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Indian Box Office Model – Explained in detail

The whole idea behind this write up is to make each and everyone understand the complex box office model in
India. Any questions, please ask in the comments section below.

Producer: The person who invests in films. The money that a Producer invests in making a film is called the
“Budget”. It includes everything from remuneration of the actors, technicians and other crew members to
transportation and other costs. Apart from this, once a film is complete, it has to be marketed and that calls for “PA
(Promotion & Advertisement)” expenses.
Distributor: The Distributor forms the most vital link in this money chain by acting as a medium between Producers
and Theatres. The Producer has to deal out their film to the All India Distributors. The price at which the producer
sells his film to the distributors is termed as “Theatrical Rights”. The producer can either directly sell the Theatrical
Rights to Distributors or make a contract with any Third Party which in turn has the responsibility to deal with
Distributors. In that case the Producer will get his share from the third-party even before his film releases and all
Profit/Loss will be incurred by third-party only. For example, Yash Raj Films distribute their films themselves, while
Nadiadwala Grandson’s had a contract with EROS for Housefull 2. Indian film industry is majorly distributed in 14
circuits and each have its distributors to represent them :- Mumbai, Delhi/UP, East Punjab, CI (Central India), CP
Berar (Central Provinces), Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Nizam, Mysore, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Orissa and Kerala.
Exhibitor (Theatre): In layman terms, Exhibitor is nothing but a theatre owner. The theatres form the end of the box
office model. On pre-defined agreements with the exhibitors, the distributors hire their theatres to showcase films.
There are two types of theatres in India: (i) Single Screens (ii) Multiplex Chains and both have different kind of
agreements with distributors. This agreement focuses mainly on “Number of Screens” and “Monetary Returns” to be
paid back by theatres to Distributors. Entertainment Tax (All India average of 30% approx) is deducted from the
total collections at the ticket window. This tax is enforced by individual state governments and thus differs from
circuit to circuit. After taxes, a percentage of the total nett gross is paid back to the Distributors. This return is
known as “Distributor Share”.
Box Office Terminology:
 1) Cost of Film = [Budget + PA (Promotion & Advertisement) Expenses]
 2) Non Theatrical Revenues = Satellite Rights + Music Rights + Overseas subsidy etc.
 3) Footfalls = Total number of tickets Sold
 4) Gross Collections = Total money collected from ticket sales
 5) Net Collections = [Gross collections – Entertainment Tax and others]
 6) Distributor Share is generally calculated as below:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Thereafter

Multiplex 50% 42% 37% 30%


Single Screens 70-90% 70-90% 70-90% 70-90%

This means 50% of the collections (after entertainment taxes) goes to the Distributor in the first week of release and
so on.

 7) Profit / Loss (Distributor) = [ Amount at which film was bought – Distributor Share ]
Let us now go through a scenario to better understand about these terms.

Case Study – Suppose a film releases with an average ticket price of Rs 120 at Multiplex and Rs 60 at Single Screens in Week 1. 100 people visit a
multiplex and single screen each. Entertainment Tax to be deducted from gross collections is same as 30%.

Multiplex Single Screen

Footfall 100 100

Average Ticket Price 120 60

Gross Collection 100 * 120 = 12000 100 * 60 = 6000

Entertainment Tax 0.3 * 12000 = 3600 0.3 * 6000 = 1800

Net Collection 12000 – 3600 = 8400 6000 – 1800 = 4200

Between 2940 and 3780(70% —


Fixed 4200(50% — > 0.5 * 8400 > 0.7 * 4200 = 2940 /90% — >
Distributor Share = 4200) 0.9 * 4200 = 3780)
Highlights
Multiplex v/s Single Screen: It is quite an inevitable fact that Multiplexes have been dominating the box office with
every passing year; still the strength of Single Screens can’t be ignored. Single Screens may be termed as the
backbone of Distributor Share for the consistent contribution they make and even today, when it comes to
making/breaking big records, a film cannot bypass Single Screens.
Hit vs Flop: General norm is that the collection of a film judges how big success it is. But, this is false. In reality it is
the Distributor Share which decides a film’s fate because it takes into account both the film’s cost & its box office
performance. A film may be called a FLOP fare if it collects 60cr net because of its huge costs to the makers and
distributors. On the contrary, another film may turn out to be HIT even if nets 40cr only due to low budget.
Footfalls – An Untold Story: While writing this article, I realized that there is a parameter which is not quite
explored/considered in judging box office numbers. And that is Footfalls – i.e the number of people going to watch a
film in theatre. One may figure out quickly from above facts that even if more people visit a Single Screen than a
Multiplex, Multiplex always has a lead due to high ticket prices.

