How much did Rajinikanth film Annaatthe really make at the box office? Here’s a reality check

By all accounts, Superstar Rajinikanth's Annaatthe had a massive opening at the box office across the world. Amid reports that the film has made over Rs 200 crore in two weeks, here's a reality check.

If you have been keeping track of all the collection updates of Superstar Rajinikanth’s latest movie Annaatthe, you may have developed an understanding that the film has set the box office on fire, despite the record rainfall that has wreaked havoc in parts of Tamil Nadu.

Sun Pictures, the producers of Annaatthe, has maintained radio silence on the subject of the film’s box office performance. In absence of a transparent system to track every ticket sale in Tamil Nadu and the producers’ reluctance to share the collection numbers, the media had to rely on various sources to get a sense of the box office performance of Rajinikanth’s Annaatthe.

By all accounts, Annaatthe had a massive opening across the world. The film was released in cinemas on November 4 and on November 6, one of India’s leading ticketing platforms, posted an appreciation tweet for Annaatthe, for bringing in record ticket sales after the end of the second Covid-19 induced lockdown. “#Annaatthe crosses 1 million tickets sold on #BookMyShow as of 5 Nov, becoming the first movie to hit the million mark after the second Unlock in 2021! (sic),” read a post on the BookMyShow account.

It is rare for BookMyShow to tweet hard numbers and give us an idea about the film’s box office performance. The Twitter handles of some single screens like Thanjavur GV Studio City Multiplex kept the spirit of the fans of Rajinikanth high by constantly sharing updates about housefull shows.

“With the tremendous support from the family audience #Annaatthe is running successful at the @gvstudiocitytnj . Pic has taken today (Nov14, 11th day) at the Evening Show. “Reviews won’t affect the movie, if the major segment of People accept it”. #Annaatthe has proved it (sic),” read a post on Thanjavur GV Studio City Multiplex’s handle.

It is fair to assume that in certain parts of the state, Thalivar’s film continued to draw crowds in large numbers. But, strong performances in some pockets is enough for the film to rake in over Rs 200 crore within two weeks of its release?

Manobala Vijayabalan, who has been the unofficial and the sole source of most, if not all, media coverage on the Annaatthe box office collections, vouches that the film has grossed over Rs 200 crore from its worldwide ticket sales.

“Film PICKS UP in mid week,” Manobala, who has over 42,000 Twitter followers, including the likes of Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor, tweeted on Thursday as part of its continuous update on Annaatthe collection. In the same tweet, he provided the day-to-day collection of the film in its second week, pegging the box office business of the Rajinikanth starrer at Rs 142.05 cr alone in Tamil Nadu.

A few hours later, Manobala, who identifies himself as a columnist and film industry tracker, followed up another box office break-up on Annaatthe. This time he claimed that the worldwide collection of the film stood at Rs 228.79 as of Thursday.

So how does Manobala get access to such specifics of box office figures? “The box office numbers we get are from trusted sources and the people who pay tax for those figures share it with us. At the same time, we also do our individual tracking, only if both come close we share it with the public,” Manobala responded to a questionnaire sent by indianexpress.com.

Cinetrak, an entertainment handle, which also tracks the box office business of all movies, paints a much conservative picture of Annaatthe collection so far. On November 9, the handle had tweeted, “@rajinikanth’s #Annaatthe bites the dust on its first Monday in Tamil Nadu grossing ₹2.8 crore. 5 Day cume gross moves to ₹71.8 crore(sic).”

Cinetrak, on November 11, pegged the film’s first-week collection in Tamil Nadu at Rs 75.15 crore. “#Annaatthe plummets over 90% in 2nd weekend internationally. $325K in 2nd weekend for a total of $5.2M (₹38 cr). Will wrap under $5.5M (₹40 cr),” the handle tweeted on November 15.

When indianexpress.com contacted a few well-placed people in the Tamil film industry, they were not willing to comment on the story. “It is too controversial,” said an industry veteran.

“When it comes to superstar Rajinikanth, many who have different political opinions and different viewpoints, always try to find a way to degrade the star as well as his movie. Unlike Hollywood, we don’t have a transparent open box office system where the audience can themselves view it, so few groups will take this as an advantage to always share contradicting negative reports to create confusion among the audience,” Manobala added.

There is little evidence to suggest that Annaatthe has incurred a loss to its investors. Unlike Darbar, distributors are not threatening to go on a hunger strike demanding compensation from Rajinikanth citing loss. A source earlier claimed that the poor performance of Darbar had inflicted a cumulative loss of Rs 25 crore on its distributors.

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“Sun Pictures have directly released the film in theatres (meaning no third-party distributors in the middle). So there is no chance for us to incur the loss. We just screen the film and give the agreed-upon share to the producers,” Tirupur Subramaniam, the President of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners’ Association, told us.

He also refused to confirm the over Rs 200-crore worldwide business of Annaatthe. “Nobody other than the producer of the film can give the accurate box office figures. Most of them share based on assumptions. And I don’t like to comment on people’s assumptions. The collection differs from theatres to theatres,” he added.

Subramaniam, however, said the collection of Annaatthe in his theatre was “satisfactory.” He added that after a strong opening, the film earning potential was undercut by the seasonal rains. “If not for rains, the film may have performed a little better at the box office,” he said.

Enemy, starring Vishal and Arya in the lead roles, has seemingly not managed to make a dent at the box office or lead a box office debate on the internet. “Doctor was the best performing film (in terms of theatrical collection) after reopening of the theatres following the second lockdown,” Subramaniam said.

And the question still remains, how much did Annaatthe make at the box office in the last two weeks? Is it over Rs 220 crore or lesser than it? At the end of the day, all that an average movie-going audience cares is whether or not a film would provide their hard-earned money’s worth of entertainment.

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Did you get your money’s worth watching Rajinikanth in Annaatthe?

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