Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion has emerged one of the biggest grossers of Indian Cinema. Released on April 28, 2017, this period action drama literally worked pan India – from East to West, North to South. Everyone knew that this biggie was expected to rake in huge numbers since the first part, Baahubali: The Beginning , had also performed very well at the box office. But no one was ready for the fact that the dubbed Hindi version would go on to collect mind-boggling Rs. 510 crore at the box office! Even the original Telugu version created history.
With such a fabulous performance in India, the makers and even the trade and fans were looking forward to the release of the film in China on May 4, 2018. The Chinese market has become quite huge as the years passed by. Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal had released in China at around the same time as Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion and it took everyone by surprise by collecting more than Rs 1000 crore ($193 million approx) at the Chinese box office. Even his next Secret Superstar, which had Aamir in a supporting role, managed to gross almost Rs 760 crore ($118 million). Then there were films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Hindi Medium that crossed the Rs. 200 crore mark in China while Akshay Kumar-starrer Toilet – Ek Prem Katha fell short of getting into the Rs. 100 crore club.
Unfortunately, Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion didn’t perform as per the expectations. It collected somewhere around Rs. 80 crore ($11.9 million) in China. However, it required $20 million dollars to be a profitable venture. The sequel has some great emotional moments and this factor works big time in China as compared to the grandeur and scale. However, viewers probably couldn’t connect to the film overall since many hadn’t seen Baahubali: The Beginning, which had faced reject and had collected less than Rs. 10 crore in the neighbouring country. As a result, even the sequel’s performance got affected.
Despite this debacle, Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion has some reason to cheer. Despite being a foreign film and a sequel to a film that wasn’t accepted, it has done quite better than the biggest film ever made by China, Asura. For the uninitiated, Asura released on July 13, 2018 and featured an ensemble and popular star cast comprising of Tony Leung Ka-fai, Carina Lau Kar-ling and Leo Wu Lei. It’s a period action film based on Buddhist mythology and was to be the Chinese hybrid of The Lord of the Rings and ‘Game of Thrones’. Even reputed foreign crewmembers worked on the film. Ngila Dickson, who won the Oscar for her work on The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, is Asura’s costume designer and she worked on the film for a year. Martín Hernandez, who worked on Birdman, served as the audio director while Charlie Iturriaga, who worked on the production of Deadpool and Fast & Furious 7, was given the charge of visual effects.
Everything was going in Asura’s favour. Sadly, the film turned out to be an epic disaster of sorts. It is China’s first film to have a budget over $100 million – $111million to be exact – that is equivalent to approx. Rs 750 crore. And it managed to earn just $7.1 million dollars in its opening weekend, that is, less than Rs. 50 crore! The reviews were extremely bad with critics wondering why so much money was wasted on such a convoluted plot. The producers went in panic mode and they pulled out the film of all Chinese theatres in just three days! Zhenjian Film, the lead producers of the film, told a Chinese news website that due to the terrible box office performance, they plan to make some changes and then re-release the film sometime later.
It remains to be seen if Asura’s re-release will make it better and get more people to theatres. But as of now, Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion makers can bask in the glory of their film managing to do better than China’s biggest film in the home territory!