Brahmastra Part One: Shiva, the first installment of Bollywood’s ambitious ‘Astraverse’ trilogy, roared at the box office over the weekend. The film grossed more than Rs 123 crore in domestic collections from Hindi and South (Rs 15 crore) markets in three days, in what is being touted as the biggest Bollywood opening of the year.
Brahmastra has lifted not just film trade sentiments but also the stocks of multiplex operators. PVR shares were up 3.85 per cent, while Inox gained 4.45 per cent in afternoon trade on BSE on Monday.
What really is driving the collections? Is it increased footfalls or higher ticket prices or dubbed versions of the film in regional markets?
Brokerages say footfalls and theatre occupancy continue to be 20 per cent lower than pre-Covid levels. “If you compare footfalls of Brahmastra to a large-scale Hindi release pre-Covid like Kabir Singh or War, it is down at least 20 per cent. And that is the problem area for the industry now,” Karan Taurani, SVP, Elara Capital, tells Business Today.
“In Q1 FY23 too, footfalls were down 8-10 per cent despite content being so compelling. Even for RRR, footfalls were down 20 per cent compared to Baahubali,” he shares.
Breaking down the numbers
So, if you read the fine print, it emerges that substantially higher ticket prices (a premium of 25-30 percent) across multiplex chains have driven Brahmastra’s opening weekend collections. “National chains are seeing extraordinary numbers,” tweeted trade analyst Taran Adarsh. He pegs weekend collections of top multiplex operators at nearly Rs 60 crore.
A quick round-up of key multiplexes in the Mumbai circuit, which contributes a significant share to the Bollywood box office, reveals that Brahmastra tickets have been priced obscenely high in some places.
Even for the regular 2D format, the cost of a non-recliner seat is upwards of Rs 600 in PVR, Inox, and Cinepolis. While those for 3D versions in premium and luxury theatres breached the Rs 1,000 mark in INOX Insignia, PVR Luxe, and Jio Drive-in theatre, PVR.
Taurani says, “Ticket prices went up by 30 per cent because of the 3D version, which is why the opening was strong. The film is popular in the 15-25 age group because of its VFX.”
Regional and overseas are key
He, however, reckons that box office numbers will see a “sharp drop” in the weekdays because the highs of the weekend aren’t “sustainable”. As a result, regional and overseas markets become critical in determining the lifetime collections of Brahmastra.
“Economics becomes challenging if these films don't fire overseas. Growth will come if it happens,” says Taurani. As per his projections, Brahmastra could potentially earn Rs 120-130 crore from international territories.
As for South markets, trade analyst Sumit Kadel shares that dubbed versions of Brahmastra grossed Rs 15 crore over the weekend. In Elara Capital’s estimates, the dubbed versions could contribute roughly 15 per cent to the film’s lifetime collections, which is lesser than the 40 per cent Hindi dubbed version made for RRR.
Beyond the granular economics, the omnipresent question is: Will Brahmastra recover its mammoth cost of production (est. Rs 450 crore)?
With projected domestic net collections at ~Rs 225 crore (producer share of Rs 110 crore), international collections at Rs 100-120 crore (producer share of Rs 50 crore), and music, digital, and satellite earnings combined at Rs 150 crore, “there might still be some shortfall”, says an expert.
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