Disney’s swansong Bollywood production might not be the high-flying success the studio would have hoped the movie to be.
Anurag Basu-directed Jagga Jasoos, released on Friday, had a tepid start. The opening day brought in Rs 8.57 crore. After four days at cinemas, the film starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif has managed to rake in only Rs 37 crore, and has not shown signs of improving prospects. Jagga Jasoos’ lifetime collection may be Rs 55-60 crore, analysts said. Ancillary revenues — digital, satellite and music — could bring in another Rs 45-50 crore. But producers would still have to bear a loss of Rs 30-40 crore.
The studio can take solace from the fact that it will not have to bear the loss alone: Director Basu and lead actor Kapoor are co-producers. The only hope now is better overseas performance.
Around the middle of last year, Disney had pulled the plug on its Bollywood business, refusing to green-light any script and focusing only on projects in the pipeline. There has been no official confirmation about this development but industry insiders said a debacle titled Mohenjo Daro caused the top bosses to take this step.
Disney's Bollywood journey has been a mixed bag, with a few heavy losses and some massive hits. Two of the biggest Bollywood films ever since 2014 came from the Disney stable. PK (2014) and Dangal (2016) had made more than Rs 300 crore at the box office, setting records. However, the duds had bombed badly. Fitoor (2015) and Mohenjo Daro (2016) cost the studio a fortune but gave little return on investment.
Jagga Jasoos seems to be on its way to join that list, though the damage may not be as massive as some of those other films.
The project, which went on floors in 2014, was mired with delays from the start. While shooting in Cape Town, differences of opinions among the lead pair were reported to have caused delays in shooting. A lot of the script was re-shot multiples times during the making of the film. These delayed the release date time and again, and escalated the cost of production.
Experts estimated the cost of producing, including promotions and advertising, to be in the range of Rs 110-115 crore.
“This is not the first time in the recent past that Disney has released a film that has been in the making for just too long,” said an analyst on condition of anonymity. “In 2015, Fitoor suffered a similar fate. Both these films were not bad products, but were very badly budgeted. A good producer does not only make good decisions to green-light a film, but also knows when to pull the plug, however dear the project is.”
But all might not be lost for Disney because of Jagga Jasoos. The studio distributes and promotes Hollywood films in India. Thus far, the House of Mouse has released three big-banner Hollywood films in 2017 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Pirates of the Caribbean-Salazar’s Revenge and Cars 3. All three recovered costs. Guardians and Cars 3 even made profits.