Why Chennai Express is Shahrukh Khan’s best bet: Box office

After coming off a career high in 2007 when both Chak De India and Om Shanti Om (2nd Highest Grosser Ever at that time) became Blockbusters, a string of unlucky events, incidents and controversies have affected every Shahrukh Khan release since 2008. Whatever be the reason, fact is Shahrukh has not had the highest grosser of the year since 2007 owing to a lot of factors. Let’s discuss the unfortunate, unlucky and sometimes unnecessary incidents that have rocked SRK films and then we’d notice how Chennai Express seems to be devoid of all those problems.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi: This film was supposed to release on 12th of December and a major marketing campaign was planned for two weeks leading up to the release. But the unfortunate and ghastly events of 26/11 which killed 166 people happened. Owing to this, YRF and Shahrukh put off all the promotional activities related to the film. Anushka Sharma was introduced to the media formally only after the film released. Also, Rab Ne.. had SRK in the look of a common man which the nation wasn’t used to. Even though the film did a business of 84 cr, it was clearly overshadowed by the marketing blitzkrieg of Ghajini and Aamir Khan. As a result, Ghajini (which occupied the crucial Christmas release date) became the first Hindi film ever to cross the 100 cr mark. It can be said that if RNBDJ was promoted like a normal film and enjoyed a holiday release, it COULD have been the first film to do 100 crore nett business in India.

Chennai Express

My Name Is Khan: The film dealt with a very non-commercial subject and did not have an universally appealing subject, which meant the box office prospects of the film in India were limited. Apart from this, there was huge uncertainty about the release of the film because Bal Thackerey and Shiv Sena opposed the release of the film and massive protests were held in many places. SRK’s only fault was saying that all cricketers, including Pakistanis, should be allowed to play in the IPL. People were afraid to go the theatres in its first weekend fearing protests and demonstrations which limited the box office collections in India. However, My Name Is Khan did scorching business overseas and became the 2nd highest grossing film of all time outside India.

Ra One: Shahrukh decided to spend almost all of his hard-earned fortune to fulfil his dream of making a futuristic Superhero film. The only problem was that Superhero films have never been a popular genre in India (Krrish is the only film which has worked so far). SRK decided to carry out the biggest marketing campaign in Hindi film history which ended up doing the film more harm than good. The marketing overkill lead to a Ra.One fatigue even before the release of the film and there was immense negativity all over even before the film was revealed. As a result, the audience rejected Ra.One (amusingly it registered the highest single day collections ever on its second day of release). The film had potential to break 3 Idiots’ record of 202cr but the negativity (both pre and post-release) bunged it from doing so.

Don 2: The bad-will earned from Ra.One badly hurt the chances of Don 2 because it released less than 2 months after Ra.One. Don 2 did not have any commercial hit music nor did it have a commercial storyline or treatment. It was a bland film which was modeled on Hollywood action thrillers. The length and pace of the film also hurt the film badly. Also, the romance track between SRK and Priyanka Chopra was very heretical. A film like Don 2 did not have any chances at the mass theatres but it still went on to earn a hefty 106cr back in 2011. Experienced trade analysts believe that if Don 2 was released before Ra.One, it would have earned a lot more money than it eventually did.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan: This was Shahrukh’s most ill-fated film yet. 3 weeks before the release of the film, the director of the film Yash Chopra passed away. It clashed with a massy action comedy film like Son of Sardaar and was 3 hours long. It released in only about 2600 screens (in comparison, Dabangg 2 released in 3600 screens in India). The Shiv Sena scion Bal Thackerey died and there was a Maharashtra Bandh which led to theatres being closed in Maharashtra on the first Saturday and Sunday of JTHJ’s run (Maharashtra circle was doing the best business for the fulm). The clash and the bad publicity leading up to the clash hurt the film negatively. And on top of that, the music by AR Rahman left a sizeable portion of the audience disappointed. Also the chemistry between SRK and Katrina Kaif wasn’t appreciated by the general audience.

The negative factors, therefore, which have affected SRK’s last 5 films are: 26/11 terrorist attacks, no promotion, too much promotion, poor content, massive protests by a political party against SRK, negative publicity, clash, non-holiday release dates, non-massy films, average soundtracks. Chennai Express does not have any of those problems affecting it right now, except probably a mediocre music album.

