Following a superb January, led by the record-breaking Pathaan, February proved to be a damp squib at the box office, as per The India Box Office Report by Ormax Media. With a gross collection of just Rs 413 crore, February became the worst performing month in theatres since January 2022, which was severely affected by the second wave of Covid-19. For more evidence of just how underwhelming the last month was, Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan alone had managed Rs 643 crore at the box office in January, a 55 per cent increase over February’s cumulative tally.
While different language industries use different parameters for assessing box office numbers (Gross, Nett or Share), Ormax’s report adopts Gross Box Office as the unified measurement. Under this, a film’s collection is always attributed to the month of its release, even if the film goes on to produce more or better numbers in the subsequent months. For films released in multiple languages, box office numbers reflect the contribution of such films to all the corresponding languages.
Vaathi/Sir the solitary success story of the month
Dhanush-starrer Vaathi/Sir (Vaathi in Tamil, Sir in Telugu) finished February on top, with an overall collection of Rs 99 crore. This meant that not a single release joined the Rs 100 crore club in February. A gap of Rs 46 crore separated first and second place for the month, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania wrapping up its February collection at Rs 53 crore. Malayalam horror comedy Romancham was next, slipping into third with Rs 42 crore.
Hindi films’ highest finish for the month went to Kartik Aaryan-starrer Shehzada, which could only muster Rs 39 crore to secure fourth place, ahead of Punjabi film Kali Jotta at Rs 23 crore.
Selfiee, the other big Bollywood flick for February, also struggled, taking home just Rs 21 crore, albeit underscored by the fact that it only ran for five days in cinemas during February.
February dents 2023’s hopes to surpass 2019
February’s weak showing at the box office means none of its releases posed any threat to the year’s biggest blockbusters so far, a lineup that is headlined by Pathaan, with Varisu (Rs 212 crore) and Walter Veerayya (Rs 192 crore) completing the podium.
In keeping with the trend of dips and lows, Hindi’s share at the box office also went down in February, reaching 40 per cent, as compared to the post-pandemic high of 46 per cent in January. Telugu and Tamil came in at 24 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively. Overall, February could only push 2023’s gross collection to Rs 1,825 crore, which means that the next 10 months of the year have to average at least Rs 912 crore each to match 2019’s tally of Rs 10,948 crore, the highest-ever at the Indian box office.