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Last Updated 19.05.2024 | 10:13 PM IST
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Malayalam films having an UNBELIEVABLE run at the box office in 2024; in a HISTORIC feat, they have a BIGGER share at the box office this year than Tamil films

By Fenil Seta

2023 was a great year for several industries, especially Bollywood, Tamil and Telugu. Hindi cinema saw its best-ever year, with a gross box office of Rs. 5,380 crores and crossing the Rs. 5,000 crores mark for the first time. Telugu and Tamil industries also saw record earnings and footfalls last year. This year, the first four months for all these three industries have been pretty okay. On the other hand, Malayalam cinema didn't have its best performance in 2023. But in 2024, it's gone to another level, shocking as well surprising fans and industry in equal measures.

Malayalam films having an UNBELIEVABLE run at the box office in 2024; in a HISTORIC feat, they have a BIGGER share at the box office this year than Tamil films

In the first four months of this year, Malayalam cinema gave several big grossers like Anweshippin Kandethum, Premalu, Bramayugam, Manjummel Boys, Aadujeevitham - The Goat Life, Varshangalkku Shesham and Aavesham.

Anweshippin Kandethum, made at a modest budget, was a huge hit. The romcom Premalu is now the fifth highest-grossing Malayalam film of all time. Thanks to its popularity, its sequel has been announced as well. Bramayugam, shot in black-and-white, was loved for its concept, spooky moments and performance of Mammootty. Prithviraj Sukumaran's Aadujeevitham - The Goat Life, in the making for many years, was a huge money-spinner. Varshangalkku Shesham and Aavesham, which were released last week, are also doing extremely well.

Lastly, Manjummel Boys generated a historic craze. It is the biggest Malayalam hit of all time and is the first Malayalam film to gross more than Rs. 200 crores worldwide. A chunk of its earnings also came from Tamil markets since Manjummel Boys has a strong Tamil connect. Exhibitors in centres like Chennai reported that the survival thriller ran house-full for several weeks. Ruban Mathiavan, of Chennai-based G K Cinemas, told The Times of India, “It has already earned equal to what films with Tamil superstars earn. Kamal Hassan and the Ilaiyaraaja song have been a huge factor in it,” he says.

In 2023, the total gross domestic collections of Malayalam films, as per Ormax, was Rs. 572 crores. It was less than the 2022 earnings of Rs. 633 crores. Even the footfalls slipped from 7.5 crores in 2022 to 6.7 crores in 2023.

But until mid-April 2024, the cumulative total of Malayalam films this year is already Rs. 405 crores! This information was revealed in Ormax's box office report of March 2024. It stated that Malayalam film collections in 2024 are already 71% of the entire Malayalam box office in 2023.

Moreover, the share of Malayalam films at the domestic box office was just 5% while that of Telugu and Tamil were 19% and 16% respectively. This year, in a rare instance, the Malayalam box office share is at 16%, which is more than the 9% share of Tamil films. Tamil, obviously, is a bigger industry and hence Malayalam films have achieved a historic feat.

It’s rare for an industry to deliver so many huge hits in a short period. And the fun has just started. Three promising films are up for release in May - Nivin Pauly-starrer Malayalee From India, Tovino Thomas-starrer Nadikar and Prithviraj Sukumaran-Basil Joseph starrer Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil, among others. At this rate, before mid-2024, the box office earnings of Malayalam films this year will cross the 2023 collections. There are high chances that the Rs. 712 crores figure of 2017 – the highest that Malayalam films collected in a year – will also be breached in the second half of 2024.

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