The last week of November saw the release of India’s most ambitious and by far, the most expensive movie ever made (US$76 million) in the subcontinent. Titled ‘2.0 – 3D’, it is the sequel to Enthiran/Robot (2010), a very successful sci-fi thriller made in Tamil language. Both were directed by Shankar Subramaniam and starred Rajinikanth in multiple characters. In addition to the original star cast, the producers pulled in Akshay Kumar, Bollywood superstar to play the antagonist in the anticipated sequel.
From launching 100-feet tall air balloons in Hollywood to releasing the soundtrack in style at Dubai’s Burj Park in October 2017, the makers did not leave a single stone unturned. For its extravagant budget, non-stop promotions and a compelling theme involving robots and microbots, 2.0 was expected to rake in millions from both domestic Indian market as well as the overseas. The worldwide target ranged from US$300 million to $750 million. What came as a surprise was the underwhelming opening, not just in the United States but throughout the world despite being released in over 10,000 screens and in three different Indian languages, including Hindi and 6 formats altogether. The trade attributed the low turnout to numerous factors but were self-assured that subsequent days and a better word of mouth could help the movie recover its investment.
But all hopes went in vain, as the VFX wonder which was made in a budget higher than Hollywood’s 2016 superhero movie Deadpool, made a meagre $5 million from North America, 72 times lower than what Deadpool made in the continent. If comparing apples to apples would be more reasonable, 2.0’s lifetime earnings from USA will be four times less than what Baahubali The Conclusion another big budget spectacle from India, made, in 2016. It should be noted Baahubali costed less than half of 2.0 and so did the other major hits like Dangal and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. In the list of top grossing Indian movies in North America, 2.0 would feature somewhere in the twenties, thanks to the 30$ price tag for the tickets.
The other Asian and European markets too aren’t too rosy for 2.0. In France where it was released in screens including the prestigious Le Grand Rex, 2.0 earned a mediocre 17,000 entries and doesn’t even feature among the top five earners from Tamil Cinema. Middle East Asia which has a sizeable south Indian population helped increase the total revenue by $4.2 million whereas the other major markets for Indian movies like UK, Malaysia and Singapore contributed little.
However, back in India, 2.0 earned almost 60 million USD (Over 400 crore Indian Rupees), a sizeable portion of it coming from Bollywood. The 3D Hindi version has been doing considerably well but the same cannot be said about the other 5 formats.
For a major motion picture which was touted to bring International glory to Indian regional cinema, the total haul of $20 million is a big setback.