Sep 14, 2017 08:07 PM IST | Source:

Horror flick It spooks away box office blues with Rs 11 crore haul

Hollywood's It is breaking records at the US box office and in India too the film has received a warm welcome

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

Remember the last time Ram Gopal Verma tried his hand at horror movies but didn’t even manage to scare children. Maybe all such failed attempts led to loss of interest in the horror genre in India. But, the successful run of Andy Muschietti-directed horror film It is showing a trend reversal as the movie collected more than Rs 8 crore over the weekend.

Despite of having competition from local content like Arjun Rampal’s Daddy which is based on gangster Arun Gawli’s life and Deol brothers' slapstick comedy Poster Boys, It raced past the box office collections of the two movies with Rs 11.35 crore on Monday. While Poster Boys earned Rs 8.35 crore for the same period, Daddy was unable to be in the Rs 8 crore range and ended with Rs 5.20 crore till Monday.

Film trade analysts are saying that the revival of the horror genre could be attributed to well-made Hollywood horror films. Another reason could be due to lack of quality content from Bollywood movies.

Director Vikram Bhatt, who has made films like Raaz, 1920 and Haunted- 3D, in an interview had suggested to those trying their hand at horror films that these movies should be "high on the believable factor" minus the "mumbo jumbo" to boost the growth of this genre in India.

Made at a modest budget of Rs 224 crore, It released across India in four languages — English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil. This could have worked for the film as dubbing movies in regional languages gets them a wider reach as they even play in single screen theatres.

The film It is not the only contributor to increase the fear factor in India but films like Conjuring franchise, Paranormal Activity, Don’t Breathe and many more gave goosebumps to the cine-goers. The proof of this is box office collections showing the evil clown Pennywise in the film It is not the only one to make the audience sit at the edge of their seats.

A look at the earnings of Conjuring franchise shows how Indians are hungry for more horror movies. Annabelle Creation had garnered Rs 50 crore in India and the sequel of Conjuring had added Rs 61.78 crore. Conjuring 2 not only opened to a good start but had continued its pace in the second week despite of new releases like Udta Punjab and Now You See Me 2.

Conjuring 2 was also last year’s second-highest grosser in India, while Conjuring which released in 2013, was the seventh-highest grosser with collections going up to Rs 22.76 crore. Another film from the world of Conjuring was Annabelle that was well received in south India, especially Tamil Nadu where the film collected Rs 41 lakh from 30 screens.

Indian directors have made attempts to make horror films and while a few failed miserably there have been filmmakers who have seen success in this genre. One of them is Vikram Bhatt and his 2002 film Raaz brought the lost interest in this genre back with collections worth Rs 21.46 crore.

However, few Bollywood films could scare the audiences leave alone replicate Raaz’s success. Since Ragini MMS 2 which rung in Rs 46.56 crore at the box office, films in the genre failed to to click with the moviegoers despite of roping in big stars for such films.

Analysts are of the opinion that the trick for a successful horror film is not in getting stars to the big screen but the ball lies in the director’s court. It is his vision and support from the cinematographer, music department that can up the horror game.

The slump that is felt in the Indian film industry is also being felt in Hollywood as North American ticket sales are down by 6 percent this year so far as compared to last year, as per Box Office Mojo.

While US box office faced one of its worst summers in years, a dip by 16 percent as against the summer of 2016, the movie It’s debut turned the tables. The film has grossed USD 123 million at the US box office for its opening weekend plus USD 66 million overseas, according to Box Office Mojo.

This is regarded as the biggest opening weekend for any film in the horror genre and the largest September opening of all-time. According to estimates, the horror hit is expected to gather USD 6 million from 46 market overseas.
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