Economics of Ra.One

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The article details the budget, pre-release economics and the total worldwide gross of the 2011 Indian superhero film Ra.One.

Budget

The production budget of Ra.One was a matter of much debate prior to the film's release. A number of estimates regarding the film's budget were made by trade analysts. The Week stated the film's budget as Template:INRConvert.[1] Box Office India estimated that the final total investment for the film was Template:INRConvert.[2] Several sources have placed the budget at Template:INRConvert,[3][4] and Template:INRConvert.[5] Despite the large number of estimates, it was universally accepted that Ra.One was the most expensive Bollywood film as of that time;[6] certain sources labelled Ra.One as the most expensive Indian film ever.[7]

The high cost of the film was a matter of concern regarding the profitability of the film. Noted trade analyst Komal Nahta compared Ra.One to other major Bollywood films, and commented that: "Ra.One's cost has [also] dented it's profitability since both 3 Idiots and Bodyguard were made at half the price of SRK's magnum opus."[8] The high budget of the film meant high prices for distributor rights, further lowering possible profits. Sinha jokingly commented that "the biggest special effects happened in Shahrukh’s house when he kept on adding zeroes to the budget. One day’s shoot in London for Ra.One cost the entire budget of my first film (2001 film Tum Bin)."[9]

According to Khan, the budget of Ra.One is Template:INRConvert.[10] The lower budget figure was attributed to the fact that the film's production took place in overseas locations (namely the UK). Nahta said, "Fiji Islands have declared a 50% and UK a 25%–30% subsidy for filmmakers. But it is also about giving a different experience to the viewer." As per reports, Ra.One received a subsidy of Template:INRConvert from the UK government in the form of tax rebates and other expense waivers; additionally, costs were reduced due to the completion of filming in a single schedule.[11] It was later reported that the film had been financed entirely by Khan himself, and no money was borrowed for financing the film. Khan revealed in an interview that, "I have been working really hard making appearances and shows because I needed the money to complete the film."[12] Khan stated that he had hosted the poorly viewed game show Zor Ka Jhatka, for which he got paid Template:INRConvert, just for financing the film.[13]

Pre-release economics

The worldwide distribution rights of Ra.One were acquired by Eros Entertainment for Template:INRConvert.[4] The distribution rights for the Tamil Nadu and Kerala regions were purchased by Abirami Ramanathan for a reportedly record, but undisclosed price.[14] Ra.One set a new record for total pre-release revenue earned, netting Template:INRConvert, and surpassed the previous record held by 3 Idiots, which had earned Template:INRConvert prior to its release.[15]

The advance booking of Ra.One began on October 20, 2011 at select theaters to a muted response, primarily due to the odd release day (Wednesday) which generally does not have a particular time frame for starting advance booking. The response was similar to other Wednesday releases such as Bodyguard.[16] On October 25, 2011, Box Office India reported that the advance bookings of Ra.One amounted to 20%–25% across India, with Nizam, Mysore and Ahmedabad circuits reporting huge numbers. While the overall advance was similar to Bodyguard, the volume of release gave Ra.One a considerable benefit; however, the advance in single screens was lower than Bodyguard.[17]

Advance booking trends spurred a number of predictions around the film's box office status, with most of them being overwhelmingly positive. On October 24, 2011, a cinema official commented that, "People are crazy about him [Khan], so much so that if the movie is released today, it will go houseful in no time."[18] Sunil Punjabi, the CEO of the multiplex chain Cinemax, pointed out that the film had witnessed a large number of bulk bookings several days prior to the release. A number of schools requested special shows of the film around the period of Children's Day. Due to the hype surrounding the film, ticket prices surged; the non-competitive release date slot and wide extent of release further boosted advance theatrical revenues. The 3D release of the film was also an avenue of higher ticket prices. Trade analyst Amod Mehra commented on Khan's international popularity, which would assure high overseas theatrical revenue; he subsequently claimed that Ra.One would earn Template:INRConvert in one week. A Delhi-based distributor Sanjay Ghai claimed that the film would earn Template:INRConvert in 23 days of theatrical run.[19] Similar sentiments were displayed overseas as well; analyst Patrick Yau stated that the earnings of all Eros films would "pale in comparison to Ra.One."[20] However, it was noted that to recoup its investment, the film would need to run for an extensive period in theaters, unlike the short-lived films Bodyguard or Singham.[21]

