Kollywood's mid-year trade card: Biggies make merry; small films enjoy dream run
It’s June-end, and it’s time for mid-year stock-taking.
In the first half of 2023, Tamil cinema delivered around 11 profitable films, which were all theatrical releases. What has been encouraging for producers in the period is that many small and medium-budget films have clicked at the box office.
Interestingly, movies headlined by up-and-coming and out-of-form actors have minted money because the audiences have focussed on embracing quality content.
This year started with the clash of two titans – Ajith’s Thunivu and Vijay’s Varisu. Both the films were released for Pongal and reaped gold at the box office. While Varisu collected around ₹147 crore in Tamil Nadu, Thunivu mopped up ₹120 crore in the state. Worldwide, Varisu has amassed more than ₹300 crore, while Thunivu made ₹200 crore.
Varisu and Thunivu have become extremely profitable ventures for their respective producers because they had solid theatrical runs along with excellent pre-release non-theatrical business.
Hits: Varisu, Thunivu
RJ Balaji, who had delivered hits like LKG, Mookuthi Amman (OTT), and Veetla Vishesham, opted for a thriller this time with Run Baby Run. Though the film is a profitable venture for the producers through non-theatrical rights, Run Baby Run did not match the profits of his earlier hits like LKG and Veetla Vishesham.
The surprise hit of February turned out to be Kavin’s romantic comedy, Dada, which collected over ₹10 crore gross in Tamil Nadu and has been declared as a super hit at the box office.
Dhanush’s Vaathi has mopped up around ₹20 crore in Tamil Nadu. The film, however, is a blockbuster in Telugu. The Tamil and Telugu versions have together collected over ₹117 crore at the box office.
Hits: Vaathi, Dada
Misses: Run Baby Run
Thanks to the long exam season, March did not have many significant releases. Sasikumar, who had been written off as being out of form, made a comeback with Ayothi. The film’s collections picked up only because of the positive word of mouth. It collected around ₹7 crore gross in Tamil Nadu and was declared a hit!
Jayam Ravi’s Agilan was also released in March but the film failed to collect big at the box office. In fact, Agilan will go down as one of the biggest failures in Ravi’s career.
In the last week of March, Silambarasan TR’s Pathu Thala, the Tamil remake of Mufti and Vetrimaaran’s much-awaited Viduthalai: Part I clashed at the box office. Pathu Thala took a good opening on March 30 but once Viduthalai: Part 1 released on March 31, things changed.
Viduthalai has grossed around ₹45 crore in Tamil Nadu alone and was declared a blockbuster, while Pathu Thalai was a profitable film for producers but theatrically, the Silambarasan-starrer underperformed.
Hits: Ayothi, Viduthalai: Part 1
Misses: Agilan, Pathu Thala
The month belongs to Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan sequel.
Thanks to Ponniyin Selvan II, most Tamil producers did not dare to release their films in April so the first three weeks went by without any biggies.
Films like August 16 1947, Rudhran, Thiruvin Kural, and Yaathisai failed to make an impression with the audiences. Though Ponniyin Selvan II has collected around ₹140 crore in Tamil Nadu, it fell short of the collections generated by part one. Globally, the Mani Ratnam directorial collected around ₹340 crore.
To conclude, except for Ponniyin Selvan II, all other films in April miserably failed.
Hits: Ponniyin Selvan II
Misses: Rudhran, Thiruvin Kural
Since many film producers did not want their films to clash with Ponniyin Selvan II, several biggies went in for a May release. On May 12, Naga Chaitanya’s Custody, Aishwarya Rajesh’s Farhana, Manikandan’s Good Night and Shanthanu’s Raavana Kootam shared the 900-odd screens. Among these releases, the dark horse was debutant director Manikandan’s Good Night, with lesser-known actors. The film did good business and made more than ₹10 crore in Tamil Nadu.
Good Night yielded solid profit for the producers who are newcomers to the industry.
After Good Night‘s success, the other film that delivered profits for the buyers was Vijay Antony’s Pichaikkaran 2. Though the critics gave the film a thumbs-down, the audience embraced the film and its content just like the original version.
Pichaikkaran 2 has also become the career-biggest money spinner for Vijay Antony by collecting more than ₹40 crore at the global box office.
Hits: Pichaikkaran 2, Good Night
Misses: Custody, Farhana
June is almost over but so far, only Ashok Selvan and Sarathkumar’s Por Thozhil is attracting audiences to theaters. With Por Thozhil already collecting more than ₹12 crore in Tamil Nadu, the trade expects the film to collect another ₹10 to ₹15 crore from the state.
On June 2, Arya’s Kathar Basha Endra Muthuramanlingam and Hiphop Tamizha’s Veeran were released. While the Arya-starrer failed at the box office, Veeran collected ₹10 crore gross in Tamil Nadu.
Trade sources say that though five to six films are scheduled to release on June 23, they are only waiting for Mari Selvaraj’s Maamannan, which is all set to release on June 29.
Maamannan has Udhayanidhi Stalin, Vadivelu, Keerthy Suresh and Fahadh Faasil in the lead. AR Rahman is composing the music for the film and the trailer has also created huge buzz.
If there is one film that could make it to the hit list of the first half of 2023 after The Federal report, it has to be ‘Mamannan’.
Hits: Por Thozhil
Misses: Kathar Basha Endra Muthuramanlingam
Most expected films of the second half of 2023
Kollywood is also eagerly waiting for the second half of the year, with many biggies lined up for release.
They are: Rajinikanth’s Jailer, Vijay’s Leo, Dhanush’s Captain Miller, Vikram’s Thangalaan, Karthi’s Japan, Sivakarthikeyan’s Maaveeran and Ayalaan.