Aladdin has all elements to draw large audiences to theatres with the film having Bollywood style dance sequences, something that is very hard to find in Hollywood productions
Call it nostalgia or a family entertainer, Aladdin is spreading its magic at the Indian box office despite competition from new Bollywood releases and holdovers. Among films like India’s Most Wanted, PM Narendra Modi and Ajay Devgn’s De De Pyaar De, the Hollywood venture has emerged as the first choice of the movie-goers.
This is why the film managed to rake in twice the business of new local offerings. While Aladdin minted Rs 4.25 crore on its opening day, PM Narendra Modi and India’s Most Wanted collected Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 2 crore, respectively.
That India is an important market for Disney is known, and Aladdin has all elements to draw large audiences to theatres. Because the film is not only released in many local versions including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu but it also has many Bollywood style dance sequences, something that is very hard to find in Hollywood productions.
In addition, the Indian audience has always fancied middle-eastern folk stories especially from the collection One Thousand and One Nights. Night’s stories like Aladdin and Alibaba and Challis Chor became a cash cow for not only film business but also for Indian television. And this way the fantasy genre of filmmaking gathered steam in India both on big and small screen.
Aladdin as a film has better prospects in the Indian market with most of its versions tasting success (Disney’s 1992 animated film was a global hit). Disney is building a brand in India thanks to the number of recent successes it witnessed in the country.
Talking about brand Disney, the top three Hollywood grossers in India are all Disney products. From Avengers: Endgame to Infinity War to The Jungle Book all belong to Disney and the studio's success story doesn’t end at that. What more is to be counted are the hit films like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, AntMan and the Wasp, among others.
Plus, Disney has a lot in-store for the Indian cinema-goers this year especially with Dark Phoenix from the X-Men franchise coming on to the silver screen. It will be the first product after Disney purchased film and television assets of 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion in March this year.
While Aladdin’s chances look bright, film trade analysts expect local productions like PM Narendra Modi and India’s Most Wanted may gain steam in the coming days due to word of mouth. However, the advance booking for the two were not promising especially in Mumbai and Delhi circuits.
The Vivek Oberoi-starrer was below expectations in the Mumbai circuit with just about 10 percent shows filling fast and India’s Most Wanted was poorer than Modi biopic, with a negligible number of fast filling shows.
Similar was the scenario in Delhi-NCR where the two films saw 15-20 percent and 5-10 percent occupancy for its shows, respectively.
While territories like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai saw show occupancies filling in the range of 35-60 percent, it did not translate into big numbers on the opening day.This is not the first time when Hollywood has proved to be a tough competition for Indian films and it looks like this time too, Hollywood would score over Bollywood with Disney’s latest live-action adaptation.
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