Loads of newsprint and loads of Newsreels were devoted to the predictions of which film will win over the Box Office since both biggies Om Shanti Om (OSO) and Saawariya released on the same date. One movie had a beautiful debutante and the King of Bollywood (sorry purist, for using this term) and many other stars in favour of it while the other had two debutantes and a powerhouse director with a flair for grandeur matched by very few across the globe !

But then, what is the Box Office ? What do they mean when everybody from the Economic Times to the News Channels say OSO beat Sawaariya by Z millions etc etc ? As you can probably understand the Box Office is nothing but the Box at the front of a theatre which has the words ‘TICKETS’ written on it. Now, ‘trade analysts’ declare a movie a hit only if its Box office takings are at the top of the charts. But does that mean the producers made their money. Not really, in Bollywood and in the last few years especially, producers tend to recover their money through sale of distribution rights, music rights and merchandising rights alone. The Box Office takings affect the distributor and the theatre owner (sometimes it is a 50-50 sharing).

There are various websites which offer rankings of Box Office takings of Hollywood flicks such as BoxOffice Mojo and ShowBiz Data. There are many other sites too but none really that give you a credible listing of Indian Movies and their Box Office takings ! Now, the Economic Times Intelligence Group has started a section devoted to this in association with a few multiplexes and distribution. You can view it on their website.

Of course, we are not endorsing or authenticating any of these services but just sharing the info for the curious movie-goer in you.

Now, the economically oriented ones among you may question, the movie rates were not the same 10 years ago (sigh ! I remember the days when the front row seats used to cost Rs.7.50 in Bangalore and now everything is in the range of Rs200) so how can you track the all-time grosser. Well, the answer is that most credible and industry oriented box office tracking service take into account inflation and have formulas to normalize the earnings so as to give a fair ranking ! Now, you have everything from opening day box office record to opening week box office records to all box office grossers !
Well, then happy Box Office Tracking !
Did you know? Sholay, considered one of the biggest hits in Indian Film history was a Box Office dud in its first few days and the actors even suggested pulling back the film and re-releasing it ! The word of mouth that it then generated went on to make it a hit ! According to the IMDB the all time highest grosser (without inflation adjustment) in USA is the Titanic with over $600 millions. And the lowest grossing know movie in cinema history is Zyzzyx Road (2006)which believe it or not made 30 Dollars at the box office from an estimated 6 viewers. The movie starring Tom Siezemore, Katherine Heigl and Leo Grill was made for USD 2 Millions and was closed in 6 days of release ! Sivaji, the boss (a movie in tamil starring Rajanikant) allegedly recovered all it investment and more even before the release through sale of distribution rights alone !


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