India Box Office Mid-Year: 'Furious 7,' 'Jurassic World' Reach Rare Milestone for Hollywood Films

Jurassic World Still 1 - H 2015
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Jurassic World Still 1 - H 2015

The films are only the second and third U.S. releases ever to cross the 1-billion-rupees mark in the country after 'Avatar' did so in 2010.

Hollywood has had a good run at the Indian box office in the first six months of 2015, with two studio releases crossing a key performance milestone in the country that only Avatar had previously reached.

Two Universal titles – Furious 7 and Jurassic World – crossed the coveted mark of 1 billion rupees (about $16 million), according to the studio. The mark is the local standard for a strong box-office performer. This is the first time two Hollywood films have crossed the billion-rupee mark in one year.

Back in 2010, James Cameron's Avatar became the first Hollywood film to cross the billion-rupee mark after five weeks of release. Since then, no Hollywood release has managed to reach the milestone until this year. By contrast, both Furious 7 and Jurassic hit the mark in less than two weeks of release. Both films included appearances by Indian actors – Ali Faizal in Furious 7 and Irrfan Khan in Jurassic World.

According to local reports, Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron also made an impact with a strong opening weekend for a Hollywood film, estimated at about $1.6 million (100 million rupees).

Despite these strong performers, Hollywood continues to only command an estimated less than 10 percent box-office market share in India with local content dominating. There are no official regular box-office reports in India.

According to a recent entertainment industry report by consulting firm KPMG India, India's total domestic theatrical revenue in 2014 came to $1.5 billion, which would mean Hollywood titles probably generated about $150 million.

Last year's top three Hollywood titles in India were Amazing Spider Man 2 ($14.5 million), Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction ($10.5 million) and X-Men: Days Of Future Past ($9.4 million), according to the report.

While 2015 got off to a slow start for local releases, a breakthrough came with Tanu Weds Manu Returns from Eros International. According to Eros, the comedy sequel to 2011 film Tanu Weds Manu was 2015's first release to cross the billion-rupee mark with total worldwide revenue eventually reaching $26.6 million (1.65 billion rupees). The sequel again featured actress Kangana Ranaut, elevating her marquee status to a new high in India.

Another female-driven comedy hit came with Piku from MSM Motion Pictures, the recently established film unit of Sony Entertainment Television. The film starred actress Deepika Padukone in the title role of a daughter taking care of her ageing father suffering from chronic constipation, played by Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.

Ensemble comedy drama Dil Dhadkne Do was another notable performer. It stars Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma with actors Ranveer Singh, Farhan Akhtar and Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire, 24). Local reports indicate the film has reached about $12 million (750 million rupees), just below Piku.

One major disappointment was Fox Star Studios' ambitious Bombay Velvet from acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap, which had an estimated budget of $19 million. Opening to mixed reviews, the Mumbai set jazz-age noir thriller starring actor Ranbir Kapoor was labeled an “epic disaster,” according to local reports.
Looking ahead, July promises some major releases, such as South Indian language film Baahubali, which is touted as India's most expensive film ever and opens on July 10.

But all eyes will be on Eros' Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which stars actor Salman Khan. The film opens on July 17, in time for the Eid festival, a slot Khan has ruled in recent years, delivering such hits as 2014's Kick.