China has become world’s largest cinema market with a screen count of 50,776
After the unprecedented success of Dangal and Secret Superstar in China, Bollywood is trying to leverage this new market by releasing more movies and focusing on a wider release in the neighbouring nation. However, things aren’t going in Bollywood’s favour lately as two new ventures have shown lackluster performance in the Chinese film market.
The recently released Akshay Kumar-starrer PadMan began its China journey with $1.52 million (including paid previews), which is approximately Rs 10.93 crore. The opening day score is lower than Kumar’s previous release Toilet: EK Prem Katha, which did business of $2.35 million (Rs 16.61 crore). Over the weekend, the film managed to garner $5.22 million (Rs 37 crore).
Another Bollywood offering that has been unable to make a mark in China is 102 Not Out, starring Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan. Its first day numbers are lower than that of PadMan with $1.22 million (Rs 8.51 crore) on day one in China.
While Hichki featuring Rani Mukherjee had started on a low note, it saw a turnaround over the weekend. It had doubled its first day collection on the second day. It also became sixth Indian film to score a century in China.
Hichki’s success in China highlighted the fact that realistic cinema with a humane connect is touching the movie-goers’ heart in the country. However, the lesser appreciation for PadMan and 102 Not Out, both having quality content and human interest angle, has again raised the question of what works in China.
When it was a no-show for Sultan and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, experts had said for Indian films, it is not the big-screen spectacles or unbelievable story lines that is working with the Chinese audience.
In fact, Amit Sharma, MD of Miraj Cinemas, had said in an earlier interview to Moneycontrol that the Chinese audience wants to see realistic cinema from India. “If you look at Indian cinema that has gone and performed well in China, all of them have realism attached."
But the China picture for India remains unclear. Yet there are certain films that are betting big on the Chinese market. Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan that tanked at the Indian box office will be trying its luck in the East Asian country.
The film is likely to release in the country next week and it looks like Yash Raj Films (YRF) is banking on Aamir Khan’s popularity among the Chinese audiences. Thugs of Hindostan will be Aamir’s sixth film to release there. Its predecessors have tasted success and all eyes are on whether the new Aamir offering will be able to achieve the same feat.
However, it could be a risky affair considering big screen spectacles from India have not been high yielding in China. And that is why the Chinese distributors are not taking the risk of outright purchase of the film, said a Koimoi report. They are, instead, looking at a profit-sharing deal.China has become world’s largest cinema markets with a screen count of 50,776. Plus, movie ticket prices are higher in China which makes its box office number bigger. An average ticket rate in China falls in $7-15 range. These factors make China an important market for India.