How China’s Movie Distribution System


Works, Part 1
Follow me on Twitter @robcain or Sina Weibo @robcain, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

By Firedeep and Robert Cain for China Film Biz

This is the first part of a two-part article. Part 2 can be found here.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of China Film Biz, and this is the 100 China Film Biz post
th

I’ve published.
In honor of these events, I’m publishing a comprehensive set of articles about China’s film distribution
ecosystem, which I think you’ll find useful. I’ll publish the article in two parts, with today’s post offering a
glossary of concepts and definitions and an overview of the industry’s major players; a subsequent article will
discuss such topics as release dating, releasing, marketing and advertising, box office reporting and revenue
sharing.

In part 1 we’ll begin with a few concepts and definitions.

SARFT and the Film Bureau


The State Administration of Radio Film and Television, referred to as SARFT, is the executive branch under the
State Council that oversees all Radio, Film and Television content within China. More on Wiki…
Sarft is a giant government institution. It has a Film Bureau that specifically focuses on motion pictures.
China Film Group Corporation (CFGC or CFG)
China Film Group Corporation, often referred to as CFG, is a stated-owned conglomerate that has the exclusive
right to import foreign movies to China. CFG is also the biggest producer of local and co-production films and
the biggest distributor of local and foreign movies in the country.
Huaxia Film Distribution Co.,Ltd
Launched in March 2003, Huaxia is the second and only other distributor of foreign movies aside from CFGC.
Huaxia Film cannot import movies, and its distribution strength is not as great as China Film Group’s.
Revenue-shared movies
Imported by China Film Group and distributed by CFG or Huaxia Film or both, a revenue-shared movie is a film
imported from abroad under terms that allow the foreign supplier to receive a defined share of the film’s
Chinese theatrical gross. Usually only major Hollywood movies can be imported as revenue-shared movies. The
first revenue-shared movie, Harrison Ford’s The Fugitive, was released on November 12 , 1994. After that there
th

were 10 revenue-shared movies allowed to reach Chinese theaters every year. In 2002, this annual quota was
raised to 20 revenue-shared movies. In 2012, the quota expanded to 34, 14 of which must be 3D or IMAX films.
Buyout movies
A buyout is a foreign movie acquired by a Chinese local distributor at a fixed price to be released in China. The
buyout prices usually range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands dollars.
The first movie buyout occurred in the mid-1980s when China Film Group bought the theatrical release rights
for Superman (1978) from Warner Brothers at a price of $50,000. Most buyout movies are handled by Chinese
local film distributors. China Film and Huaxia Film also do a few buyout deals each year. Usually local
distributors seek foreign films via film festivals and markets like Cannes and AFM, or oversea producers offer
their films to local distributors seeking cooperation, and the local distributors submit the film to China Film for
import licenses. After receiving the import license, the local distributor hands the movie over to China Film or
Huaxia Film for the distribution. That being said, it is the local distributors who who do the actual distribution
work. China Film or Huaxia Film do little more than to provide the distribution authorization, for which they
receive about a quarter of the movie’s gross.

There are two kinds of buyout movies: 1) one-time buyout ones (as introduced above); most buyouts belong to
this category; 2) revenue-shared buyout movies, which are handled the same way as above but the foreign
producers can receive revenue share in addition to the buyout price when the films’ Chinese theatrical gross
reaches a certain level. This September’s hit, The Expendables 2, and Relativity Media’s Immortals and Mirror
Mirror were all revenue-shared buyouts.
Buyout movies weren’t common until 2005 when the buyout quota expanded to 30. Only 4 or 5 of the buyout
quota films can be Hollywood/American films; the rest must come from Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan, South
Korea, Japan, Australia, India, Latin America, etc, or from multinational co-productions.

CHINA FILM DISTRIBUTION AND EXHIBITION ASSOCIATION


A subsidiary body of SARFT referred to herein as the ASSOCIATION, made up of over 3,000 local distributors and
exhibitors, is in charge of dating all films and overseeing the entire run of all films.
Hollywood Majors in China
Disney, Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, and Universal all have branches in Mainland China, while
Warner Bros does business in Mainland through its Hong Kong based branch. Among the majors Universal is the
weakest in China.
Disney is building a $16 billion theme park in Shanghai while DreamWorks Animation is planning a $3B studio in
Shanghai too.

Currently, Disney, Paramount, Sony and Fox all are doing strong business in China. In the long run, it appears
that Disney might be the biggest player here.

