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‘Baahubali’ On Course For Indian Box Office Record

HYDERABAD — “Baahubali,” the South Indian action epic, looks on course to break the opening day record for an Indian film release. Unofficial data puts the film on a first day gross of $12 million.

Sources close to the production reveal an ‘all-India’ figure of INR500 million (INR50 crore) ($7.89 million) net of taxes, for Friday (July 10) opening sessions. That equates to a gross of INR600 million ($9.48 million). The net figure compares with INR450 million ($7.11 million) for Shah Rukh Khan-starrer “Happy New Year” released last year.

Within India the “Baahubali” data points to INR340 million ($5.37 million) from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the film’s home territories; a further INR70 million ($1.11 million) from Kerala; INR50 million ($800,000) from Tamil Nadu; and INR50 million ($800,000) from Hindi-language territories in the North of the country.

International figures are incomplete. North America – handled by Blue Sky on a limited two month release window – recorded a gross $2.5 million from Friday and Thursday night previews. Other overseas territories are expected to weigh in for a further $1 million combined.

The film is seen as a major test of the countrywide and international commercial viability of movies from India’s lesser known Tollywood and Kollywood industries. “If these numbers turn out to be correct we would be very, very happy that the film is standing up to that challenge,” said producer Shobu Yarlagadda. “Ticket pricing is exceptional on the first day, so we would not expect the full weekend numbers to simply be a multiple of the opening day.”

The two-part film was directed by SS Rajamouli and produced by Arka Mediaworks on a budget of $40 million. P&A costs are estimated at a modest $1.5 million, as the production predominantly used social media to connect with the key South Indian audiences and avoided posters or TV advertising. The film is handled by Karan Johar’s Dharma production in North India, where conventional TV advertising was used to create awareness of the upcoming event film.

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