Earlier filmmakers would prefer to not release their films during the month of January except the Republic Day weekend. January was called the jinxed month as not many films would do well at the box office. But 2019 has clearly turned out to be different. First, let’s talk about the blockbuster movie Uri: The Surgical Strike which was made on the budget of Rs 28 crore. It has collected Rs 192.30 crore (according to Box Office India) at the box office till date. The movie is still running in the theatres in its fourth week doing much better than the new releases.
Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna starrer The Accidental Prime Minister might have been in news for various controversies that revolved around it, but the movie did reasonably good business at the box office. Not just The Accidental Prime Minister, in January itself we saw one more film with the backdrop of politics. We are talking about Balasaheb Thackeray’s biopics titled Thackeray starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead role. The movie that was made on a budget of Rs 20 crore went on to collect Rs 25 crore (according to Box Office India. Hindi + Marathi) in its first week. Though it faded away in its second week, this one is clearly proving to be a profitable venture for the makers.
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Now let’s talk about the biggest release of January 2019, Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi. The movie has been doing quite well at the box office. It has collected Rs 74.31 crore (according to Box Office India) till date which is good for a woman-centric film. But the high budget is a big problem here. We spoke to the eminent film trade and business analyst, Girish Johar to take his views on Manikarnika and the collection of the film. He said, “Everyone knows what hurdles Manikarnika has faced, so first of all I would like to congratulate Kangana for pulling this one up. It is a big thing to finally release a film of this mammoth and scale. She has seen a lot of ups and downs in the cast and crew and reshoots and delays. But the unfortunate part is that the cost of the film is unusually high, so keeping that in mind, at best I believe it will settle down being an average film.”
When asked to share his take on January month being a jinxed and how 2019 has turned out to be different, Girish Johar said, “If you go three years beyond, it was very rightly said that due to excessive cold or lack of good content, big films used to be avoided in January. But last year, it was Padmaavat and a year before that there was also another film which clocked the box office century and now, Uri being the third one. It is now on the verge of doing the double century. So, January has suddenly come out of its jinx and is maintaining a good pace at the annual box office, it is contributing quite well to the annual calendar. Obviously, it’s a mix of good content available and people coming out to watch more movies in this month.” When probed if it is because of the good content that has worked, he said, “100 percent, because if you see the other content is not working. If the content is good then only the films run because it is the content which is being appreciated by everyone.”
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Moving further when we asked him if nowadays it is more about content than the face value in the films, Girish Johar said, “See face value definitely adds more led to the box office initially, face value is obviously an added advantage, but for sure content is the backbone.”
We also spoke to another trade analyst Amod Mehra about the January month being a jinxed one, he begged to differ. He said, “Last year was also good, there was Padmaavat. The so-called jinxed is not there and jinxed are not supposed to be for the lifetime. It is not the writing on the wall or something like you cannot release the film in January and it will not do well. There are some major hits like Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai and many others that released in January and all have done well. If you have a good product then there’s no such thing. It is said that the release in the first week of January is always a flop, but No One Killed Jessica released in the first week of January and it did decently well. This year, the month of January has been very fruitful for the film industry, we had a major hit with Uri, and then we have Manikarnika that has also done reasonably well.”
The conclusion here is that if the content is good, it will work well at the box office irrespective of the month it is releasing in. 2018 proved the audiences are now looking for good content and even big stars need a good story if they want their movies to work at the box office.