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100 crore Club Demystified – Stop Fooling the Audience

“100 crore club” – the name sounds pretty cool and powerful but so sorry that there’s no real club where you can go and have loads of beer. You all must have heard this term again and again but do you understand its meaning. 100 cr is a mathematical number, so there must be some mathematics involved, right? In fact, do you even know that when you buy a INR300 ticket, how much does the producer get. Do you know that if a movie earns 100  crores and is made on a budget of 60 crores, it would suffer heavy losses if the only source of revenue is theatrical, as used to be in early days? I’m sure, most of you (including me before I entered this big bad Bollywood), think that a movie made on 60 crores earning 100 crores has made a 40 crores profit. Profit? It’s made a huge loss theatrically! Why not spend 5-10 min understanding what these figures are so that producers cannot fool the audience by abusing this 100 crore figure in different ways. We’ll also talk about some recent cases where a film earning 55 crores has been shown to reach 100 crores and how cunningly. Once you have the knowledge, you can laugh your heart out at the desperation of these producers when you see a full page ad on the newspaper with this 100 cr figure, a figure more attractive to many than that of Jolie’s.

Let us try to understand things through 1 ticket sales. Suppose you buy a ticket at INR180, there is an entertainment tax which is different for different states (check this out for the list – Let us assume that the average entertainment tax is about 40% i.e. when you buy a INR180 movie ticket, about INR80 goes to the government.

  • Ticket Price: INR180 (GROSS COLLECTIONS if only 1 ticket sold)
  • Entertainment Tax: INR80 (considering an average Indian state)
  • Net Price: INR100 (NET COLLECTIONS)
  • Producer’s Share (after giving to exhibitors i.e. cinemas and to local distributors if released via independent distributors): INR45 approximately

You can simply extrapolate this scenario such that the net collections is INR100 crore. For such a case:

  • Gross Collections: INR180 crores
  • Net Collections: INR100 crores
  • Producer’s Share: INR45 crores

So now you can easily understand that if the film is made on a budget of 60 crores, it’s theatrically a disaster if it earns 100 crores net. However, there are other avenues especially satellite rights (for a film having net collections of 100 crores, generally the satellite rights are sold at about 35-45 crores which directly goes into the Producer’s pocket; don’t think that’s the case with small 6-8 crores hit films, it’s in the range of 7-12 crores only and if the film is not a hit, it can be in lacs as well) which make the entire deal a very profitable venture. Your knowledge is not foolproof yet and whatever you understood can have loopholes which cunning producers will use. Hence, let me try to fill in the gaps.

The very specific term for Net Collections is Net Domestic Theatrical Collections. This means that when one says net collections, it means net collections at the theaters in India only. Similar is the case for Gross Collections and Producer’s Share. Earnings are also from theaters outside the country. Adding the two collections, one uses terms like ‘Net Worldwide Theatrical Collections.” However, when one uses the word “Net Collections”, it only means “Net Domestic Theatrical Collections.”

After you’ve cleared your basic concepts, now it’s time to understand what the precise meaning of a ‘100 crore club’ film is. A film is in the ‘100 crore’ club if and only if the NET DOMESTIC THEATRICAL COLLECTION  is over and above INR100 crores – that’s it, nothing more, nothing less.

You can now understand how those full page film ads claiming huge collections are used to fool us. Do you remember seeing a ad with ‘100 crores’ written in big and bold font with an asterisk. At the bottom, it’s mentioned that it is Gross domestic theatrical collections. Now that you know the maths guys, what do you think would be the net collections for such a film? Just delete the average entertainment tax and you get 60 crores, a huge 40 crores less than the 100 crores! And how much is the Producer’s share – about 25-30 crores. Can you imagine how big a dud this film must have been for poor Producers if made on a high budget. Producers spend lacs of rupees to circulate such ads so that the junta believes that the film is a huge 100 crore type blockbuster and because most people go to watch a hit film, the revenue actually increases. A mirage is created which sometimes actually leads to water for producers but the worst part is that this is done by fooling. You can’t sue the producers because they clearly wrote it’s gross collections and they are not responsible to explain the meaning of it, right? So an ad can say – “XYZ film reaches 100 crores collections” and at the bottom you’ll have the meaning of the phrase – don’t forget to read it and in most cases (imagine only 17 films are in this club) see the level of desperation of some filmmakers. Well, to be fair to them, when you’re on the verge of becoming broke because of the money invested in your movie, no logic or reason seems to work and the desperation can be very well understood. It’s easy to blame but think of the guy who lost all his life’s earnings and even more. Anyways, that doesn’t justify deceit even though done tactfully and lawfully.

From abusing this 100 crores figure by camouflaging it with Gross Domestic Theatrical Collections, there are desperate producers who have also started using Gross Worldwide Theatrical Collections (firstly ‘worldwide’ and that too ‘gross’ not ‘net’, my God, give me a break) claiming that finally the film has touched the 100 crore mark. I was stunned at this blasphemy done for a film sometime back. Very soon, they will start including satellite rights, music rights, DVD rights etc. to claim this 100 crore figure. The only way to stop this moronic act is to educate the public on this so that they know which film is actually a hit and which is not. All of us watch thousands of movies in theaters but we have no idea where those 300 bucks we spend on purchasing a movie ticket goes. Now you know it and hopefully pretty clearly.

This tendency to show off will not end. When 100 crore club dies, some other term will be created and that will be abused till some other takes birth. However, the fact of the matter is that if you really want people to remember your film for decades, this 100 crore club should not be a goal at all. In fact, very few of the films in 100 crore club are films you’ll remember for decades. Let’s have a look.

200 crore club

  1. 3 Idiots in year 2009 (206 crores – net domestic theatrical collections )

100 crore club (figures are approximate as they’re taken from the web; also, those films are deleted where there’s an ambiguity whether it had just crossed or just missed the 100 cr mark)

2012 Ek Tha Tiger 186
2013 Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani 178
2012 Dabangg 2 155
2011 Bodyguard 141
2010 Dabangg 140
2012 Rowdy Rathore 133
2012 Barfi! 122
2011 Ready 121
2012 Jab Tak Hai Jaan 121
2012 Agneepath 120
2008 Ghajini 115
2011 Ra.One 115
2011 Don 2 115
2012 Housefull 2 112
2010 Golmaal 3 108
2011 Bol Bachchan 104

Ask few of your friends and most of them will name only a few films which they think are unforgettable:

  1. 3 Idiots
  2. Barfi (except the 7 min of copied scenes)
  3. Ghajini (unforgettable to some because of the intriguing short term memory loss thing)

So among the 17 films (16 in 100 cr and 1 in 200 cr), only 3 i.e. only 18% films are memorable. That means 82% of the films are just one time watch and have almost no recall value. Does that mean that the trick to make a memorable cult film is to make sure that it doesn’t enter the 100 crore club? Seems silly but worth a thought. And yes, let us not forget that we, the public, are responsible for making films with no recall value the biggest hits in Indian cinema. The onus lies on us as much it does on the filmmakers to create quality stuff.

To be fair to the proponents of this club, we need to see a side of the picture we seem to neglect all the time. When a film earns 100 crores, thousands of families directly and indirectly associated with this project-based income generating film industry, can have a better livelihood, give better education to their children, have better health facilities and also have a better lifestyle. So let us pray that more and more films earn 100 crores and more, but hope that they not just have solid entertainment value but also solid content.

Waiting for the 1st 300 crore film: would Hirani-Aamir’s P.K. be the first one in this club?

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