The box office verdict of a film on this website is based on theatrical business. There are two verdicts, one for the domestic market and one for the international market because this is where the public is paying to watch a film and a film has to be watched to be a hit. Business of different revenue sectors is not put together to give verdict.
In the early late 60's early 70's, a big film would fetch a price of around 60 lakhs from all its distributors in India and when the money was recovered the distributor would start to give overflow for the producers after his commission. Hit films at that time could recover a share of 2 crore while blockbusters over 3.50 crore but still prices were so low because it took a long time to recover those low prices. Films had a 20-30 print release and it was staggered release so some places may have a release a year later. Basically a producer recovered or nearly recovered costs by selling his film and then waited for the film to be accepted by the public and the profit would be the overflow which come in time. This was all very low risk and 90% films recovered costs unless the budget was too high and the film faced rejection which would result in losses. Examples of this are Amrapali, Mera Naam Joker and Reshma Aur Shera.
Today the scenario is totally changed as distributors pay a huge premium as its all about two weeks and not years. A films verdict is depended on how well it does theatrically. For big budget films a 4 crore share would mean blockbuster in 1970 and in 1995 it was the 20 crore mark, today (2010) its nearly 50 crore. The trade and media tend to bring prices in to put up a perception and then for another film the price factor goes away as a different perception is being put up. A film can be purchased at a Blockbuster price but may do only Super Hit business so therefore lose money but the fact remains it has done Super Hit theatrical business, just the distributor overpaid. If this film has a good perception with the media then it will called success and if perception is not good then the losses will be talked about. A Ghajini was purchased at a Blockbuster price and managed All Time Blockbuster business and if this film was to be judged on distributor return then it would be an Above Average fare but the level of its theatrical performance is far more important then the huge premium paid by the distributors.
The budgets, deals which go on behind the scenes are very different and have many clauses which are different for each film. It is also difficult to judge a film on budgets as movies like Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Three Idiots only have a production budget of 25 crore and 30 crore respectively as there were profit sharing deals with main leads and with director as well for Three Idiots so you can't put a budget to these films as you can with some others. Also nobody apart from producer and distributor know the exact details of a deal. The one constant for every film is theatrical business be it Domestic or International. Every film has two verdicts one for Indian theatrical and one for International theatrical. Other revenue sources like satellite, music etc can have verdicts but these can't be based on how what price they fetch as that is like saying a film is a theatrical hit depending on what price it fetches rather than actual performance.
The size of the release basically decides how big a film is, if a film releases on 1000 plus cinemas with 18-20-22 shows at multiplexes then it is regarded as a big film and the mark today (Sept 2010) for blockbuster business is nearly 50 crore distributor share. This does not mean that a film release on 500 cinemas with 9-10-11 shows per multiplex will be a a blockbuster at 25 crore as when a film goes over 500 cinemas then the cinemas become lower earning single screens. A film has to achieve a certain amount per print/cinema it is released on to do Average Hit, Super Hit, etc business. As the releases get bigger the lifetime share marks get bigger. Also some releases get big releases but limited shows at multiplexes and they have to judget accordingly
If we get into prices and budgets against total revenue it allows for what is called a manufactured hit. Many films in India are made at low budgets at 2-3 crore and do bad theatrical business (sometimes zero) but with satellite and DVD rights they sometimes manage to make money which would mean they are success using the profit system.
All verdicts at BoxOfficeIndia.Com are given for the theatrical business judged against the release size which we believe is the best way to judge a success of a film. There is a verdict for Indian theatrical and International theatrical but no Worldwide verdict as it is difficult to judge two markets. A blockbuster in India and Overseas is easy to call but a Blockbuster in India and flop overseas or vice versa is near impossible to call correctly. All films are judged using this system.
The profit/loss system is hugely against films purchased at a premium and hugely in favour of films which are not sold to anyone and so therefore gives a completely incorrect picture of box office success/failure if followed strictly. An example of this is below.
Film A - Budget 40 crore. Producer releases himself with 50 crore investment including P&A. The film brings in 60 crore and the film is called a success.
Film B - Budget 40 crore. Worldwide rights purchased by third party for 90 crore giving third party investment of 100 crore including P&A. The film brings in 85 crore but will be called loser.
As can be seen the more successful film has the lower verdict because one was sold and one was not.
Films like Rocket Singh and Paathshaala had costs of 17 crore and 10 crore respectively and released by the producers so even when they did not find a audience they were still profitable due to low costs and revenue coming in from revenue steams like Satellite and DVD. Films like Kites are at the other end of the spectrum where they need All Time Blockbuster business in India or huge business overseas to get near the prices they were purchased at. But above all it must be remembered that box office has nothing to do with satellite, music, DVD, etc. Box office is all about the public coming to watch a film at a theatre be it in London, Ludhiana or Latur.