Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam, MoneyControl
While January is not considered to be a lucrative month for the film business, this year it has turned out to be a big money-churner with films like Uri: The Surgical Strike, Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi.
With collections in the range of Rs 350-355 crore, the opening month of 2019 has surpassed the revenue of January 2018 that stood at Rs 338 crore. Superseding the last year’s January collection with Rs 10-15 crore, 2019 has started on a strong note.
To everyone’s surprise, Vicky Kaushal-starrer war drama has stood strong at the box office so much so that it has even broken one of the myths that the first film of the year will never work at the box office. While this myth was also broken by Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat, Uri’s success is unexpected as it is a mid-range film and not driven by star power.
Another January surprise is Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika that witnessed a healthy pace at the box office despite being a women-oriented film.
The month also saw a spillover effect of Simmba that released last year in December. Other small-ticket films like Thackeray, Accidental Prime Minister contributed significantly to the overall collection in January.
In an earlier interview to Moneycontrol, film trade analyst Joginder Tuteja had said that the success of this month brings good hopes for the coming months and that the numbers are huge which has never happened in January earlier.
In comparison to 2018, this year the starting month did not depend on one big-ticket film. Instead, it had a mix of genres and many compelling stories to offer.
“The good thing is all these five films are so different from each other Uri is a battle drama, Manikarnika is a period drama, Thackeray and The Accidental Prime Minister have been different kind of political biopics. And Simmba is out and out masala,” Tuteja had said.
In 2018, apart from Padmaavat there were no major successes in January. Films like Kaalakaandi, Mukkabaaz and 1921 could not add much to the overall film business.
On the regional front too, January has emerged as a strong year with films like Petta and Viswasam. The festival of Pongal, a four-day holiday period, made a huge difference to the revenue of the two films.
Indian films have not only scored well on their home turf in January this year but have made a mark in the overseas markets as well.
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