A few days prior to release, the advance booking of Ra.One was described as "phenomenal". A number of territories reported huge advance booking reports for the film. Box Office India commented that corporate bookings at major centers was "like never before".[16] Other factors for the huge advance bookings were the festive release and extensive promotion of the film. Due to the booking statistics, certain cinemas further increased the number of shows allotted to Ra.One.[18] However, the advance bookings of the film's 3D version had to be halted due to a lack of confirmation of the version's completion; certain distributors deemed the situation desirable.[22] The uncertainty was cleared when Khan reassured that the film's 3D version was read for release.[23]

Box Office

In February 2012, Box Office India reported that the Hindi version of Ra.One collected a worldwide gross revenue of Template:INRConvert.[24] According to Eros International, Ra.One grossed Template:INRConvert worldwide from all its versions.[25][26] Box Office India declared the film a "hit" in India,[27] and a "super hit" in the overseas markets.[28] According to Komal Nahta,Ra.one is neither a hit nor a flop in India.Ra.One is a successful film but not big enough to be referred to as a hit because some distributors lost money.[29]

India

Revenue table of Ra.One (Hindi) Blue highlights records set
Timeline Net Revenue Ref
Day 1 Template:Indian Rupee14.63 crores [30]
Day 2 Template:Indian Rupee22.8 crores [31]
Day 3 Template:Indian Rupee15.5 crores
First Weekend Template:Indian Rupee52.93 crores [32]
First Weekend* Template:Indian Rupee81 crores [33]
First Week Template:Indian Rupee91.27 crores [34]
First Week* Template:Indian Rupee97.47 crores [35]
Second Weekend Template:Indian Rupee9.65 crores [36]
Second Week Template:Indian Rupee15.29 crores [37]
Third Week Template:Indian Rupee1.43 crores [38]
Remaining Template:Indian Rupee59 lakhs
Lifetime Template:Indian Rupee114.78 crores [39]
* refers to extended timeline
Template:Indian Rupee1 crore = Template:Indian Rupee100 lakhs = Template:Indian Rupee10 million

At the end of its theatrical run in India, Ra.One netted Template:INRConvert, becoming the fifth highest-grossing Bollywood film at that time.[39] A major portion of the film's theatrical revenue came from the states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu/Kerala and Mysore.[40] The distributor share from the Hindi version of the film came to Template:INRConvert, which was the third-highest distributor share for a Bollywood film released in 2011, after Bodyguard and Ready.[41] Families and children comprised the majority of Ra.One's audience.[42]

On its first day, Ra.One debuted to occupancy levels in the range of 70–100% throughout India. The lower-than-expected occupancy was primarily due to Diwali festivities and Lakshmi Puja which affected evening shows; the morning opening was described as "historic" by several trade analysts.[43][44] The film then set the record for biggest Diwali opening day, out-grossing the previous record of Golmaal 3.[45] On its second day, Ra.One set the record for biggest single-day revenue of a film, breaking Bodyguard's previous first-day record. The film subsequently broke the record for the biggest three-day opening weekend, again previously held by Bodyguard. Subsequently. the five-day extended weekend of Ra.One came second to the previous extended weekend record held by Bodyguard.[33]

After the first extended weekend, the film's box office collections began to suffer considerable drops in collections (drops were visible even in its first extended weekend). Both the first week and first nine-day extended week of the film ended up ranking second to Bodyguard by a considerable margin. On its second weekend, Ra.One suffered a drop of 80% from its first (three-day) weekend. At the end of its second week, Ra.One declined by 83% compared to its first (seven-day) week, though the collections were boosted due to "Eid" falling within the second week.[46] The drop is put into further context by the fact that while Ra.One's first week was the second-highest at that time, its second week was ranked 24th.[37] After its second week, Ra.One failed to collect in a considerable manner. In its third week, the release of Rockstar resulted in a major screening space loss for Ra.One, and hence collections dropped by 90% compared to the second week. The film continued to collect at the theaters, but after the third week the collections dipped to well below the Template:INRConvert mark.

