Article first published on November 11 2013
Ever since Krrish 3 released in theatres, the comments section on our website and Twitter timeline have been flooded with questions related to the box office collections of the film — Why is there such a huge difference between numbers released by independent trackers like Box Office India (BOI) and the producers of the film? Is BOI trust-worthy? Since quoting a record-breaking figure for the opening day and weekend, results in free-publicity across all news channels and social media, how can figures released by a production house be trusted – after all, with millions at stake with a film like Krrish 3, the producers can quote any figure that they want to!
Below is a quick comparison between the 10 day collections of Krrish 3 released by 3 different sources.
- Box Office India website: Rs 153 cr in 10 days (excluding collections from Telugu and Tamil versions)
- Box Office India Magazine: Rs 171.47 cr in 10 days (excluding collections from Telugu and Tamil versions)
- Filmkraft Productions: Rs 194 cr in 10 days from Hindi, Rs 206.35 including Telugu and Tamil.
Here’s how, we think, each source tracks their figures
1. BoxofficeIndia.com were the first to release All-India figures, which is probably why they are considered to be a trust-worthy source within the industry and by fans. In fact, a lot of well-known trade analysts use figures released by BOI and claim those numbers to be their own! The 202 crore lifetime figure of 3 Idiots was first released by the trade website, which was universally accepted as ‘actuals’ of the 2009 Rajkumar Hirani blockbuster.
BOI releases daily figures based on collections from a few theatres in various circuits, which is then compared to other films with a similar release size. For example, sample figures of Krrish 3 will be compared to Chennai Express, as both films released on approximately 3700 screens across India. Since they probably have contacts with top distributors, they are also well-aware if a film is under-performing or record-breaking in one or more circuits. In short, around 20-25% of collections are tracked on a daily basis for bigger films, the final total is just a guess estimate which isn’t always very accurate.
Have their figures always been reliable? No, not really. When Hrithik Roshan’s Jodhaa Akbar released, they declared the film a ‘Super-Hit’ with All-India collections of around 63.5 crore net. But on the new version of their website, they’ve reduced the total to Rs 59 crore and also changed the verdict to ‘Semi Hit’. The difference between the two verdicts is huge.
Screen captures from 2008 and 2013 below.
Jodhaa Akbar is not the only film though. They declared Om Shanti Om as the biggest grosser of all-time at Rs 85.79 crore net. A couple of years later, they deducted more than Rs 6 crore from its total, making it the second highest grosser after Dhoom 2 (Screen captures below). Even the figures of Jab Tak Hai Jaan were reduced by more than 15% when the film was in its third week.
2. Box Office India Trade Magazine: These guys have plenty of sources and usually fetch figures directly from the distributors. They also provide circuit-wise figures on a daily basis. Their figures from a few circuits are at times way off the mark. Also, in recent times they have started quoting trade figures for a few films and producer figures for others. In short, their figures are not consistently accurate and bias towards a certain top star is pretty evident.
3. Figures from the production house: Exhibitors (theatre owners) report to distributors, who report directly to the producers. So only the producers accurately know how much a film has collected. But in today’s times its all about opening day / weekend records and films that are fastest to 100 / 200 crore clubs get nation-wide free publicity across all news channels and social media websites. That results in higher ticket sales, because a film that is record-breaking is considered to be good content-wise too.
For example, industry insiders are well-aware of the fact that Chennai Express did not break the opening day record of Ek Tha Tiger. But, UTV released a figure that was a mere Rs 0.12 crore higher than the previous record held by Salman Khan’s 2012 blockbuster. Result? ‘Shahrukh Khan beats Salman Khan at the box office’ was breaking news. It also became the fastest to the 100 crore club by collecting 100.45 crore in 3 days, another big record, more publicity. The film went on a historic run and eventually became the highest grosser of all time. While Chennai Express was a well-made film and thoroughly entertained every section of the audience, the fact that it broke the opening record helped it break more records in the long run.
When years of hard work and crores of rupees go into the making of every film, we can’t really blame the makers for not being 100% honest, can we? But the big problem is, this game of manipulating figures could get dirtier. The difference between various trade sources will get bigger with every major release. Those who love discussing figures, may no longer be thrilled by a record-breaking opening from their favourite superstar. In short, it could get way too predictable. Every commercial holiday release featuring Salman, SRK, Aamir and Hrithik, that is even close to the previous record, will be pushed over the line to break records .
At the same time, BoxofficeIndia could also be playing a smart game here. In recent times, every media channel has started quoting figures released from production houses and leading trade analysts. Since every fan would want their favourite star’s film to break records, BOI figures were no longer being quoted or trusted. But now, the difference between their figures and producers is so huge that a section of the media has already started quoting figures from BOI. Could well be a publicity stunt from them too!
Indicine too has grown tremendously over the last few years, we now have our own set of reliable sources. We publish our own figures for small / medium releases, but currently we do not have enough sources in the trade to track wide releases like Krrish 3, Chennai Express or Ek Tha Tiger. To give you an example, Yash Raj Films produce and distribute their films themselves. How can any one even know where they release their films? How can BOI or any other website, get collections from a fixed rental screen in a small town in Uttar Pradesh? It’s impossible, no matter how many sources you have in the trade! That doesn’t mean their figures are unreliable, it’s just inaccurate!
Coming back to the controversy around Krrish 3. We have spoken to a lot of exhibitors and distributors in the last few days, we also have theatre-wise figures from a few centres for the first week. According to our estimates, the Hindi version of the film has collected around Rs 138 crore in its first week and 170 crore net in the first 10 days. The Telugu and Tamil version has contributed around 12-13 crore, taking the lifetime collections of the film to around 182-183 crore. Again, these figures are not 100% accurate, just estimates.
Any source, any figure you take.. Krrish 3 is still one the biggest blockbusters of the year. It’s a hugely profitable film for all its investors.
Finally, a word of advice. Take your pick and trust the source that you think is most reliable. But stick to ONE source, don’t change it according to your convenience or liking towards your favourite star!
Have questions to ask? Post them in the comments section below.