Chennai Express seems to be ticking all the right boxes which should give it a very favourable release: a holiday release, no clash, a huge number of screens (3500-3600), the length is rumoured to be around only 135-145 minutes, there have been no major controversies surrounding the film so far, the treatment of the film is massy, the film is directed by the Rohit Shetty whose last 3 films have all crossed 100cr, it stars the current audience favourite Deepika Padukone opposite SRK, it is co-produced and distributed by arguably the No.1 production house in India – UTV. And oh, the last big film (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag) to release would already have been 4 weeks old when Chennai Express releases.

The favourable release conditions would ensure that Chennai Express will take a bumber opening, but at the end of the day the film has to meet audience expectations and it has to entertain everyone to fulfil its true potential. Even if a film releases on a holiday and has 8 open weeks, has super-hit music and is massy it is NOT guaranteed to earn big money if the appreciation is lacking. If it manages to appease the audiences, then more than a few records will be broken this Eid. If it doesn’t there will be serious question marks over Shahrukh Khan’s super-stardom!



  • it ll be a huge hit!

    I m die hard Srk Fan n I have the courage to say.. if Chennai Express doesnt do 150 cr he is no longer a superstar. And haters have to agree he is the BAAP of bollywood if it does…

  • CE is not Srk’s best bet bcoz it is not a YRF or Dharma productions movie and his movies underperforms without these 2 biggest production houses of bollywood.

  • These r all excuses bcoz if a movie is good then people will surely watch it in theatres no matter whatever the situation.

  • before the release of happy new year.
    same above article will be there with one more addition.
    chennai express:ce is full on masala movie,where srk is a romantic hero.its not the perfect selection by srk.ouatimd effected ce in its second weekend.deepikas accent was not liked by all.songs were also not great.some south indian releases effected the films collections.because of its south indian background north indians didnt liked it.even with all the above minuses ce managed to collect 95cr.
    now happy new year is the best fot srk.farah khan direction.super hit combo is back.
    now its sure hny will break all the records.

  • not only the fans, even the haters know these events which have hampered the BO collections of SRK starrers……but they still like to criticize him as he is Bollywood’s Best Bet……see ya next Saturday when the Opening day record would have been smashed by CE……..

  • How come every time SRK movies flop, excuses pop out from nowhere???

    There is no denying that SRK is a brand, so is Salman and so is Aamir. But the problem is SRK fans abuse other stars, degrade them and show SRK as the most popular star on Earth (which is nothing but a hallucination his fans have). They spread negativity to others movies even when a promo/teaser releases on YouTube, and his fans expect others to embrace whatever movie SRK does ! Why?

    All movies of SRK post OSO were pathetic or not good (as explained by Indicine’s article here), or rather they had poor music or wrong content. Then terrorist attacks and so on. But these are just lame excuses. SRK fans say all Salman movies are pathetic, sadak chap, but how come all his last 4-5 movies are Blockbusters? Coz they had Masala Content and Hit Music? Ra.1 too had hit music, promoted for 9 months. It had supposedly the biggest Star of this Universe, still it fell flat. Why? Content was poor. Sci-Fi movies dont work. Then why Krissh worked?

    Now what will be the excuse if CE does not work?? Blame it on Music. Then say there is war in Syria, Iraq.. Then say two neighbors who were going to watch CE were fighting and they missed watching it. Then say, there was a rain. Then say, there was a traffic Jam or else it wud have crossed 200 cr. Or say CE is only for “Classy Masses”..

    Excuses from SRK fan is endless:

    2008 – Rab Ne – Promoted as DDLJ team back – Fail – Terrorist Attacks
    2009 – Billu – SRK in all posters – 4 item songs – Fail – Not a SRK movie.
    2010 – MNIK – Not a Mass Movie (Ironically, still had the biggest release size and promoted heavily) – Fail – Shiv Sena protest.
    2011 – Ra.One – Biggest Release – 3D – Regional Dubbing – Diwali – ChamakChallo – Akon – Fail – Sci-Fi movies dont work.
    2011 – Don 2 – 3D again – Regional Dubbing – Big Release Size – Fail – It was too stylish.
    2012 – JTHJ – Yash Chopra+ARR+SRK+Katrina – SRK in his favorite Genre – Diwali – Fail – Bal Thackrey Died, Yash ji died, bad music from ARR.

