Bigil beats Rajinikanth's Petta to become the highest earning Tamil film of 2019 in overseas markets

Sreedhar Pillai

Nov 13, 2019 15:59:37 IST

Since the release of Bigil, Vijay has emerged as Kollywood's biggest star in the booming overseas markets. Directed by Atlee, the football based entertainer with a message of women empowerment, has grossed $11.25 million (Rs 80 crore approximately) in overseas (outside India) market. Bigil has emerged as 2019’s biggest Tamil grosser (overseas) in just 17 days, beating Petta's gross of $10.25 million (Rs 73 crore approximately).

 Bigil beats Rajinikanths Petta to become the highest earning Tamil film of 2019 in overseas markets

Vijay in a still from Bigil. Image from YouTube

Noted trade analyst Taran Adarsh had tweeted about the widespread reception that Bigil had received in USA, UK, Australia and France.

Rajinkanth has remained the unchallenged king of Tamil films in the overseas market, ever since it evolved in the early 1990s, followed by Kamal Haasan. The key traditional Tamil markets are Malaysia, Singapore, Gulf countries, Sri Lanka and Europe (mostly UK and France). However, with the growth of the IT sector, USA and Australia have emerged as the biggest markets for Kollywood after the Hindi film industry. The norm has been challenged in the key USA market by Telugu films led by big heroes after the success of Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.

Rajinikanth still holds the record for the highest grossing Tamil film in overseas with Kabali (2016), reported to have grossed $14 million (Rs 100 crore approximately in today’s market rate). Vijay is fast catching up in the international market to emerge as Rajinikanth's successor. Vijay has scored big with non-Indian audiences, especially Sri Lankan Tamils in Europe (UK and France, Canada and Australia). Bigil has also found an audience in Saudi Arabia and Egypt (it was the first Tamil film to have a commercial release in Cairo).

In France, out of the top 10 Tamil ticket admissions, Vijay leads with five films. Bigil has secured the No 1 spot and recorded 35,401 admissions. Ramesh Bala, Tamil film industry tracker says, "Bigil has done exceptionally well in the overseas market. Except USA and Australia, it has surpassed Rajinikanth’s Petta, to become 2019’s highest grossing Tamil movie overseas. In France, it's the all-time number one Tamil movie and shows the pull of Thalapathy Vijay in the growing overseas market (sic)."

What is the secret to Vijay's success overseas? The 45-year old actor's films attracts the youth, who keep in touch with their roots through Tamil cinema. Vijay's decision to work with young directors bringing fresh ideas onscreen has also paid off handsomely. The actor also constantly reinvents his image and only picks stories that will connect with a family audience.

His next project, tentatively titled Thalapathy 64, has already created a huge buzz. The actor is currently shooting the film, slated to hit cinemas on 9 April, 2020, in New Delhi. Bigil was reportedly purchased for Rs 33 crore and with the film bringing profit to distributors, Vijay's next film will go easily for Rs 40 crore.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Rajinikanth’s Pongal release Darbar as Thalaivar gets ready for another box-office battle to retain his throne in the overseas market.

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Updated Date: Nov 13, 2019 15:59:37 IST