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Brahmastra makes it big at the box office but is there any profit?


It might have ended the box office drought which has seen three blockbusters flop over the past two months but will the producers and distributors of Brahmastra make any money?

The film, made by Dharma Productions, is Bollywood’s most expensive, costing Rs 410 crore. The country’s largest movie theatre chain, PVR, is elated. It saw average occupancy rates hit 80 per cent at the weekend across 650 screens (compared to around 30 per cent in July-August).

“We have garnered gross box office (includes all taxes) collections of Rs 37.5 crore over the weekend. It will be among the top three performers at PVR in the post-covid era and is a crucial film for PVR and the industry,” said PVR’s chief of business planning and strategy, Kamal Gianchandani.

Dharma Production head Karan Johar declared on Twitter that the movie has achieved worldwide gross box office collections of Rs 75 crore on the first day. The net collection will be far lower at an estimated Rs 35 crore.

Film trade analysts say they expect Brahmastra to hit a net collection of Rs 100 crore, after making around Rs 75 crore in the first two days from 5000 screens.

Trade analyst Komal Nahata said the tide was finally turning. “With average occupancy of 50 per cent for the movie across the country, we expect it to reach at least net box office collections of Rs 250 crore, with a good chance to even make it to Rs 300 crore.”

However, many in the industry question whether even this projected box office collection will be enough for the movie to cover its costs and make a profit.

For one, the cost does not include the interest that has to be paid out by virtue of the fact that the film has been in the making for many years. Some estimate the interest could take the cost of the film to over Rs 500 crore.

But irrespective of the interest bill, even if net box office collections hit Rs 300 crore, the producers and distributors (Star Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) will get only a 45 per cent share, ie around Rs 135 crore, as the rest will go to the exhibitors.

“Even at Rs 410 crore, they have to make another Rs 275 crore to break even from OTT, satellite rights, music, and overseas income. It seems a tough task,” said a top production house executive.

Trade analysts say the OTT rights are believed to have been sold to Disney+Hotstar at Rs 150 crore so even that leaves a substantial gap.

For perspective, though, the first weekend numbers of Bhramastra have to be compared favourably to the flops in July and August of Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera, Aamir Khan’s Lal Singh Chadha, and Akshay Kumar’s Raksha Bandhan which collectively garnered less than Rs 180 crore on a budget of Rs 490 crore.

In terms of first day opening, Bhramasta is among the top ten list but it is still far smaller than the Rs 53.95 crore first day opening of KGF2 in 2022 (only Hindi).

The film’s success has also not set the markets on fire. PVR saw its share price fall by 5.24 per cent to Rs 1,833 on Friday, the day of the release. But trade analysts say to link the two is unfair.

The Brahmastra business reality

  • The movie set to hit Rs 100 crore net box office collections in the first weekend.

  • Occupancy rates in theatres have hit 50 per cent with PVRs at 80 per cent.

  • Best first day opening in 2022 but trails KGF2.

  • Most expensive Hindi film at Rs 410 crore. Some say that with interest costs it will be far higher.

  • Even at net box office collections of Rs 300 crore, it will struggle to break even because it shares 55 per cent of box office collections with exhibitors.


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