The Office of China Film Special Funds


This subsidiary body of the Film Bureau, referred to as China Film Special Funds, is responsible for box office
statistics in China. It collects 5% from every film’s theatrical gross as special funds for supporting local film
production and theater construction. One thing to note is that the 5% they collect is not counted as part of
theaters’ business tax.

How China’s Movie Distribution System


Works, Part 2
Follow me on Twitter @robcain or Sina Weibo @robcain, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

By Firedeep and Robert Cain for China Film Biz


This is the second part of a two-part article. Part 1 can be found here.
Movie Theaters in China
Despite having the second largest number of movie screens in the world, with well over 12,000 as of this
writing, China remains one of the world’s most under-screened major territories in terms of movie screens per
capita. Whereas the United States has one screen for about every 7,800 people, China only has one for every
112,000. There are numerous cities in China of 500,000 and even 1 million people that have no modern movie
screens. For China to be on par with the U.S. on a per capita basis, it would have to open 160,000 more
screens.
Because the vast majority of China’s multiplexes were built in the past five years, its cinema infrastructure is
highly modern and technologically advanced. Of the country’s roughly 12,000 screens, more than 10,000 have
digital projection and about 7,000 are equipped for 3D. There are about 3,300 theater locations operated by 45
commercial cinema chains in China, about 2,200 of which can report box office daily.
In total, in the first six months of 2012, 1286 theaters each managed to exceed ticket sales of more than 1
million RMB (about US $160,000) at the box office. And about 100 theaters sold over 1 million dollars box office
in the first half of the year. Between January and August, 423 new theaters with over 2,500 new screens had
opened their doors.

Revenue Sharing
Until the new WTO MOU was agreed early this year, imported films entitled to revenue sharing would receive
from 13% to about 17.5% of the total box office receipts of their films, depending on how much the movie
actually made. “Total box office receipts” is defined as the amount reported by the Office of China Film Special
Funds. This figure is almost certainly always under-stated, for reasons we will see below, and because there is a
material amount of skimming that takes place at China’s theaters. Before the WTO MOU, if a revenue-shared
Hollywood movie earned less than 45 million yuan at the box office then it would only get 13% of the reported
gross. Those films grossing more than 45 million yuan would receive as much as 17.5%. After the WTO MOU
was agreed, revenue sharing films now receive a straight 25 percent of all box office receipts. Much simpler,
and better for the foreign producers.

China Film and Huaxia Film receive about 22 percent of the gross from foreign releases. The rest, after taxes,
goes to the exhibitors, and amounts to roughly 45 percent of the gross.

By way of comparison, local movie producers can distribute their products almost limitlessly and usually they,
the producers and distributors combined receive about 43% from the gross. Generally, theaters operators
receive slightly more share from Hollywood movies than from local movies.

Release Dating
The release date for each and every film is decided by the Distribution and Exhibition Association (DEA), a
government office that is a subsidiary of SARFT. Before any film can receive a release date, the finished version
of the film must first be approved by the Film Bureau. After that, the distributor submits the film to the DEA
seeking a release date. Multi-party negotiations take place among distributors, exhibitors, the Association and
sometimes even the Film Bureau, regarding the date of release.
The film is only officially dated after the DEA provides the corresponding release licenses and notification, which
can happen as late as just a few days before the film’s opening. The bigger the movie is, the harder it is for it to
get a quick approval and date, especially for imported films. Hollywood’s major studios are completely at the
mercy of this dating process, with no real say of their own, since they are not the distributors. For foreign
buyout movies, the local distributors can play a limited role. For local movies, the local distributors have much
greater influence over their films’ dating.

The Theatrical Release


The discussion below pertains mainly to imported foreign movies.
Once approved by the Film Bureau, a film will be delivered to a certain local studio (usually Shanghai Film
Studio or Beijing Film Studio) for dubbing, subtitling and printing. In the case of revenue-sharing imports, the
foreign studios pay for this service; for buyout movies the local distributors usually pay. Most movies’ marketing
campaigns in China begin at this point. There is no point in spending money on advertising until the movie’s
release date is set. This process usually allows far less time for marketing a movie in China than in most other
territories.

Before 2012, most movies still used physical release prints for distribution. But since early 2012, printed copies
are becoming rare, mostly because almost all theaters now only do digital projection. Prints, which usually cost
about 10,000 yuan per print, have been eliminated because they’re too expensive. Before this year, low budget
buyout movies usually received only limited releases, but with the lower releasing costs of digital distribution, it
is now possible for these same low budget buyout movies to enjoy wide releases.

