Varisu and Thunivu Box Office Collection Day One: Wednesday was a toss-up at the box office, with two huge Tamil language blockbusters battling for screen time during Pongal festivities. Varisu, Thalapathy Vijay’s family-friendly picture, edged out Thunivu, directed by Thala Ajith, by a razor-thin margin, but both films performed extraordinarily well, signalling a victory for Indian cinema as a whole. H Vinoth’s Thunivu is projected to have earned Rs 26 crore on its opening day in India, lagging Varisu by barely Rs 50 lakh.
According to industry data tracker Sacnilk, Thunivu was more successful in the Tamil Nadu region. Thunivu reportedly made 18 crore rupees, while Varisu earned approximately 17 crore rupees. It added an additional Rs 3.5 crore in Karnataka, Rs 2.5-Rs 3 crore in the region of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Rs 1.5 crore in Kerala, but only Rs 50 lakh in the rest of India (read, the north).
In recent years, South Indian films, notably those in Telugu, have become national hits. Two Kannada-language films, KGF: Chapter 2 and Kantara, were runaway successes in 2012. Tamil cinema, which formerly featured some of the country’s most popular actors, seems to have declined alongside Bollywood. Beast and Valimai were both critical and commercial flops for Vijay and Ajith, respectively.
And, if Thunivu’s first-day box office numbers are any indicator, every great South Indian film has a long way to go before gaining recognition in the north. In the National Capital Region, the picture had barely 30% occupancy on its opening day, for example.
On the other hand, local fans appear to have enjoyed it. The average Tamil version’s occupancy rose from 61% in the morning to 82% at night. Chennai’s average occupancy rate on day one was 98.25%, while Pondicherry’s was 99.5%. Manju Warrier and Samuthirakani co-star in Thunivu, which has gotten mixed reviews from critics.