    2013 – CE – Masala Movie – Biggest Release – Eid – WHAT WILL BE THE EXCUSE?

    • @Jordon, Rab Ne wasnt a failure. It was a blockbuster.

      Billu: you cant really blame him for that. It was only a extended special appearance.

      MNIK: Yes, the domestic business was slightly below expectations, but it wasnt a film with mass appeal.

      Business wise only two of SRK films have been disappointing to me. RaOne and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (considering the pre release hype)

  • RA 1 excuse was really very silly and the people who said at that time that it will break “3 idiots” record have disappeared after its release.lol

    • This article is from a ‘fans’ point-of-view. It is a fact that l except Ra One and Don 2, none of SRK’s last few films have released under ideal circumstances.

      As mentioned in the article, Chennai Express has everything going for it. So if this doesnt break records, dont think the next Shahrukh film can either.

      Also, to be fair to him.. all of his last three films have easily crossed the 100 crore mark domestic and 200 crores worldwide. Dont really understand why those films are widely believed to be underperformers at the box office.

      Imagine if he gets it right? If one of his films, in this case Chennai Express, is universally accepted.. then it should easily do 150 crore+

  • after the fans, now even indicine has started giving excuses for the under performances of srk films. seems like excuses given by fans weren’t enough. what a lame excuse for don 2?! don 2 didn’t have good music so what should we do ??? is that our fault ??? there are many movies which have underperformed due to lack of popular music, mention excuses for them too. akshay’s joker was a debacle but OMG was a big hit which was released in a very small gap. stop giving lame excuses. ra.one was not the first of its kind, indians had already seen koi mil gaya,krrish and drona and the first two movies were blockbusters. and stop giving excuses for jab tak hai jaan, it has got almost 2700-2800 screens, its enough and it had got more than enough promotions. the only reason for underperformance of srk films are content failure,poor performance and srk himself.

  • The first and the fore most thing is…..with each srk release , a group of paid media used to spread negativity in audiences….we all know that who are those people , who r indulge in spreading all those fake rumors and who controls them to do so…..but still, on the other side there is a rock named as “sharukh khan”, who stands firmly against such cheap tactics and each time, makes haters insecure (actually mad) by his performance and charisma….it’s quite obvious that if we talk abt personal loyal fans count, then srk has the most no. of loyal fans…..bcoz his movies r watched only by his fans and at some extent, by hritik fans…..no other actor fans watch his movies …bcoz they r as insecure as his idols….they think that if they will buy a single ticket….it may be increase the collection of srk’s movies….but haters, listen one thing….u put ur whole strength to spread negativity …but we loyal srk fans r there to make his each film a successful one…let’s see, who wins this battle — loyalism vs haterness.

  • Hw many Ifs n. Buts are there.

    Im confuse
    First U said No Promotion kills the Film Thn SRK did promtion n Tht Also Kills Film, Tell me wat shud he have done, Film Got Free Publicity Like ShivseNA incident, Yashraj Incident.

    Every one shud accept his days are Over.

  • When it comes to jthj music,i cann’t understand why ppl say it was disappointing? ?
    Okay,it the beginning,ppl didn’t like those songs. .but later on,all songs became much popular. The biggest limitation was kat’s acting.
    And though rnbj and mnik were n’t the highest grossers of those year,but they are two ever green movies. .
    About raone,i think it was disappointing. .

    Though he may n’t be my fav,I always respect srk. .his amazing acting skill,his charming smile,his meaningful movies are just amazing. .

  • @boss……u seriously need to worry about ouatimd…which has a buzz of only 40%….it will have to share the screens with ce in second week and then “madras cafe” and “satyagraha” will take the charge…..so that 95 cr , which u mentioned in ur comment is actually for ouatimd….though i wonder if it wud collect even 80 cr…forget 95 cr……and it’s surprising that the people , who gave excuses about “k786″…that it was affected by “talaash” and “Dabangg 2” and about “s26”..that it’s subject was not mass oriented…r commenting here about excuses…..first tell me, y ur so called superstar struggled with a massy like “k786” to cross 75 cr???? forget that 100 cr barrier……

  • xzone:
    for ur kind information akshay fans never given excuses for flop films.we accepted them as underperformers.and we never said akkis next movie will break allthe records.
    as u said we will know within 15 days,which film can collect how much.
    ok cool.