In the heyday of physical prints, a wide release usually meant a few hundred printed copies. One of the biggest
physical print releases, Transformers 2, went out on roughly 700 prints. Nowadays, a wide opening can cover
more than 2,200 theaters. Fewer than 1,000 theaters, mostly single-screen older cinemas, run physical prints,
typically days or weeks after the film’s initial release on digital copies, so they are unable to contribute much to
a film’s total gross. Among all the imported movies in 2012, almost none used prints, except for the four non-
digital IMAX copies of The Dark Knight Rises.

A digital copy of a film can only be projected if the theater has the appropriate digital key. All keys are released
and managed by China Film Group. The keys expire every 15 days. Usually a big movie can have its key
renewed and enjoy 30 days of initial wide release, after which a two week extended limited run usually will
follow. However extended runs weren’t allowed this past September for releases like The Dark Knight
Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Prometheus and The Expendables 2. Sometimes extensions can be authorized
twice or even more for a movie with strong legs. For instance, Mission Impossible 4 managed seven weeks in
the top 10. Its entire run lasted from January 28 to March 31, 64 days. Along with Inception this was the longest
run for a movie since Avatar.

MI4 had very strong word of mouth that carried it to a 6X multiplier of its opening weekend after a record-
breaking two-day opening. But Avatar, remains the multiplier king. Opened on January 4, 2010, many theaters
were still showing the film in May. Some theaters were even showing it in November 2010. Shanghai’s Heping
IMAX theater sold out every single IMAX show for Avatar for almost three months.

Marketing and Advertising


Generally, the Hollywood studios pay the marketing and advertising costs for their films that are released in
Chinese theatres, while CFGC or Huaxia (or both of them) pay for prints (they also might pay for the printed
posters/theater standees in cinemas). However, studios are only allowed to do limited advertising on the
internet and in outdoor venues due to protections for local films. Direct advertising on TV for Hollywood films is
not allowed, which is the most effective way to market a movie in China. And since TV ads are relatively too
expensive for local films, TV spots for local movies are rare to see in China. The most common ways of
marketing a movie in China are via internet ads (cheap, easy and sometimes very effective) and in cinemas
(traditional and effective).
Two years ago, many trailers for both Hollywood and local movies could be seen before a movie but now
Hollywood trailers have disappeared in most China theatres. What happened? Hollywood trailers were replaced
by ads for cars, real estate, shopping, and local films. Why? Because most (80%+) screens in China are now
digital and trailers and ads are now easily removed. Hollywood studios have weak control on distributing their
films in China despite the fact that they pay for the majority of the advertising.

The biggest marketing campaigns so far belong to Avatar, Transformers 3, and Titanic 3D.
Outdoor banners and billboards for Hollywood tent-pole movies can often be seen in crowded places and
heavily-trafficked urban areas. Though they can’t air spots on cable TV, studios like Sony often show movie
spots on advertising screens in the Shanghai subways. It was reported that about 800,000 yuan was spent for
doing such ads for two weeks to promote Men in Black 3.

Box Office Reporting


There are only three regular box office report outlets that currently exist in China, but their numbers are very
limited, they are not quite accurate and not quite official. The big movie sites in China have been reporting
weekly top 10 numbers since 2008, claiming to receive their numbers from an organization which is part of
SARFT/ Film Bureau. Box office numbers can also be found on Weibo.com, the most popular Chinese social
media site, every Tuesday.
The numbers from the various reporting outlets usually differ slightly from each other. So which one to quote?
Any one can be quoted since all reporting is just estimates after all. The raw data they are reporting comes
from the Office of China Film Group Special Funds because only the Special Funds have the raw daily/weekly
box office numbers.

The Special Funds have a nationwide theater-based computer ticket counting system which covers most
commercial theaters in China. Currently only 674 top selling theaters can be tracked by the system in real time.
This part usually accounts for 70% of a movie’s total box office. Over one thousand other theaters can do day-
end (usually around 02:00am when theaters close) or next-day (usually around 10:00am when daily business
begins) ticket sales reports. And by next late morning, usually about 1,900 to 2,200 theaters have reported box
office for the day before, and by that time, as much as 95%-97% of a movie’s (daily) box office has been
reported. The rest comes from hundreds of other theaters that report on a weekly or even monthly basis.

Unfortunately the Special Funds don’t do any weekly/daily report themselves, though they do offer paid
subscriptions to certain media outlets.