Dubbed and 3D versions

On its first day, Ra.One collected Template:INRConvert from the Tamil and Telugu versions.[47] At the end of the three-day weekend, the dubbed versions had collected a total net of Template:INRConvert.[33] The Tamil and Telugu versions collected Template:INRConvert in its first extended week, showing large drops throughout.[35]

Despite negative trending, the theatrical aspects of the film's 3D version were regarded as successful. The 3D version of the film witnessed a generally higher occupancy than the 2D version – it was reported that around 25% of the film's revenue came from the 3D version, even though 3D screens occupied only 15% of the film's release volume. Within this 3D revenue, 35% of the gross was contributed by smaller towns, though only 25% of the 3D screens were available in such areas. The success of the 3D version prompted a number of Bollywood films to opt for a 3D version, either by filming or by conversion; additionally, requests were obtained for the setting up of another 100 3D screens in the country. However, viewers subsequently complained of the difficulty of wearing heavy 3D glasses and watching a 3D film for a time period of nearly three hours; rectifying the problem would force a change in screenwriting towards compact, action-based films. Including the dubbed and 3D versions,Ra.One beat Salman's Bodyguard in both the first week and first nine-day extended week of the film.[48]

Overseas

File:Ra.One Japan.jpg
Ra.One's Japanese poster

Note: In this section, $ refers to US$ in all places.

The overseas release of Ra.One was spread across two phases, with most major markets covered in the first phase. Some markets involved a five-day weekend, similar to India, while other markets had an ordinary three-day weekend. Through its first three days overseas, the film earned $3.8 million, making it the fifth-biggest three-day debut at that time, and the highest debut of 2011 (subsequently, Don 2 passed Ra.One on both counts).[49] On its complete opening weekend, Ra.One debuted to $6.75 million overseas, which was the fourth biggest for a Bollywood film. With this, the film had a worldwide debut of Template:INRConvert, which set the record for the biggest worldwide box office debut of all time for a Bollywood film (at the time of release), and the biggest worldwide debut of 2011.[50]

In its opening weekend, the film collected US$1,654,023 in US, £908,768 in the UK, $250,000 in Pakistan, $349,899 in Australia, $1,509,624 in UAE, $91,135 in New Zealand and $40,658 in Fiji.[51] In addition, the film saw strong openings in Singapore and other East Asian countries. As of its second week, the film had earned around $8.25 million overseas, becoming the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2011 overseas (subsequently, Khan's other release of 2011 Don 2 surpassed this total).[28] In 3 weeks, the film collected $8.6 million, making it the fifth highest-grossing film ever in the overseas market.[52] Box office India reported that the film's final overseas gross amounted to US$10 million;[53] as per Box Office Mojo, revenue from the US accounted for $2,511,689 of the total overseas revenue.[54] In early October 2011, a partnership deal was being finalised by the distributors to allow the film to be released in China across 1,000 prints.[55] In addition, the film was released in Pakistan and non-traditional territories like Brazil, Spain, Italy, Greece, Japan and Hong Kong.[56]

Commercial analysis

Ra.One generated curiosity among the public and distributors since the announcement of Akon's involvement with the film's soundtrack. The film received media attention due to the early launch of the film's publicity campaign. After the first trailer was released, some analysts predicted that Ra.One would not succeed at the box office due to its use of technology and action, a reportedly unique script and an urban feel suggesting that Ra.One would be a "class" phenomenon, not percolating down to the "masses".[21] Contrarily, other analysts were positive about the film.[57][58] Image guru Dilip Cherian said "SRK is building the film as a franchise much as Hollywood studios do. It's like bludgeoning the market into submission."[6] The film's visual effects generated much curiosity among moviegoers, film distributors and critics, and had been called "the best India has ever seen [and] on par with Hollywood".[3][59]

Concerns were raised regarding the risks of the film. The lack of source material for superheroes, unlike for Hollywood, was seen as a major detriment to the film's acceptance.[60] The superhero genre was untested by Khan; Khan's earlier success was predominantly based on romantic roles with notable exceptions such as Swades (2004) and Chak De! India (2007). Khan's role as a superhero was unfamiliar to his fans, who recognised him with his "arched brows, deep dimples, perennially outstretched arms and a sarcastic half-smile." Filmmaker Paromita Vohra, a fan of Khan, commented "Will the superhero have traces of the SRK [Khan] I love or not?" Author Supriya Mandangarli noted that "the SRK persona has not been so much about aggressive masculinity as about nostalgia, the reason why Ra.One seems a big risk."[61] Television actor Mukesh Khanna, notable for having portrayed a superhero in the Shaktimaan series, criticized Ra.One and Khan's decision to portray a superhero, saying, "Shahrukh Khan made this movie on a whim because he had the money, but he does not have the personality to become a superhero."[62] It was also pointed out that previous Indian attempts at the superhero genre, such as Aladin (2009) and Drona (2008), had been major commercial failures, though Sinha described those films as "brave attempts".[60]

