Shahrukh Khan’s Happy New Year and Aamir Khan’s PK are both potential 300 crore grossers in India. But it would take much more than just a earth-shattering opening for the two films to become the first to the 300 crore mark.
Below are some factors that we think are important for any film hoping to collect 300 cr.
Top male star: Like it or not, Bollywood is a star-driven male-dominated industry, and to an extent Khan-dominated too. Only the Top 5 stars in the country are currently capable of delivering huge grossers. Without them, the highest grossing film is currently Singham Returns (139 cr net, Dhoom 3 more than doubled this!). PK and Happy New Year both tick the first box, SRK and Aamir are in the Top 3.
Festive release and genre: The three most lucrative festivals at the box office are Eid, Diwali and Christmas. The highest grossing film outside the three festivals is Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (183 cr). Both PK and Happy New Year release during Christmas and Diwali respectively. Genre is important too, without mass-appeal, the audience in smaller theatres won’t come out to watch the film in theatres. Happy New Year has the edge here, PK will do extra-ordinarily well at multiplexes, but will the single-screen business be equally good? 3 Idiots also didn’t look a film that would appeal to the masses, but it did!
Record opening: Business on first day and the first weekend will be crucial too, because if a film can’t collect 100 crore or more in its first 3 days, it can’t cross 300 crore even if the trend is good – unless the appreciation is as good as 3 Idiots, of course! Out of all films that have crossed 200 crore, only 3 Idiots collected less than 150 crore in its first week at the box office. The Hirani classic collected just 79 crore in Week 1, but went on to collect 123 crore after its first week – something that no film has managed to do. Both PK and Happy New Year will take record opening, but the collections after Week 1 will decide if the two films can cross 300.
Which brings us to the last, but most important factor..
Positive word-of-mouth: Content is King. If a film isn’t universally accepted, it simply cannot cross the 250 crore mark. All the 200 crore grossers like Dhoom 3, Krrish 3, Chennai Express, Kick and 3 Idiots were liked by majority of the audience. Others like Dabangg 2, Bang Bang, Singham Returns fell well short because the response was mixed to negative. On paper, PK has a better chance here as Rajkumar Hirani is one of the best directors of the country. Farah Khan and SRK have done it before too with their last release Om Shanti Om, but the footfalls of OSO was much lower even if compared to a film like Chennai Express.