Weekly box office reports are all based on the Special Funds numbers. And since the movie website reports
seem to be the most accurate, we use their numbers here, sometimes augmented by other sources if
necessary.

The revenue-sharing figures provided to studios and distributors come from the Special Funds accounting
reports even if there are still theaters that didn’t get counted by the Special Funds. For example, a film may
wind up actually grossing 105 million RMB at the box office, but only 97 million of the 105 million was reported
by the end of its run. The 97 million will be shared by the Special Funds, distributors, exhibitors and foreign
studios. Three months later, another 5 million would be reported, so the 5 million will be shared in the same
way. Another revenue share will happen if extra money is found later. By the end, if only 103 million gets
reported by the Special Funds, 103 million will be the movie’s final box office number, that is, the
clearing/accounting number. 2 million gets lost in the long run. Again, take Avatar for example: no one really
knows how much it lost in this way. Generally conservative estimate put its loss at a whopping 200 million
yuan.
In total, only a few dozen people in China can get full access to the Special Funds data system. Dozens of local
film distributors can also get into the system, but only for their own distributed movies.

The China branche offices of Hollywood studios have no authority to access the Special Funds reports. The only
way for them to confirm the numbers reported to them by China Film or Huaxia Film is to do local checking with
every theater and theater chain.

Apart from the Special Funds, there is another national wide box office statistics agency: China Film Distribution
and Exhibition Association (the DEA).

The DEA box office statistics are based on exhibitors’ initiative report, including theaters that don’t even have
computer sale systems, though their report can take months to compile. As a result, the DEA numbers will
usually be a little higher than the Special Funds. But the DEA never releases weekly numbers publicly, just
monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and yearly numbers. China’s official year-end reports tend to use the DEA
numbers, not the numbers that are reported to studios, distributors, or exhibitors in Special Funds accounting
reports. For example, say The Dark Knight Rises made 329 million yuan according to the Special Funds while
345M according to the DEA final number, it is the 329 million figure that matters to Warner Brothers, since that
is the number from which they ultimately collect their revenue share.

Chinese theater operators, distributors and film producers widely acknowledge the flaws in China’s theatrical
distribution and accounting systems, and SARFT appears to be taking these issues seriously. China has only
been in the modern multiplex business for a few short years, and steay improvements are constantly being
made. Whether these improvements will ultimately benefit foreign movie suppliers still remains to be seen.

Robert Cain is a producer and entertainment industry consultant who has been doing business in China since
1987. He can be reached at rob@pacificbridgepics.com and at www.pacificbridgepics.com.

MAY 31, 2017 @ 08:40 PM 1,662 THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF BILLIONAIRE SECRETS
'Dangal' Pins Down 1,000 Crore Rs / $154 mm To
Become China's Leggiest Movie Ever

Rob Cain , CONTRIBUTOR

I write about the Chinese, Indian and American movie industries. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are
their own.

In the middle of its fourth week of release in mainland Chinese theaters, an Indian movie has
crossed a barrier that was unthinkable as recently as a month ago.

The Aamir Khan-starring family sports drama Dangal has reached the mind-bending figure of
1,000 Crore rupees (US $154 million, or 1.05 billion Chinese yuan) in box office receipts since
it opened on May 5th.
Aamir Khan Productions

Family sports drama 'Dangal'


With its culturally resonant story of a frustrated former wrestler who vicariously fulfills his
dreams by training his daughters to become champions in the sport, Dangal has been
charming Chinese moviegoers since its first day of release on May 5th.

Read more: No, It's Not A Typo -- 'Dangal' Is Nearing $150 Million At China's Box Office

The numbers are so staggering in the context of previous records that many box office
watchers in India have asserted they’re fake, or massively fudged. Proud South Indian movie
fans in particular, who have reveled in the success of the Telugu-Tamil language
blockbuster Baahubali: The Conclusion, have cried foul when confronted with the reality
that Dangal’s huge China gross has enabled it to surpass Baahubali 2 as the highest-grossing
movie in Indian cinema history. But it's not fake news. As of this posting, Dangal stands at
1719 crore rupees (US $270 million) worldwide, and Baahubali 2 is at 1633 crore ($250
million), with the latter film’s China release still pending.

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Dangal’s accomplishment is noteworthy on several counts. It’s the first widely-released film
from India to earn more money overseas than in its home territory. It is also the first Indian
movie to attract a high proportion of ticket buyers—well over half in this case—who aren’t
ethnically from the sub-continent. And it joins the extremely exclusive club of non-English
language movies that have earned more than $250 million in worldwide theatrical receipts.

