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Dangal: The Raging Box-Office Collections Through High-impact Content

Over its third weekend, Dangal is expected to become the highest box office collection film in the history of Indian cinema, surpassing Raju Hirani’s PK, which collected Rs 338 crore

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'Dangal' generated over Rs 320 crore in total net box-office collections across India by Saturday (January 08).

Over its third weekend, Dangal is expected to become the highest box office collection film in the history of Indian cinema, surpassing Raju Hirani's PK, which collected Rs 338 crore.

The dream-run for any effective film-team is to witness audiences raving about a film's content and for audiences to also reward the film commercially. Thereby, creating the 'all-consuming need' for the 'continuous production of valuable film content'. The Dangal team has truly achieved the optimum combination of content and commerce.

Dangal released on 4,250 screens in India and the film certainly benefited through a clear window of no other high-impact content film releasing for a few weeks. While Shaad Ali's OK Jaanu, produced by Mani Ratnam and Karan Johar releases on January 13; Raees and Kaabil will release on January 25. This ensures that Dangal may remain in cinemas across India for some more time.

As a producer, Aamir Khan has also re-written the deal making terms within the Indian film business. From the commercial success of Dangal, Disney will only see about 20 per cent of the film's profits, with the remainder share being retained by Aamir Khan Productions. This may not be the best deal-terms for Disney; however, knowing Aamir he may actually share part of his company's proceeds with Dangal's film-team, which then results in all parts of the value chain 'feeling the ownership' in the film's success.

Given that the budget of Dangal is the range of Rs 50 crore, which includes the film's prints & advertising (P&A) budget, the film will be beyond 'highly-profitable!'

Reflecting back, there is one key factor that has also played an important role in extensively widening the reach of high-impact content films in India (and even globally). This key factor is the Digital Cinema Distribution Business ('DCDB'), which came alive in and around mid-2005.

In the era of pre-2005, the Indian film business grappled with analogue prints, which cost approximately Rs 60,000 and it also restricted the number of screens that were accessible for a day and date release (meaning releasing a film across all screens on day one).

By 2012, around 80 per cent of the cinema screens in India were digitized. However, by December 2013, Adi Chopra and Aamir Khan ensured that every cinema screen in India would be digitized since they announced that Dhoom 3 would only be released on digital cinema screens. This enabled to also curb piracy. Adi Chopra and Aamir Khan earned the merits of making such a decision and successfully released Dhoom 3 on 3,650 screens and earned over Rs 250 crore in net-box office collections across India.

The DCDB is also cost effective for film producers since the maximum cost for digitally screening a film across each cinema screen is capped at approximately Rs 20,000. Therefore, Dangal would have spent approximately Rs 9 crore to digitally screen the film across India. Furthermore, unlike in the pre-2005 era, wherein the film producers/distributors needed to confirm the locations and cinema screens at least a few days in advance to a film's release date; in the case of DCDB, a film's producer/distributor can confirm the screens even a day prior to a film's release. And they may also increase/decrease the cinema screens and the number of shows within a short amount of time by notifying the digital cinema distribution company. This is truly an added merit for high-impact content films, which can add additional cinema screens and shows at short notice.

In terms of publicity and promotions, social media continues to play an important role. Today, the word-of-mouth publicity matters most. Each viewer has a way to express an opinion. While Dangal had limited audiences in its opening shows on the first day of film's release, its content ensured that the film's worth grew exponentially over the first weekend. In the global context, Dangal has collected approximately USD 25 million (Rs 170 crore) from the international markets.

Dangal is the highest grossing Indian language film in the USA, Canada, and Australia. Given that Aamir Khan had a very successful run for PK in China; it is almost a certainty that Dangal will also be a great success whenever it is released in China.

Films like Dangal make India humbly proud; which certainly reinforces that Indian Cinema is now a global phenomenon!