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$110 Million Prize Fight

It is common knowledge now that the film Dangal is poised to become the biggest blockbuster of all times in the genre of Hindi movies

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It is common knowledge now that the film Dangal is poised to become the biggest blockbuster of all times in the genre of Hindi movies.

This Aamir Khan-starrer has already crossed $110 million (Rs 721.14 crore) in collections worldwide, including returns from the dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu.

Dangal is expected to launch a new Rs 400 crore club at the box offices after it crosses another Aamir Khan-starrer, PK that reportedly grossed Rs 390 crore or so, three years ago. Dangal is based on the real life story of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat’s mission to train his daughters, Geeta and Babita as world-class wrestlers.

The movie has been directed by Nitesh Tewari and produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Aamir Khan Productions and UTV Motion Pictures. The film has been distributed by Walt Disney Studios. Apparently, Dangal was produced at less than Rs 70 crore. Even with marketing and advertising costs added on, the film has managed to earn more than nine times the cost at which it was produced.

Dangal’s gross collection has been more than Rs 525 crore at the box office since it was released across 4,300 screens around the country and over a thousand screens internationally. Dangal is still running in hundreds of single-screen and multiplex screens, a month after it was released — a rare feat for a Hindi film.

The film was released worldwide on 23 December, 2016 and two days earlier in the United States. Dangal is tax-free in at least five States in India like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chattisgarh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, in deference to the Union government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, social campaign.

Actor-producer Aamir Khan did not charge any fees for Dangal. He opted to take a share of the profits, instead. For Disney India and UTV Motion Pictures, Dangal has come as a money-spinner, after a series of unsuccessful investments that include movies like Tamasha, Saala Khadoos, Fitoor and Mohenjo Daro. Trade analysts estimate the combined losses of these films to be between Rs 110 crore and Rs 120 crore, or maybe a little more.

Ostensibly, UTV is now cutting down its staff strength by 10-15 per cent. Already, it has seen the exit of some key resources, including Siddharth Roy Kapur. In 2012, Disney paid $494 million for a 49 per cent stake in UTV’s business.

The $100 million question now is, will Dangal be able to alter Disney’s decision to pull out of film production in India altogether?


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