Top 5 Highest-Grossing Non-English Language Films Ever


Pacific Bridge Pictures research

Thanks to China, Aamir Khan's 'Dangal' is now the world's 4th highest-grossing non-English
Rob Cain ,
CONTRIBUTOR
I write about the Chinese, Indian and American movie industries.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

About 8 years ago there came a fateful moment for Bollywood actor Aamir Khan when he made a counter-
intuitive decision that propelled his career trajectory into a completely unexpected direction.

He had been approached by director Rajkumar Hirani with an offer to play the part of an 18-year-old college
student. Khan was bewildered by the offer, and he said so:
“It was very tough,” he told an interviewer for China’s CCTV movie channel. “I was 44 at the time when the film
was offered to me. And I told the director, ‘You have a beautiful story. It’s a beautiful script. Don’t spoil it by
taking me. And if I play a student of 18 years old, people will laugh at me, and make fun of the film.' But the
director Raju Hirani was very keen to take me and made very clear that he wanted me.”
Aamir Khan

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan

So against his better instincts Khan took on the role of Rancho in the coming-of-age comedy 3 Idiots. That
turned out to be a life-changing move.
Khan was already extremely successful, both commercially and critically, with numerous hit films to his credit,
including the picture he had just done, Ghajini, which was the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2008. He had
also won lots of prestigious award recognition, including a 2001 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign
Language Film for the period sports drama Laagan, which he both produced and starred in.
But until 3 Idiots, Khan’s fan following was limited to India and the Indian diaspora. He was completely
unknown to most of the world, and especially in China, where Indian films were rarely screened.
Read More: Dangal Pins Down Rs. 1,000 Crore / $150 MM To Become China's Leggiest Movie Ever
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Even after 3 Idiots became a smash hit in India, breaking all records to become the highest-grossing Indian film
of all-time in worldwide markets with a gross of $62 million (Rs. 395 crore), it would have been folly to think
that China would ever matter to Khan’s career. China at the time was almost an afterthought in the global film
business, only the 15 largest market in the world, with aggregate national box office revenue below that of far
th
smaller countries like South Korea, Canada and Australia. And there was really no way to make money in China’s
home video market because virtually every foreign film went straight to the pirate DVD distribution, with no
opportunity to earn Chinese receipts via theatrical release.
But oddly enough, the pirate market was precisely where Aamir Khan first gained a foothold with Chinese
audiences. The 3 Idiots story, which follows the lives of three fellow college engineering students through the
trials and tribulations of university life and the years thereafter, explored issues and topics that also happened to
be directly relevant in China. The story’s themes of friendship, academic challenge, and nostalgia resonated
beautifully with young Chinese viewers, who saw themselves and their lives reflected in the Indian characters.
Aamir Khan’s character Rancho was particularly appealing to the Chinese for his eccentricity and his bold
approach to challenging authority and living life according to his own rules. 3 Idiots became a cult hit, and is to
this day China’s 12 favorite film of all time as measured by ratings on the film review site Douban.com. Only one
th

Chinese film, Farewell My Concubine (霸王别姬), ranks higher.


Most importantly for Khan, 3 Idiots ignited a fanbase that has grown exponentially since 2009. By 2013, when
China's theatrical market had exploded to become the world's second largest, the audience was ready to pay to
see Khan's movies on the big screen. His hit action-thriller Dhoom 3 received a 2,000 screen release in 2014 in
the PRC, the largest ever for an Indian film, and it grossed $3.8 million, a staggering total for the time. The next
year his satirical science-fiction comedy PK opened on 4,600 screens and completely upended expectations,
earning nearly $20 million in China, more than any Indian film had ever earned anywhere outside of India.

By now it was clear that Aamir Khan and his films were not just a passing fad in China. He had become an icon.
And he was making films that spoke to Chinese audiences in a way that no Hollywood film, no foreign film,
indeed almost no local Chinese film, could or would. A highly selective performer and producer, his instincts are
impeccable. He makes films that speak to the day-to-day struggles of a population that is still smack in the
middle of rising from poverty to prosperity, from rural life to urban, from a male-dominated patriarchy to a
society that is grappling with the challenge of accommodating the equal rights of women. Family, education, filial
piety, it turns out that the issues that Khan's films explore for Indian audience are every bit as topical and
relevant for Chinese audiences.
And so it is with Khan's latest film, Dangal. Still in release in China's theaters, the family sports drama has
completely destroyed all conventional notions of how an Indian film can perform in the international market.
With $173 million in China box office collections in just over a month, it has now grossed more there than any
other Indian film has ever made anywhere, including India. I've written before about why the picture has
become such a hit in China, but suffice it to say here that its heartfelt exploration of father-daughter
relationships, parental sacrifice and pursuing one's dreams against seemingly impossible odds have been
critical to its giant embrace by Chinese audiences.
Read More: 5 Key Reasons For Dangal's Massive Success In China

So now, it's safe to say that every movie lover in China knows Aamir Khan's name, and his face, and has likely
seen at least two or three of his movies. Not only has the star opened up the international market for Indian
filmmakers, his success has inspired a burst of development activity aimed at further serving audiences in China
and beyond.

