Mowgli and his jungle friends are charting cinema history in India as Disney’s The Jungle Book has entered the coveted Rs 100-crore club in only 10 days since its release. The film, which made its way to the Indian screens on April 8, a week ahead of its release in the US, has collected Rs 101.82 crore at the Indian box office.
It is only the second Hollywood import to do so, the first being last year’s Furious 7, which collected Rs 106 crore in its lifetime in India.
The Jungle Book was released in four languages in India – Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu, across formats like 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX. For the Hindi dub, the studio roped in Bollywood heavyweights like Priyanka Chopra (Ka), Nana Patekar (Sher Khan) and Irrfan Khan (Baloo), apart from recreating the famous title song of the famous Doordarshan show – Jungle Jungle Baat Chali Hai… The strategy paid off well, as 54 per cent of the film’s total collections have come from the Indian languages.
Amrita Pandey, vice-president – studios, Disney India, says, “We are thrilled that our conviction in the movie has paid off. Right from the call to release it in India a week before (the US), to the way it has been marketed, things have worked out fine. I think this sets a precedent on treating Hollywood films in India. Of course, not every film will lend itself so seamlessly to localisation but if you pick the right film, there is a lot of scope for Hollywood films in India.”
She adds that having a robust voice cast for Hindi has helped widen the audience scope, and encouraged repeat viewing of the film. “Many people who have seen the film in English want to see it a second time in Hindi. The film has a deep connect with India not only because the story is set here, but also because entire generations have grown up watching Mowgli’s adventures on TV. In fact, multiplex properties that usually do not run Hindi dub prints of Hollywood movies have started multiple shows, seeing the response to the dub versions nationally,” says Pandey.
Having crossed the Rs 100-crore mark, all eyes are now set on the film’s lifetime collections. Analysts believe that we might well be seeing the emergence of the biggest Hollywood film to be released in India so far. “It’s crossed Rs 100 crore in ten days. On its second weekend, The Jungle Book faced off with Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan and held its ground. I won’t be surprised if the film surpasses Airlift’s lifetime collection of Rs 128 crore. As there is no major Hollywood film releasing at the box office till Captain America: Civil War in May, The Jungle Book might even make Rs 150 crore,” says one such analyst.
Suniel Wadhwa, independent distributor and trade analyst says that The Jungle Book’s success is notable because it was released only in Digital Cinema Initiatives-compliant screens, unlike Furious 7, which was released in some e-cinemas as well.
Almost all Hollywood studios that release movies in India follow the guidelines set by the Motion Pictures Association (MPA), which require films to be showcased only in cinema halls which follow specific technology systems for digital cinema. India has around 1,800 DCI-compliant screens. For Furious 7, the studio (Universal) got permissions to release the film in non-DCI screens as well, making it available in as many as 2,800 screens across the country.
TOP HOLLYWOOD GROSSERS IN INDIA
Fast and Furious 7 (2015) : Rs 106 crore
The Jungle Book (2016) : Rs 102 crore
Jurassic World (2015) : Rs 96 crore
Avatar (2009) : Rs 76 crore
Life of Pi (2012) : Rs 67 crore