Due to extensive marketing, audience expectations built up to a very high level.[63] Ra.One set records for levels of public awareness of the film and audience anticipation six weeks before its release; these levels remained high until the release date.[3][59] Facebook compiled a list of the most searched topics of 2011, and Ra.One appeared in second place on the list, only behind social activist Anna Hazare.[64] In a poll carried out by a box office magazine, Ra.One was voted one of the most awaited films of the year, alongside Agneepath (2012).[65] The film industry was equally expectant of the film and its success. Vikram Bhatt stated in an interview that he wished to make his "dream project", a 3D fantasy film budgeted at Template:INRConvert, but the fate of the film depended on the success of Ra.One.[66] Producer Rakesh Roshan delayed the principal photography of his expensive superhero film Krrish 3 (2013) so as to observe the visual effects and 3D of Ra.One and gauge public reactions to the film, in an attempt to make the former film's effects better than the latter's.[67]

Template:Quote box

The extensive promotional campaign, however, invoked strong reactions from viewers and box office trackers; there was speculation that the over-marketing would backfire. The omnipresence of Ra.One popularised a series of internet and SMS jokes, several of them targeting the film's publicity campaign and post-release, the film itself. Khan was unconcerned by the popularity of these jokes, saying, "Some people have devoted their lives to writing about how Ra.One is not a good film. But I am glad, since people are discussing it, it pretty much shows how the film hasn't been ignored."[68] The style of the film's marketing was attributed to Khan's personal ambition to regain the "top slot". Outlook India said; " ... Ra.One is Shahrukh Khan's biggest gamble yet. The superhero genre, the mind-boggling budget, the marketing blitzkrieg, the brand value, the superstardom, Shahrukh has staked it all on the movie."[6] The Week noted the film as an attempt at an image make-over, saying: "With Ra.One, King Khan has ventured out of his candy floss castle to battle it out on an unforgiving field with critics questioning his sanity."[1]

Post release, Ra.One received a lukewarm audience reception. Opinions on the film varied widely; user ratings ranged from 1.5 to 4.5 stars out of 5. Children and teenagers unanimously loved the movie; however, adults were critical of it.[69] Adults unanimously praised the visual effects and technical aspects of the film, but many were left feeling the need of a better and more original script. Comparisons with other science-fiction films also affected Ra.One.[70][71]

Vats commented, "Ra.One banked upon mammoth promotional drive in order to pull the audiences to the theatres and therefore mixed reviews actually have brought down the fever a bit. The focus on technical fineness has made Ra.One an experience worth watching but the hype around the film has begun to fizz away."[69] Another trade analyst echoed similar sentiments, saying, "Ra.One, to an extent, also turned a victim of Shahrukh Khan's over-marketing. The film's pre-release visibility was so extensive that either people were over-expecting from the film or were just waiting to pull it down."[72] Additionally, director Shirish Kunder made a negative remark on Ra.One in Twitter, saying, "I just heard a 150 cr firework fizzle".[73] Actor Amitabh Bachchan supposedly remarked negatively about the film on Twitter as well, though it later turned out that the Twitter ID used was fake.[74]

Post release, negativity about the film spread. A member of the film's production unit commented, "The attention was now diverted to speculating the figures, hinting at the figures not being true. It has now come to point of being nasty." Khan was upset with the negative word-of-mouth about the film which he said was "a clever marketing strategy to undercut the film when it was going on at full-steam in the theatres." Noted film producer Pritish Nandy reported about "random people coming up to the audience and asking them to go back rather than watch the film" in several multiplexes across Mumbai.[75]

Template:Quote box

Industry people pointed out problems in Ra.One. Nandy said, "I'm no fan of SRK but I must say, even if it disappoints you all, I enjoyed Ra.One. ... The problem with [it] is that it does not connect with SRK's own fan base. They were cursing the film and walking out."[76] Pookutty said that "The problem with Ra.One is the problem of Bollywood. Lack of planning. Personally I feel it could have been edited at least 45 per cent."[77] Subsequently, Khan admitted to the drawbacks of Ra.One, and said, "I wish I had made it a little better because people started jumping on my back. It's very important because a film like Ra.One lends itself a little more, it's for children, it's superhero and stuff."[78]

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