2018 - Year End Report - Rise of new age cinema

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2018 was a memorable year for Telugu film industry, barring few notable disasters from star heroes. Throughout the year, successful films were produced. Audience gave thumbs-up to the films which came up with fresh content and rejected routine, age-old style of films. Rangasthalam, Mahanati, Geetha Govindam, Goodachari, Chalo, RX100 and Taxiwaala became the blockbusters in 2018 where as films like Agnyaathavaasi, Naa Peru Surya bombed at the box office. Let's have a look into the movies of this year and their performance at the box-office.

A forgettable Pongal

This Sankranthi season started with one gigantic, high profile movie and it didn't meet the audience expectations and gave a bad start to the year, ringing alarming bells in the TFI with huge losses. The Industry hit combo of Pawan Kalyan and Trivikram came up with Agnyaathavaasi and the film was out-rightly rejected by the audience and critics. Its theatrical rights were sold at whopping 119.94 cr and it didn't even recover 50% of the invested amount, ending up collecting 57.61 cr to the distributors. Balakrishna came up with his mass flick Jai Simha, and it proved to be an above average film by collecting 27.47 cr share where 27.55 cr was needed to break-even.

Rise of the stars

Yevadu was the last hit film (Dhruva commercially an above average film) of Ram Charan, Mahesh didn't taste success after Srimanthudu, biggest disaster of TFI came from Trivikram and all of them bounced back strongly this year. Rangasthalam, Bharat Ane Nenu and Aravinda Sametha are the top 3 grossers of this year and best come backs by Ram Charan, Mahesh Babu and Trivikram respectively.

Rangasthalam - Movie of the year

Some films win the critics and some win the audience. Some films portray extraordinary performances from the lead cast and some showcase the fantastic work from the crew. Some films consist blockbuster audio and some have good content with gripping screenplay. But Rangasthalam had all of them and it became highest grosser of the year. It created Non - Baahubali records in many areas including Ram Charan's weak grossing zone; USA. It collected 122.37 cr and beat the previous Non-Baahubali record holder; Khaidi No. 150; by almost 20 cr margin and gave a profit of 42.01 cr to the distributors.

Bharat Ane Nenu - He is not done yet

Mahesh bounced back with Bharat Ane Nenu after two back to back disasters Brahmotsavam and Spyder. Bharat Ane Nenu became the highest grosser in actor's career and it also entered the Top-5 films of Telugu cinema. With a distributor share of 98.25 cr Bharat Ane Nenu stood after Baahubali-2, Baahubali, Rangasthalam and Khaidi No. 150. Few distributors faced minor losses as film's theatrical rights were sold at 100.03 cr and film remained an above average fare. Mahesh proved most of his critics wrong by showing that his habit of choosing unconventional films still has the tendency to bring in the fire at the box office.

Aravinda Sametha - NTR's show

With average Jai Lava Kusa and disaster Agnyaathavaasi on their backs, NTR - Trivikram combo came up with Aravinda Sametha for this Dasara and it became the highest grosser in their careers by collecting 89.06 cr distributor share. It was bought for a marginally high value of 94.50 cr and therefore gave loss of 6% to the distributors. Though the film was commercially an above average, it marked the different angle of director Trivikram who is famous for his family entertainers.

Summer - few hits & many flops

Barring few successful films like Rangasthalam & Mahanati, this summer didn't produce fruitful results to the buyers and even the audience’s thirst of experiencing good films during the holiday season wasn’t quenched.

Classic Mahanati

'Biopics are not Tollywood's cup of tea'. This perception changed after the release of Mahanati, now multiple biopics are in the pipeline and would be released in 2019. Legendary actress Savitri's life story being portrayed on the movie canvas, this film was one of the biggest hits in Overseas market and earned good revenues in domestic market as well. With 46.1 cr distributor share and 21 cr of theatrical rights, Mahanati is the 3rd blockbuster of the year. It also became the 3rd highest grosser in USA in 2018 by collecting more than $ 2.5 M.

Flop.. Flop.. Flop..

This summer; every Friday had atleast one big/medium range film which came up to entertain the audience. Allu Arjun, who usually gives minimum guarantee films to the audience, came up with Naa Peru Surya. It was sold at 80.86 cr but recovered only 51.44 cr and ended up as a disaster. Nagarjuna's Officer left the theaters even before the general audience could come to know about its release. Rajni's Kaala, Nani's Krishnarjuna Yudham, Vijay Devarakonda's 5 year old Ye Mantram Vesave, Ravi Teja's Nela Ticket, Nikhil's Kirrak Party, Nithiin's Chal Mohan Ranga, Kalyan Ram's MLA and Naa Nuvee failed to attract the audience.

Small Films - Big Hits

Fresh, breezy Love Stories


Geetha Govindam was the biggest blockbuster in 2018 from the list of small films. Many were spellbound by its box office performance. It was sold at 16 cr to the distributors and earned 68.28 cr. For the first time a non – Baahubali film made a profit of 50+ cr to the distributors. RX100, one more bold attempt, was well received by the audience. It was sold at mere 2.5 cr and gave 10+cr profits to the distributors by collecting 12.83 cr. Naga Shaurya's Chalo collected 11.93 cr and became blockbuster and Varun Tej scored hit with Tholiprema, bought for 20.7 cr and collected 23.95 cr. Ram's Hello Guru Prema Kosame performed well but fell short to be claimed as a “Hit”.

Engaging Thrillers

Anushka came up with one more female-centric film Bhaagamathie and scored a hit at the box-office. It was bought for 31.5 cr and earned 33.52 cr to the distributors. Taxiwaala; one more blockbuster film of Vijaya Devarakonda, faced piracy issues before the release, but Its box-office performance proved nothing can stop a film with good content. Goodachari, a well-made spy thriller, starring Adivi Sesh, did very well at the box-office. Film rights were sold at 5.5 cr and it recovered double the required amount. Irumbu Thirai was dubbed in Telugu as Abhimanyudu and Vishal scored blockbuster with this well executed thriller.

Much hyped Rajni - Shankar's action thriller 2.0 released in November this year and became highest grosser among dubbed films in Telugu states. Though it was praised by critics and audience for its visual effects and action sequences, due to lack of emotional content, high theatrical rights and bad release season, film was commercially a loss venture to the distributors. It was first dubbing film to cross 20 cr share mark in Nizam and 50 cr mark in Telugu states.

The Verdict – 2018

2018 was more about the films which had a difference in concept or a difference in the style of film making. Films with routine template were rejected by the audience and films like Mahanati, Goodachari, RX100, Care of Kancharapalem etc were well received. The last two years must have brought in immense confidence and encouragement to the directors and artists who would love to showcase their ideas consisting of non – traditional styles and unorthodox methodology and surprise us with new and different scripts. Much bigger 2019 is awaiting to weave the magic on the screens and some biggies are set to release in 2019. Ram Charan's Vinaya Vidheya Rama, NTR Biopic, Mahesh Babu's Maharshi, Prabhas' Saaho, Chiranjeevi's Syeraa and few more interesting projects awaiting and let's hope they ring the bells at the box-office in 2019.


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