andaz apna apna, judwaa2, partner etc,
      action in dabangg, bodyguard, wanted, tum ko na bhul payenge etc,
      srk ki na koi action movie hai na comedy.., apart from love stories he don’t know anything..!!!

  • vikram

    shahuk khan jab se industry me aya he tab se lekar ab tak 85% hit film hui.

    salman ne 30% hit . 70% flop

    srk is best

  • Ata Khan

    Dear all,

    I just saw some comments that SRK is doing overact how can u say that must be a foolish opinion. Please have a look to previous movies of SRK, Salman and Amir you will get your point if use common sense. SRK Don2 collected 172 crors in overall Bodyguard 183 crors overall collection still 11 cross left but will finish at 174-179 crors still a bit short. Ra.one did 175 crors in overall collection and Ready 155 crors i gained it really above but its ok crors 183+155= “338″ crors “Salman’s” 2 movies now have a look to SRK 2 movies in 2011 Don2 expected 176crors so 176+175=351 crors still Shahrukh is 13 crors above from salman and this is salman’s most successful year as well and if u see the past movie of these 3 Mega Star u will see no competition with SRK he has been rocking please don’t post such as foolish comments. and the Don2 earned the highest overseas collection of 2011 more then Bodyguard and ZNMD.

    • Ansh

      Ata khan..
      Ur all figures are wrong
      ra.one 240 crores in overall
      bodyguard 229 crores in overall
      don2 is correct
      ready 183 crores in overall
      check wikipedia…….

  • Ansh

    You forgot ra.one as kareena’s 100 crore movie…. It also did 115 crore in india…..

  • sandy

    Ra.One total worldwide collection is 175cr after a 55cr of huge promotion..:-)
    top 6 highest grosser worldwide:
    1) 3 idiots – 339cr
    2) Bodyguard – 230cr
    3) Dabangg – 212cr
    4) Don2 – 180cr
    5) Ra.One – 175CR
    6) Ready – 160cr

    • dee

      hey stupid who gave you this info… go to wiki and check out…. dont make silly comments again

  • dee

    Shahrukh is the no.1 and will be…. Stupid idiots cant digest it

  • Vishal

    King of romance..king of bollywood…king of box office…don..only one.. srk king khan.


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