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The Monday Test

For many people in the trade, the most critical barometer of a film’s eventual box office fate is the extent to which it performs (or doesn’t) on the Monday that follows its opening Sunday.

Conventional wisdom within the fraternity suggests that the buzz whipped up around an upcoming film through its marketing campaign, especially if it boasts big stars/directors/banners, can help pull in audiences on its opening day and weekend. Conversely, the lack of ‘face value’ or a lackluster promotional campaign can lead to a low opening for a film even though it may be strong on content. Thereafter, once the initial hype has abated – or alternatively, positive word-of-mouth kicks in – the inherent quality of the film drives its fortunes from Monday onwards.

A film that manages to collect 40 per cent or more of its first Sunday’s collections (usually the most remunerative day in a successful film’s life cycle) on the following day is deemed to have passed the Monday test and is on the right track to box office success. Fall below that and you’re seen as being in trouble.

How reliable and current is this widely held thumb rule? That is the question we are seeking to answer this week.

To do so, we have taken the 25 highest-grossing Hindi films of the recently concluded 2018 and rearranged their rankings to reflect the films’ Monday performance relative to their respective Sunday numbers. Check out the table below:

 

The Drop Zone – Top 25 Hindi Films, 2018

Rank

(Rank As Per Lifetime Collections)

Title

Collections*

Monday
Compared To Sunday, Per Cent 

Day 1 (Rs.)

First Sunday (Rs.)

First Monday (Rs.)

1 (10)

Stree

6.44 crore

12.96 crore

9.05 crore

70

2 (3)

Simmba

20.46 crore

30.80 crore

20.98 crore

68

3 (1)

Sanju

33.5 crore

46.2 crore

25.35 crore

55

4 (14)

Zero

17.26 crore

17.85 crore

9.2 crore

52

5 (21)

Parmanu : The Story Of Pokhran

4.64 crore

8.16 crore

3.95 crore

48

6 (11)

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety

6.42 crore

10.81 crore

5.17 crore

48

7 (2)

Padmaavat

17.82 crore

30.38 crore

30.38 crore

48

8 (20)

AndhaDhun

2.52 crore

6.96 crore

3.27 crore

47

9 (9)

Raazi

7.53 crore

13.84 crore

6.3 crore

46

10 (15)

Veere Di Wedding

10.70 crore

13.57 crore

6.04 crore

45

11 (18)

Sui Dhaaga : Made In India

7.38 crore

15.19 crore

6.73 crore

44

12 (6)

Baaghi 2

24.57 crore

27.23 crore

11.95 crore

44

13 (23)

102 Not Out

3.32 crore

7.28 crore

3.02 crore

41

14 (8)

Badhaai Ho

6.9 crore

13.37 crore

5.48 crore

41

15 (4)

2.0 (Hindi)

18.44 crore

32.9 crore

13.06 crore

40

16 (19)

Dhadak

8.71 crore

13.92 crore

5.52 crore

40

17 (22)

Kedarnath

6.89 crore

10.54 crore

4.1 crore

39

18 (12)

Raid

10.04 crore

17.11 crore

6.26 crore

37

19 (5)

Race 3

27.36 crore

38.05 crore

13.85 crore

36

20 (16)

Pad Man

10.26 crore

15.35 crore

5.52 crore

36

21 (25)

October

3.42 crore

6.44 crore

2.30 crore

36

22 (24)

Hichki

3.16 crore

6.28 crore

2.22 crore

35

23 (17)

Satyameva Jayate

18.68 crore

9.88 crore

3.4 crore

34

24 (7)

Thugs Of Hindostan

47.28 crore

15.98 crore

4.96 crore

31

25 (13)

Gold

22.7 crore

14.97 crore

3.50 crore

23

                                           *Domestic collections, net of taxes

 

The way to read this table is: among the Top 25 grossers of 2018, Stree recorded the most impressive holdover from its opening Sunday numbers – managing to collect almost 70 per cent of its preceding day’s takings en route to taking the 10th rank in terms of lifetime collections. At the other end of the spectrum, even though GOLD weighed in at number 13 on the collections chart, its Monday drop was the worst among the 25 films reviewed – a fall of 77 per from its Sunday tally.

If the numbers in the table above seem slightly bewildering and without any obvious pattern, don’t beat yourself up… they are!

That there is no perfect correlation between the Monday holdover and eventual lifetime collections is underlined by the fact that only one film, Raazi, holds the same rank (9th) on both counts. Moreover, in isolation, the Monday vis-a-vis Sunday per cent can be quite deceptive. Case in point: Zero, which went on to disappoint relative to its perceived potential, seemingly sustained pretty well on Monday, recording the fourth-best figures, in fact. Conversely, one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year, Badhaai Ho, features in the bottom half of the table and just about makes the 40-per cent cut.

What perhaps distorts the picture if one relies on just the Sunday-Monday correlation is the fact that it fails to account for what that Sunday performance actually means. A film could have such a massive jump on Sunday that even a sub-40 per cent Monday would be healthy while another could crash by Sunday, rendering a seemingly decent Monday holdover quite meaningless.

This is best illustrated by the case of Thugs Of Hindostan, whose middling 31 per cent holdover on Monday is actually worse than what it looks like because the film’s Sunday numbers were just a third of its opening day collections. On the other hand, AndhaDhun’s decent though not spectacular 47 per cent holdover is actually fabulous considering the film had almost tripled its opening day collections on Sunday.

To conclude with a medical analogy: just as a weight of, say, 60 kilos could contrastingly be a sign of morbid obesity or severe anorexia, depending on whether your height is 3-foot-7 or 7-foot-3, the Monday test – though a useful tool to measure a newly released film’s performance – needs to be used in conjunction with other data points to arrive at the correct diagnosis.

- Nitin Tej Ahuja

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