Varisu Thunivu Vijay Ajith
In nine days, Varisu grossed around ₹230 crore worldwide, while Thunivu grossed around ₹160 crore

South films mop up ₹700 Cr with Pongal releases, opening 2023 with a bang

Pongal festival releases have reaped good profits at the ticket window for producers, distributors, and exhibitors in Tamil Nadu and Telugu states

The year 2023 has opened with a big bang for South Indian cinema. Pongal festival releases have reaped good profits at the ticket window for producers, distributors, and exhibitors.

For Pongal, the evergreen Tamil superstars Vijay and Ajith released their biggies Varisu and Thunivu, respectively. While Varisu is a family action drama directed by Telugu filmmaker Vamshi, Thunivu is an action thriller directed by H Vinoth.

In nine days, Varisu grossed around ₹230 crore worldwide, while Thunivu grossed around ₹160 crore. In Tamil Nadu alone, Varisu has amassed ₹100 crore GBOC (gross box-office collection) and Thunivu has registered around ₹90 crore. According to trade pundits and experts, the opening-day collection of Thunivu in Tamil Nadu was slightly higher because Red Giant Movies ensured the film got more screens and more showtimes. But, theater owners said that from the second day onwards, family audiences started flocking to theaters to watch Varisu, which took a slender lead.

Also read: ‘Thunivu’ review: Ajith owns the character in bank heist story

The reason behind the huge lead in the worldwide collection of Varisu is Vijay’s strong foothold in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka, and overseas markets. Interestingly, for the first time, the Hindi dubbed version of the Vijay starrer also registered a decent opening of ₹6 crore NBOC (net box-office collection).

Ajith’s overseas market expanded

Generally, there is a perception that Ajith doesn’t have a big market but Thunivu proved everyone wrong with an excellent release and promotions by the overseas distributor Lyca and Tentkotta. For the first time, the star’s film grossed more than $1million in North America. Already, the movie has become a profitable venture in all foreign countries. However, Thunivu was below average in the Telugu states and in Kerala.

Vijay’s Telugu, Hindi markets amplified

Despite the poor last-minute content delivery in the overseas markets, which affected the opening for Varisu in Singapore and the US, the film’s collections improved and performed on par with the usual market pace of the actor’s films by the end of the first week.

Also read: ‘Varisu’ review: Vijay anchors moving family drama

But, the biggest advantage this time for Vijay is the phenomenal run in the Telugu states and a decent run in the Hindi market. On the downside, Vijay’s strong markets — Kerala and the UAE — did not help him much.

Varisu’s GBOC in various markets in nine days

Tamil Nadu – ₹100 crore (approx)
Telugu States – ₹23.75 crore
Karnataka – ₹12.45 crore
Kerala- ₹11.05 crore
Hindi and the rest of India – ₹11 crore
Overseas – ₹75 crore

Total: ₹233.25 crore (approx)

Thunivu’s GBOC in various markets in nine days

Tamil Nadu – ₹90 crore (approx)
Telugu states – ₹3.86 crore
Karnataka – ₹11.55 crore
Kerala – ₹3.66 crore
Rest of India -₹ 3 crore
Overseas – ₹50 crore

Total: ₹162 crore (approx)

(The figures have been obtained through trade sources; the Tamil Nadu figures are approximate due to the lack of transparency)

Interestingly, together, both Varisu and Thunivu have mopped up ₹395 crore GBOC worldwide. In the long run, these two biggies will add another ₹50 more crore to the grand total.

Telugu cinema

For the Sankranthi festival, senior superstars Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna’s Waltair Veerayya and Veera Simha Reddy were released. Interestingly, Mythri Movie Makers has bankrolled both the biggies.

Walter Veeraiya
As of today, Waltair Veerayya amassed ₹165 crores globally

The Chiranjeevi starrer was released on January 13, while Balakrishna’s mass entertainer hit the screens on January 12. As on January 20, Waltair Veerayya amassed ₹165 crore globally and Veera Simha Reddy grossed around ₹118 crore.

Both the Telugu biggies have yielded good profits to the producers and buyers. For Chiranjeevi, his last two films Acharya and Lucifer didn’t do well at the box-office, so the fans of the megastar are thrilled with his stunning comeback. For Balakrishna, his film took a massive opening but after that, it could only draw a decent number of audiences. Nevertheless, Veera Simha Reddy is now the highest-grosser in the actor’s career.

‘Waltair Veerayya’s 7 days GBOC

Telugu states – ₹130 crore
Karnataka, the rest of India, and overseas- ₹35 crore

Total: ₹165 crore

‘Veera Simha Reddy’s 7 days GBOC

Telugu states-₹97 crore
Karnataka, the rest of India, and overseas -₹20 crore

Total – ₹117 crore

Together, both the biggies grossed around ₹282 crore globally.

Good start for South industry

While Bollywood is waiting for Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan to open the market in 2023, the South film industries have started off well by marching towards the ₹700 crore mark (gross) and if the momentum continues, these films have a bright chance to touch ₹750 crore GBOC.

Remember, this is just the beginning for the South industry, which is all set to release at least one biggie every month this year.

On a positive note, Pathaan’s advance bookings look super positive and if the word of mouth turns out to be good, we can expect the Indian film industry to take off on a robust note this year.

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