Where Khan goes from here is completely up to him. He has said himself that "When I'm selecting a film I'm not
thinking 'what will the audience like?' because I can never predict what the audience can like. So when I pick a
movie I always go with my heart." And it is bound to factor into his future decision making that Aamir Khan is
very much in the hearts of China's moviegoers.
JUN 19, 2017 @ 03:55 AM 189 The Little Black Book of Billionaire Secrets
How An Indian Drama Became The World's Highest-Grossing Sports
Movie Of 2017

Rob Cain ,
CONTRIBUTOR

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

There’s an old maxim in Hollywood that sports movies don’t travel. That international
moviegoers who don’t understand American baseball or football can’t be bothered to show up at
the theater to see them. That non-fans of soccer or ice skating or cricket or cycling simply won’t
care about stories or characters set in those milieus.
No one even mentions the idea that such a movie might be in a non-English language. Forget it!

MGM, Disney/UTV, Sony Pictures

'Dangal' is the highest-grossing sports movie this year.


Of course rules are made to be broken, and this industry “rule” is broken all the time. How many
people really refused to see Jerry Maguire or The Blind Side because they don’t care for
football? How many passed on The Karate Kid because they can’t be bothered with martial arts
competitions? How many stayed at home to protest Bend It Like Beckham (soccer), Field of
Dreams (baseball), The Mighty Ducks (ice hockey) or Dodgeball: A True Story (well, some
people consider that a sport)?
The reality is that sports movies at their best give us everything we could hope for in a story,
regardless of the athletic background against which they’re set. The entire range of human
experience and emotion is at your disposal when you set out to make a sports-themed movie.
Comedy (Talladega Nights), tragedy (Million Dollar Baby), betrayal (The Damned United),
love (Rocky), hate (Off the Black), self-destruction (Raging Bull), camaraderie (Breaking
Away), ingenuity (Moneyball), perseverance (Rudy), charity (The Blind Side). The “thrill of
victory and the agony of defeat,” as sportscaster Jim McKay used to intone in his intro to “ABC’s
Wide World of Sports”. And always, always, the eternal story of the underdog overcoming
impossible odds to achieve glory.
Read More: 'Dangal' Drops Just 38% In China For $3.2M 7th Weekend, $185M Total
And yet when the executives at the Walt Disney Company undertook to finance and distribute a
family sports drama set in the world of amateur wrestling, in a remote, rural corner of India, and
shot in the Hindi language, no less, no one could possibly have been thinking it might become
one of the studio’s biggest hits of the year. No one could have been dreaming that a lavish bounty
of cash would ensue, that they had the highest-grossing sports-themed movie of 2017 on their
hands.

But that’s exactly what happened. That movie they made, Dangal, has now earned more than
$305 million worldwide, and is still going strong. It's currently a bona fide hit for Disney's, its
fourth highest grosser of the year after Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.
2, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. And for the moment, it’s the year’s
biggest sports movie.
How did this come about?
Like all great sports movies, Dangal, isn’t really about the sport that it depicts. That’s just part of
the whole. Much of the action takes place in the wrestling arena, but what the movie is really
about is its emotional journey. It’s about second chances. Love. Parental sacrifice. Overcoming
impossible odds to win. And the film tells the story in a thrilling, heartwarming, sometimes
humorous fashion. It’s a genuine crowd-pleaser. Like all great sports movies, it has something
important to say about what it means to be human.
Continued from page 1

Written and directed by Nitesh Tiwari, starring Aamir Khan, and produced by Khan’s Aamir Khan Productions
together with Walt Disney Pictures and UTV Motion Pictures, Dangal tells the true story of Mahavir Singh
Phogat, a former amateur wrestler who, having been denied the chance to become an international champion,
trains his daughters in wrestling to fulfill his dream. Through dedication and sacrifice the girls reach their
father's vicarious goals by becoming international wrestling champions themselves.
When Dangal released in India last December, it became a giant hit, one of the biggest in Indian history, with a
domestic gross of 495 crore rupees ($77 million). It was a hit in North America, where its $12.4 million total was
at that time the second highest gross ever earned for an Indian film. And it was a hit in the UAE, in Malaysia, in
Australia and New Zealand.

