2.0, Sarkar, Kadaikutty Singam, Seema Raja, Maari 2: Tamil cinema's hits and misses in 2018

Surendhar MK

Jan 02, 2019 08:39:39 IST

2018 has been an excellent year for Kollywood with a lot of content-driven, experimental films tasting box office success, which is a progressive sign for filmmakers trying to bring a radical change in the industry. From story-driven films to star vehicles to women-centric projects minting money at the box office, 2018 also witnessed a wide range of genres being offered to Kollywood film buffs.

Rajinkanth and Akshay Kumar in a promotional still of 2.0

Rajinkanth and Akshay Kumar in a promotional still of 2.0

Here is our annual report card with the list of hits and misses of Tamil cinema in 2018.

January witnessed a slow start at the box office with Pongal releases such as Chiyaan Vikram's Sketch and Suriya's Thaanaa Serndha Koottam. While Sketch tanked at the box office after a decent opening, Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, despite majorly positive reviews, missed hitting the bull's eye in its full theatrical run. The much-expected Anushka Shetty-starrer Bhaagamathie, which raked in the moolah in Tollywood, failed to repeat its success in Tamil. January ended up as an average month for Tamil cinema, without any substantial hit film.

Director Sundar C's comedy entertainer Kalakalappu 2 was the first hit of the year, with nearly Rs 11 crore distributor share collected for the film. While Mysskin and Ram's black comedy Savarakaththi fetched positive acclaim from critics, the film flunked at the box office. Director Bala's Naachiyaar, starring Jyothika, grossed decently at the ticket window although it is not a hit. February also had other negligible releases with Kalakalappu 2 being the single hit film of the month.

The Tamil film industry witnessed a historic strike for 50 days from 1 March to 19 April owing to a prolonged standoff between TFPC (Tamil Film Producers' Council) and digital service provider Qube, before Karthik Subbaraj's silent thriller Mercury resumed the release slate on 20 April.  However, April was another poor month with only five releases, including Sai Pallavi-starrer much-hyped Tamil debut in Diya and Vikram Prabhu's Pakka; both films bit the dust at the box office.

The real momentum for Kollywood began in May when adult comedy Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu and Vishal's thriller drama Irumbu Thirai emerged as hits after releasing in consecutive weeks. Although Keerthy Suresh-starrer Savitri biopic Mahanati was a blockbuster in Telugu, the success of the Tamil version, Nadigaiyar Thilagam, was only limited to the Chennai city.

Rajinikanth's most anticipated Kaala marked the beginning of June, but the film ended up as a damp squib at the ticket window with a lukewarm theatrical run. Kaala, which marked the second consecutive film of Pa Ranjith and Rajinikanth, is the biggest miss of 2018. Jayam Ravi-starrer space thriller Tik Tik Tik garnered good profits for everyone and turned out to be a solid hit. Vijay Milton's Goli Soda 2 and Sasikumar's Asuravadham missed earning commercial success.

July was the first most profitable month for Kollywood with two films, Kadaikutty Singam and Thamizh Padam 2, pulling in significant numbers at the box office. In fact, Kadaikutty Singam is the biggest hit of Tamil cinema this year based on ROI (return on investment), and the footfalls for the Karthi-starrer had surpassed those of Kaala. The film, directed by Pandiraj and produced by Suriya, is the second biggest hit in Karthi's career after Paruthiveeran. Vijay Sethupathi-starrer Junga and Trisha-starrer Mohini, which released in July end, could not pass muster at the box office.

In August, Pyaar Prema Kadhal, which starred Bigg Boss Tamil-fame Harish Kalyan and Raiza Wilson as leads, and Nayanthara-starrer Kolamaavu Kokila and Imaikkaa Nodigal reaped huge money at the ticket window. While Kolamaavu Kokila grossed nearly Rs 50 crore at the worldwide box office, becoming the highest earning women-led film in Tamil; with its Tamil Nadu theatrical total of Rs 32 crore, Imaikkaa Nodigal continued the same momentum for Nayanthara in the home ground. Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam 2, which released during the Independence Day weekend, was another major miss in the industry this year and bombed at the box office. Vijay Sethupathi's production Merku Thodarchi Malai received rave reviews and met with moderate commercial success.

September marked a diverse range of films, such as Seema Raja, U-TurnSaamy SquareChekka Chivantha Vaanam and Pariyerum Perumal. While Seema Raja and Saamy Square fell short of expectations, Samantha Akkineni-starrer U-Turn was an average grosser. Mani Ratnam's multi-starrer Chekka Chivantha Vaanam was a blockbuster with more than Rs 92 crore worldwide earnings from 25 days. Pariyerum Perumal, perhaps the best film of 2018, scored a surprise hit with rapturous reviews and earned more than Rs 3 crore distributor share in TN.

Vijay Sethupathi-starrer 96 and Vishnu Vishal's Ratsasan cheerfully welcomed theater owners with remarkable box office numbers. While 96 turned out to be a sensation in Kerala apart from Tamil Nadu, Ratsasan is now the highest grossing film in Vishnu Vishal's career. Vijay Deverakonda's Tamil debut NOTA sank without a trace at the box office. Dhanush's Vada Chennai brought back the admissions in K'town while Vishal's Sandakozhi 2 could not repeat the success of its prequel.

Two biggest releases of 2018, Vijay's Sarkar and Rajinikanth's 2.0 hit screens in November. While Sarkar collected more than Rs 71 crore in distributor share in Tamil Nadu, becoming Vijay's highest grossing film in its home ground, 2.0 crossed the Rs 125 crore gross mark in Tamil Nadu alone. The Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar-starrer is also the highest grossing Indian film of 2018, dethroning Bollywood hits such as Sanju and Padmaavat. While Kaatrin Mozhi had a decent run, Vijay Antony-starrer Thimiru Pudichavan remained unsuccessful at the box office.

Due to the stronghold of 2.0 in Tamil Nadu theaters, other producers were reluctant to release their films in the first two weeks of December. Eventually, the year end was crowded with a bevy of releases such as Jayam Ravi's Adanga Maru, Dhanush's Maari 2, Sivakarthikeyan's Kanaa, Vishnu Vishal's Silukkuvaarpatti Singam, Vijay Sethupathi-starrer Seethakaathi and Yash-starrer KGF: Chapter One, releasing on 20 and 21 December. While Maari 2 topped the opening weekend in Tamil Nadu, Adanga Maru and Kanaa emerged as the Christmas winners at the box office.

(Also read — Trisha in 96; Nayanthara in Imaikka Nodigal: Best female performances of Tamil cinema in 2018)

Updated Date: Jan 02, 2019 08:39:39 IST