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3 Idiots makes B'wood history

Aminah Sheikh & Ashish Sinha  |  Mumbai/Delhi 

Rakes in Rs 240 crore in 10 days.

is becoming big business. Aamir Khan’s has created history by raking in a record Rs 240 crore from box office collections in both the domestic and the international markets. This is the highest revenue earned by any Indian-made film. Moreover, these record-breaking collections are only for the first 10 days of exhibition. The film is still running to packed houses. With this, Khan has broken his own record set by last year.

Ghajini’s domestic and international collections grossed a total of Rs 225 crore, with Gadar, starring Sunny Deol, netting Rs 175 crore and and starrer recording total box office sales of Rs 145 crore.

Movies Total India Overseas
3 Idiots 240* 195 45
Ghajini 225 190 35
Gadar 175 150 25
Dhoom 2 145 120 20
Om Shanti Om 140 109 31
Movies Total
3 Idiots 22
Om Shanti Om 17
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna 15
* (in 10 days)         All figures in Rs crore        (Source-Industry estimates)

Made with a budget of Rs 45 crore, has already raked over five times what the producer, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, had invested in the film, which tells the story of three friends through their college and work. The distribution rights of the film were bought by Anil Ambani’s Big Pictures for around Rs 80 crore, according to industry sources.

Acknowledging that he is creating history, said, “Usually I go by the way audiences are reacting to the film than the figures. In this case, figures are so huge that in 10 days we have surpassed the lifetime collections of Response and adulation have been huge.”

Vidhu Vinod Chopra, of course, is laughing his way to the bank. “We have been visiting cities and getting feedback interacting with audiences. Apart from the constant adulation, we have learnt that people are not getting tickets. This is shocking. We are in the second week, shows have increased, but tickets are not available. Everywhere the collections in the second week are better than the first,” he said.

The sheer success of the film is reflected by the fact that in the first nine months of financial year 2009-10, as many as 123 mainstream films have netted an estimated Rs 1,600 crore in box office collections (domestic and international combined). This takes box office collections to about 15 per cent of the total for the first nine months of the financial year.

Looking at it another way, in November, domestic box office collection of all the Bollywood films put together was Rs 250 crore, which included hit films like Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani, which was a mega hit starring Ranbir Kapoor (made Rs 60 crore). 3 Idiots alone made the same money in November.

What makes the film special is that it has not only done well in the domestic market, but has also beaten the top rankings, which the badshah of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan has traditionally received for his films in the US market where he reigns supreme. Through 3 Idiots, has toppled Shah Rukh’s record in the US, raking in almost Rs 22 crore in 10 days, compared to the previous record held by Om Shanti Om, which raked in Rs 17 crore.

3 Idiots’ overseas collections are a staggering Rs 45 crore — much higher than the previous record-holder Ghajini, which made Rs 35 crore.

The film’s publicity was also assisted by the controversy raked up by Chetan Bhagat, writer of the best-selling novel Five Point Someone, from which the film is inspired, alleging that proper credit was not given to him. While Bhagat has asked the film makers to give him credit at the beginning of the film, the latter say the credit has been given at the end. However, since the release of 3 Idiots, the book has witnessed a 15-20 per cent jump in sales across various book shops in the capital and across the metros, book shop executives claim — a fact vouched by Rupa & Company, the publishers of Bhagat’s book.

“There have been enquires and sale of Five Point Someone, especially in December. We are selling 30-40 copies daily,” a senior executive of a leading book store at Khan Market in South Delhi said. The book is also available online and is free-to-download.

The publicity has helped the multiplexes, too, which have increased the number of shows by 20 per cent in the second week — something unheard of considering that 60 per cent of the box office collections come in the first week and occupancies dip in the second week. “Even in the second week, the advance bookings are strong. Occupancies, too, have not dropped,” Ashish Sakena, COO, BIG Cinemas, said.

“3 Idiots has had the advantage of no other big ticket release and also the strong script has helped retain and grow audiences. We are increasing the number of shows by 20 per cent. People are pouring in even though ticket prices have been increased by 30 per cent for the evening shows,” Vishal Kapur, COO of Fun Cinemas, added.

The film was released with over 1,500 prints in India and 344 prints overseas.

First Published: Tue, January 05 2010. 00:49 IST