But all of that was just a prelude to what came next: China.

In early May, five months after it released in India, Dangal came to the Middle Kingdom. China was already a
big territory for Aamir Khan, whose prior films P.K. and 3 Idiots were widely known and well-loved, but
it embraced the wrestling drama like nothing before it. The movie’s quality, its theme of female empowerment,
and above all its cultural resonance with Chinese values made it a box office phenomenon. Dangal has earned a
spectacular $185 million in China and is still going strong in theaters seven weeks after its opening.

Asked for his opinion on his film’s success there, Aamir Khan remarked, "The reason [Dangal] has become so
huge in China is that people connected on an emotional level with the story, the characters and the moments… It
made them realize what their parents went through. Many of them called up their parents and cried. It's a very
emotional reaction. That is what has made the film really work."
The picture has gone on to great success in Taiwan, and will continue rolling out to additional territories
worldwide. Although it might not have seemed a major contender back when it was greenlit by
Disney, Dangal has become a bona fide world champion.

 India: 80.50 m
 Overseas: $223.68 m

 Worldwide: $304.18 m

Dangal is also 5th highest non-English grossing film of all time.

Rank Movie Language Gross

1 The Mermaid Mandarin $554 m

2 The Intouchables French $427 m


Rank Movie Language Gross

3 Monster Hut Mandarin $385 m

4 Your Name Japanese $354 m*

5 Dangal Hindi $304m*

6 Spirited Away Japanese $275 m

7 Mojin The Last Lenged Mandarin $259 m

8 Lost in Hong Kong Mandarin $256 m

9 Kung Fo Yoga Mandarin $254 m

10 Bahubali 2 Hindi $248 m*

11 Journey To The West: The Demons Strike Back Mandarin $247 m

Dangal has also become the 16th highest grosser of all time in China where it has grossed $187 million so far. The film has beaten Hollywood
biggie like Captain America Civil War and is behind Avatar which is enjoying the 15th spot. It is also 8th highest grosser among non-Chinese films.
Day Collection (m) INR (cr)

Total $187.65 million 1209.91 cr

Day 1 $2.27 14.67

Day 2 $4.69 30.30

Day 3 $5.55 35.86

1st Weekend $12.51 80.83

Day 4 $5.78 37.23

Day 5 $3.52 22.58

Day 6 $3.88 24.89

Day 7 $3.90 25.02

1st Week $29.59 190.55


Day Collection (m) INR (cr)

Day 8 $6.12 39.27

Day 9 $13.66 87.66

Day 10 $12.53 80.24

2nd Weekend $32.31 207.17

Day 11 $4.95 31.73

Day 12 $4.92 31.54

Day 13 $4.20 26.92

Day 14 $3.73 24.08

Day 15 $6.02 38.80

Day 16 $16.35 106.03


Day Collection (m) INR (cr)

Day 17 $11.71 75.94

3rd Weekend $34.82 224.44

Day 18 $3.42 22.06

Day 19 $3.12 20.12

Day 20 $2.76 17.80

Day 21 $2.51 16.19

Day 22 $1.88 12.13

Day 23 $2.84 18.32

Day 24 $6.51 42.27

Day 25 $8.05 52.05


Day Collection (m) INR (cr)

Day 26 $6.34 40.92

Day 27 $1.76 11.33

Day 28 $4.60 29.61

Day 29 $1.72 11.06

Day 30 $3.96 25.50

Day 31 $3.53 22.71

Day 32 $1.40 8.98

Day 33 $1.25 8.03

Day 34 $1.17 7.53

Day 35 $1.10 7.07


Day Collection (m) INR (cr)

Day 36 $1.08 6.94

Day 37 $2.12 13.65

Day 38 $1.93 12.45

Day 39 $0.72 4.63

Day 40 $0.70 4.50

Day 41 $0.65 4.19

Day 42 $0.64 4.13

Day 43 $0.52 3.35

Day 44 $1.34 8.63

Day 45 $1.27 8.18


Day Collection (m) INR (cr)

Day 46 $0.52 3.35

Day 47 $0.51 3.28

Day 48 $0.51 3.28

Day 49 $0.51 3.28

Day 50 $0.15 0.96

Day 51 $0.35 2.25

Day 52 $0.39 2.51

Total $187.65 million 1209.91 cr