Jawan — Shah Rukh Khan’s Lone Soldier Avatar Annihilates Box Office Records
The ‘Jawan’ for India yesterday was Mohammad Siraj. Not only did his splendid spell help India lift the Asia Cup, but it also helped push audiences into the cinemas for the early and late evening shows as the final was done and dusted in quick time.
Cricket and films often share a nebulous relationship, as big-ticket matches on weekends or holidays tend to eat into box office revenue with sure dips in crowds who prefer to laze it out in front of their flat panels rather than venture out.
Indeed, exhibitors and distributors were heaving a sigh of relief as Pakistan failed to qualify for the Asia Cup final, but cloudy skies in Colombo on Sunday also meant prospects of a curtailed match. After all, it is on a Sunday that collections peak at the box office, and with Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Jawan’ going great guns, the last thing they wanted was the cricket keeping prospective audiences at home.
It was clear from the anticipation building around Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Jawan’ that it would go on to create a sensation unlike any other Hindi film by the superstar. Staying true to script, it went on to do that and more, sequentially beating all box office records of major blockbusters as well as surpassing his own records set by ‘Pathaan’ earlier this year.
From its release on Thursday, it went into overdrive during the extended weekend, leaving the film trade in a tizzy. The craze for the film was so great that extra shows were added to meet overwhelming demands from audiences as cinema exhibitors huffed and puffed to slot in optimum shows to satiate their appetite—after all, there are only 24 hours in a day.
Pakistan fast bowling great Shoaib Akhtar termed Siraj’s performance "destruction" and "annihilation," words that were already doing the rounds in the film trade since last week in light of ‘Jawan’s’ box office performance.
The Records Are Good To Go, Chief
By Saturday evening last week, the film trade was actually praying for rain to play spoilsport during the keenly awaited India-Pakistan Asia Cup cricket match that was to take place the following day.
"Rain, rain, come again, our Jawan wants to play," may have been on the lips of distributors and exhibitors, not wanting cricket to play spoilsport as Shah Rukh Khan’s blockbuster was busy raking it in big time.
For the keen movie audience, especially the army of Shahrukh Khan fans—match or no match—the ‘Jawan’ mania continued unabated, and this meant making the most of the Sunday holiday. Even though the evening shows did take a slight hit due to the cricket, the film collected Rs 80.1 crore (over Rs 71 crore in Hindi alone), a new record for the highest single-day total ever and one that will definitely take some beating in the future. The record-breaking Sunday for ‘Jawan’ also had the highest occupancy rates in cinemas in Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai, followed by Delhi.
It went on to become the fastest Hindi film to cross Rs 150 crore in just three days, beating ‘Pathaan’ to the mark by over Rs 20 crore to score over Rs 180.45 crore (approx.) in its Hindi version. It raced to the fastest Rs 300 crore for a Hindi film in just six days, surpassing 'Pathaan,' which had reached the figure in seven days and by its 11th day had crossed Rs 400 crore (net/approx.). At the end of its first week's run, ‘Jawan’ had a domestic total of Rs 390 crore, out of which the regionally dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu contributed a whopping Rs 41 crore, a record in itself.
Coming from such humongous opening day numbers, it was a given that it would see significant drops during the weekdays, as it fell over 50% during the working week after the record-shattering extended first weekend.
However, the second weekend did see it put up extremely good collections, with analysts predicting a sure-fire target of over Rs 550 to Rs 600 crore, at least for the film in its lifetime (in Hindi). At the close of the second weekend, it had over Rs 477 crore (approx.) in all languages (see chart).
The worldwide gross for ‘Jawan’ now stands at over Rs 860 crore as it steadily inches closer to the coveted Rs 1,000 crore benchmark of Khan’s earlier ‘Pathaan’. With Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘Dunki’ set to release in December this year, Shah Rukh Khan is now the only superstar to have two Rs 1,000 crore global grossers to his name.
One Man, One Emotion, Last Superstar
Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Jawan’ is often more Shah Rukh Khan than the star himself. His double-whammy appearance in the film as a young vigilante and an elderly discredited soldier suffering from memory loss is a twin-some winsome that has been lapped up by the audiences.
With this, Khan has easily beaten the likes of Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, and Ranveer Singh to have one of the best years (in terms of box office collections), with one more release to come before the year ends.
Given that he was going through a lean patch for the last couple of years, up to the release of 'Pathaan,' it shows the unpredictability of the box office as well as his choice of subjects that did not sit well with audiences.
But Khan’s enigma and popularity override these seemingly ‘common’ factors that may well apply to ordinary stars in the film industry. As Khan himself famously describes himself, he truly is the last of the superstars, and the way the audiences and the box office have responded to the last two offerings clearly shows his unparalleled charisma at the movie ticket window—both as a pan-Indian as well as a global superstar.
By some miles, this year has been an unprecedented year for the Indian film industry, with August and September turning out to be two whopping months at the box office. However, it is important that not just the big-ticket movies continue to do well, but even the small-to-medium ventures do well and pull in their core audiences.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup set to hog the limelight in the months of October and November this year, it will be a real test to see how audiences take to new releases (especially Prabhas’ ‘Salaar’ and Salman Khan’s ‘Tiger 3’) till the impending blockbuster month of December, when Ranbir Kapoor’s ‘Animal’ and Khan’s ‘Dunki’ are slated to release.
Anand Mathew is based in New Delhi. He writes on popular culture, entertainment and contemporary issues, is currently working as Director, Communications and Marketing for a private entity.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BQ Prime or its editorial team.