Vijay, Ajith, Rajinikanth rule the box office despite mixed reviews; why younger Tamil stars don't enjoy that immunity
Vijay's Sarkar and Ajith's Viswasam sustained at the box office for two weeks despite getting bad reviews. Stars like Suriya and Sivakarthikeyan do not enjoy that luxury.
The back-to-back failures of young stars in Kollywood have raised a lot of questions on their credibility at the box office. Now, only Rajinikanth, Vijay, and Ajith films are considered to be a safe bet. Nowadays, it is very difficult to judge the box office potential of films starring Suriya, Sivakarthikeyan, Dhanush, Karthi and Vikram.
There were times when all these above said stars delivered consecutive hits but their recent films tanked big time at the box office. The alarming state is that the total lifespan of their films may shrink only to the opening weekend.
On the other hand, even average films of Rajinikanth, Ajith, and Vijay hold at the box office for two weeks mainly because of their unshakable fan base, which they developed over the years. But the fan base of Suriya, Sivakarthikeyan, Dhanush, Karthi and Vikram is limited and can only get a good opening. The real fate of their films depends only on the word of mouth, which brings family audiences and neutral movie buffs to theaters in subsequent weeks.
If the content is really good, films starring any heroes would enter into a safe zone. But if the reviews are downright bad, they are immediately pushed into the danger zone. For example, Dev was Karthi’s immediate film after the blockbuster Kadai Kutty Singam so eventually, even a layman in the business would be ready to bet 50 percent of the latter’s overall revenue on the former but due to poor reviews from audiences and critics, the romantic drama directed by newcomer Rajath Ravishankar went out of theaters without any trace.
Suriya’s recent film NGK, which fetched negative reviews from audiences and critics, failed to sustain more than a week at the box office and Sivakarthikeyan’s heavily criticised film Mr. Local also falls under the same category. There are multiple reasons behind the failures of both Mr. Local and NGK — besides the poor content, the previous failures of these actors also played a pivotal role. Suriya’s last genuine hit in Kollywood was Singam II (2013) and for Sivakarthikeyan, it was his 2016 romantic comedy entertainer Remo. For Vikram, his last big hit was Iru Mugan (2016) but his Sketch (2017) and Saamy Square (2018) were massive failures.
On the other hand, Ajith’s Vivegam, which was trashed by critics, made a decent revenue at the box office. Though Vivegam incurred a loss to the buyers, it cannot be termed as a box office disaster. Similarly, Vijay’s Sarkar also only got average reviews from critics but the film went on to earn more than Rs 70 crore in Tamil Nadu and grossed more than Rs 200 crore worldwide.
From the above-mentioned statistics, it is clear that though Suriya and Sivakarthikeyan have a better fan base than Karthi so their failures can hold up to one week whereas with the same average content, Ajith and Vijay’s films sustain at the box office for two weeks.
The inconsistent box office performance of Suriya, Sivakarthikeyan, Karthi and Vikram’s films only left the exhibitors and distributors in the confused state that they cannot fix a constant price for their films.
In fact, because of this ambiguity, distributors and The Tamil Nadu Theater and Multiplex Owner’s Association clearly categorised Rajinikanth, Vijay, and Ajith in the first tier stating that they can give comparatively more share to their films. While stars increase their remuneration with one hit, they refuse to come down even after a series of flop. So at the end of the day, only producers, distributors and exhibitors face the brunt of their failures.
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