Does ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ Debacle Affect Aamir’s Box Office Mojo?

It’s been said before but you can say it again - content is king.

4 min read
Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan in <i>Thugs of Hindostan</i>.

Estimated to have been made on a budget of Rs 300 crore Yashraj Films’ multi-starrer Thugs of Hindostan was positioned as the most expensive Hindi film ever. What’s more, it was also heralded as the first film featuring two of India’s most popular stars - Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan together for the first time along with Katrina Kaif in the cast. Thugs of Hindostan also got the much sought after Diwali release, however - all this hype didn’t add up to getting the film the much needed box office numbers it expected.

At the end of a week, the BO collection of Thugs of Hindostan in India has trickled down to just Rs 132.32 crore in India; its Tamil and Telugu versions have only made an additional Rs 5 crore. This is a big washout considering that the film stars Aamir Khan and is produced by Yashraj Films - a powerful combination. So, what can we learn from this big box office disaster?

Thugs of Hindostan Falls to Reviews and Word Of Mouth

There’s no doubt that Thugs of Hindostan got hit by film reviews which ranked it as terribly dull and disappointing. The average rating given to the film by the mainstream media was just about 2 stars and social media was flooded with candid reactions to the film, which had a direct hit on the film’s collections on day 2.

Thugs of Hindostan / Box Office

  • Day 1 - Rs 50.75 crore
  • Day 2 - Rs 28.25 crore

This 44 % drop in collections is huge, especially considering that it was a Diwali release featuring Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. This also shows that film critics and word of mouth do play a huge influential role in the perception built around a new release. While a rare mainstream masala film featuring a mega star might still be critic proof, Thugs of Hindostan certainly wasn’t.

Remember that Thugs of Hindostan also had a huge release across 5000 screens in India and the ticket prices were hiked by at least 10% higher than that of Sanju, the other big ticket Rajkumar Hirani film that released earlier this year. So, those factors too account for the huge day 1 opening that the film got.

Aamir Khan’s Box Office Mojo

Aamir Khan in <i>Thugs of Hindostan</i>.
Aamir Khan in Thugs of Hindostan.
(Photo Courtesy: Instagram)

The last time Aamir Khan gave a certified flop was way back in 2005 with Mangal Pandey: The Rising, directed by Ketan Mehta. Well, Talaash in 2012 did get a lukewarm response by the star’s box office standards but it wasn’t considered a loss making proposition. Since the Mangal Pandey biopic, Aamir has been a part of around 10 successful films, some of which have been labelled as blockbusters. Since Ghajini in 2008, Aamir has been expanding the Hindi film’s potential to rake in big money at the box office.

Aamir’s Box-Office Records

  • Ghajini - set the Rs 100 crore milestone
  • 3 Idiots - set the Rs 200 crore milestone
  • PK - set the Rs 300 crore milestone
  • Dangal - set the Rs 350 crore milestone

On the face of it, Thugs of Hindostan seemed to be the ideal film for Aamir Khan to set a Rs 400 crore milestone commercially, but it now will probably just about cross the Rs 150 crore mark. What Thugs of Hindostan also proves is that Aamir Khan can command a Rs 50 crore + opening day collection, but after day 1, the collections will solely depend on the quality of the film.

Yes, Content Is King

Despite all the stars, hype and glamour surrounding Thugs of Hindostan - the film bombed mainly because (as the cliche goes) content is now really king. Take the example of Stree and Badhaai Ho, which released earlier this year. Both Stree and Badhai Ho featuring Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana respectively were low key projects. Many of you probably didn’t even hear of the film till their trailers dropped on the internet. Both films had unusual stories with enough substance that were engagingly told. Once these films released, the glowing reviews and positive word of mouth did the rest of the work.

Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor in the sleeper hit&nbsp;<i>Stree.</i>
Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor in the sleeper hit Stree.

Stree reportedly made on a budget of Rs 20 crore crossed the Rs 100 crore mark in its 3rd week and Badhaai Ho produced for Rs 30 crore is expected to make a lifetime business of Rs 160 crore.

All eyes are now on Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero - here’s hoping that the Aanand L Rai film lives up to the hype in terms of content, setting off a positive buzz that kickstarts its ride towards box office glory.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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