  • I am just beginning to wonder what will happen to SRK’s career if after so much of promotions & Such a wide release about 4000 screens the(biggest so far) & increased ticket prices( rs 500) ,Holiday period,solo release, the movie fails to create magic???

    Content wise its massy & not something historic so i have my doubts.
    Opening will be good but sustaining it looks difficult.

  • Hw Many Excuses,
    JTHJ relased only On 2600 Screens, N Do u remember Dabangg releases only on 1600 Screens, Ready 1700 Screens n Bodyguard 2250 Screens N All Above movies were Blockbusters. N in Negativity Bodyguard was also in the Reace.

    But wat was the difference Only SaLman Khan who is biggest Crowd Puller,

    N BTW Every above rease of SRK was Holiday Release Even MNIk released on Valentine, But Every Movie did fail Misreabily,

    N ua Talking about Screen Space Let me tell U Ra-One was Widest release of tht time around 3000 screens n Thn DON2 was Also Widest Release breaking Srks Own Ra-0ne Record ddid release around 3100 screens.

    N Hw Cud u forget VEER, Tht was also overpromoted by Salman But came Average Groser, but that didnt Affect Salmans Upcoming movies,

    Ready n Bodyguard had only Two months gape,

    N ETT n Dabangg2 also had 3 months.

    But We Salmania never complaint.

    Tht was also Salmans Power No one Bothers to relase His Movies around Salman khans Movie,

    Nw Leave Excuses.

  • If his underperforming films are all doing 200cr gross worldwide, wonder what will happen if one his films clicks ! Epic sad moment for haters .

  • @Indicine Team: how interesting seeing you people protect srk…now i got why you published article on outimd saying it’ll only collect 35 cr first weekend,60cr first week and life time 100cr.
    any ways it doesn’t matter what you write but,it will definately matter how the film has become…

  • indicine
    i agree with u on one point.srks previous films were not underperformers.
    and if any big star movie with huge hype,with a big holiday,with big screen relese can collect more even if it is a bad movie.take the ex of tees maar khan.it was one of the worst movie of all time.
    all the above things were with it.and it collected 70cr .70cr was a big no at that time

  • Supports the view of indicine team. One question for indicine team- If chennai express collects 30 crore on hindi language and 5 crore on tamil language net(suppose) then can we assume chennai express set history by earning 35 crore or still ek tha tiger is winner since hindi version collects only 30 crore.

  • @Indicine. I have analyzed dat srk’s films do excelent business in overseas as compared to others becoz he promotes his films heavily in the overseas too. I have never seen other actors doing the same for their films in overseas. I think dis is the only reason for srk’s big success in the overseas..don’t u think so??

  • @sonumb. U r wrong. Don 2 , jthj both were excelent movies bt failed 2 collect more than 105 cr.. Srk’s good movies like don 2 , jthj collect 102 cr then just think what will happen 2 an average film like chennai express?

  • Chennai express is sure shot ATBB. here are tthe collection prediction from distributors.

    Fri : 34cr
    Sat : 24cr
    Sun: 30cr
    Mon : 16cr
    Tue : 14cr
    Wed :11cr
    Thu : 19cr

    So total 1 week collection will be 148-150cr

    Second week OUATMD will take 2200 screens. So chennai express will only be having 1400-1600 screens.
    Second Weekend : 28cr
    Second Week ; 45cr

    Third week will be very good for the movie as it will run on the same number of screens
    Third Weekend : 15cr
    Third week : 25cr
    So Three week total will be 215 cr and remaining week will add another 20 cr so
    Life time will be 245-250 cr and Overseas collection will add another 150-170 cr.
    And Folks thats guarantee.

  • no point in fighting , haterz,
    150 cr is surety for CE ..
    M predicting the lowest possible collection..
    weekend =74cr
    week1=115cr![even in worst case collection ll be 120cr]
    2nd week at worst =25 cr
    after week 2 =140
    n rest 10cr in week 3,4

    so mind it 150 cr is 150 %sure fools..

  • @Indicine
    you are saying that RNBDJ was not promoted bcoz of 26/11 but Gajhini Which released just 2 weeks after RNBDJ had ample time for Promotion????

    Just tell me for Gajhini was their no 26/11 Attacks….or these excuses are only reserved for SRK films????

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