If not Krrish 3, then Dhoom 3. If not Dhoom 3, then PK. But it’s only a matter of time that a new Hindi film crosses the 300 cr nett mark at the domestic box office. 3 Idiots breached the 200 cr mark almost four years ago. The domestic box office business has grown by more than 100% since then. If 3 Idiots released this December, it would have comfortably crossed 300 cr, if not 350.
If the market is indeed ready, why has no other film managed to do achieve this feat yet? Simply because nothing else has come even remotely close to 3 Idiots in terms of audience appreciation. The films that scored high on Word Of Mouth (WOM) in the last two years have been somewhat ‘alternative’ films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Aashiqui 2, Kahaani and Barfi. To cross 300cr, you need a 20-25 cr opening day (at least) and a WOM of 75+ (3 Idiots was 90, Chennai Express 60).
None of the big openers in recent times have managed to cross a WOM of 70. The gap between the WOM of 3 Idiots and the likes of Dabangg 2, Ek Tha Tiger, Chennai Express and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani is wide enough to create a 100 cr divide in today’s times.
The ‘masala entertainer’ genre has officially died with the poor performance of Boss. Salman Khan will see it through with Jai Ho and Kick, where he will hope to cross the 200-mark for the first time. But even he is shifting genres with Sooraj Barjatya’s film. Even the best masala entertainers cannot score 75+ on WOM, simply because they don’t engage well with the female audiences (and hence the families) and have little repeat (or lingering) value. Even Dabangg, arguably the best in the genre, touched only 66 on WOM.
That leaves us with three strong candidates for 300 cr – Krrish 3, Dhoom 3 and PK. All three will comfortably open above 20 cr, with 25+ being a distinct possibility for all of them. So, the first barrier is crossed. While not much is known about PK, all three should be ‘family-inclusive films’, though Dhoom 3’s appeal is relatively more youth-centric.
Now that leaves us with just one condition – content that’s worthy of strong Word of Mouth and repeat value. For repeat value, one would need sufficient sprinkling of emotional content, which Dhoom 3 is unlikely to offer. In Krrish 3, presence of emotional content is certain, but if the action overpowers it, the impact may be muted.
So, if I had to pick one of the three, I’d pick PK, based purely on the strength of its director’s past work. A non-festive release is the only deterrent, but 3 Idiots showed how a strong WOM film can keep going for weeks. But I’m certainly not ruling out Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3 at this stage. In five days time, there will be enough evidence to take a more informed view on one of them.
Like I have always said, 300 cr means less than 3 cr theatre footfalls. In a country of 130 cr people, that’s a minuscule base in an industry that’s called a religion. Let’s get over and done with 300 cr soon, so that we can start thinking about the next milestone: 400 cr.