RRR is now 3rd highest-grossing Indian film despite the pandemic, inches closer to 1000 cr mark

ByAbhimanyu Mathur
Apr 08, 2022 03:43 PM IST

Jr NTR and Ram Charan-starrer RRR is currently the third-highest-grossing Indian film of all-time and it has achieved this during a pandemic. We break down how the SS Rajamouli directorial managed this seemingly impossible feat.

On Thursday, the 14th day of its release, RRR crossed a mark in its box office earning that may seem insignificant but holds a lot of value. As per trade analysts, the film crossed 969.24 crore in global earnings in its first two weeks. It's not quite the round figure that 1000 crore is but significantly more important. Because that will mean the film has leapfrogged two more films in the list of highest-grossing Indian films. No matter what RRR earns this Friday onwards, it has cemented its place in Indian cine history as the third-highest-grossing film of all-time. Also read: Rajamouli dances to Naatu Naatu at RRR success bash; producer hints at sequel

SS Rajamouli’s big-budget period drama RRR stars Ram Charan and Jr NTR. (MINT_PRINT)
SS Rajamouli’s big-budget period drama RRR stars Ram Charan and Jr NTR. (MINT_PRINT)

With earnings of around 970 crore, the SS Rajamouli film is behind only Dangal ( 2024 crore) and the director's own Baahubali 2: The Conclusion ( 1810 crore). The gross of these two films seems out of reach for RRR unless it gets a delayed China release like Dangal. However, it is unlikely the Chinese authorities would allow the release of a film about two Indian freedom fighters. In that case, the film sits pretty at number three, ahead of the highest-earning films of the likes of Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, and Rajinikanth.

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One of the biggest reasons for the film's success was of course the universal appeal of the film, which transcended language and fandom barriers. RRR is a fictionalised version of the lives of freedom fighters Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR) and Alluri Seetharama Raju (Ram Charan) in pre-independence India. The presence of Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt in key roles added to the film's pan-India appeal. Although, the director's name was enough for that. Made on a budget of 300 crore, it is among the biggest Indian films ever made. In his analysis of the film, trade analyst Taran Adarsh said that the film always had 'the power and potential to' be this big a success. "RRR is a big screen spectacle that blends adrenaline pumping moments, emotions and patriotism magnificently," he said.

But while all the other films in the list released in 'normal times', RRR's success is unprecedented as it came during a pandemic. In the past two years, the highest-earning Indian film had grossed just over 300 crores. RRR has done over thrice that amount. In fact, it's Hindi-dubbed version has outdone all but one Hindi film in the period. And that film--The Kashmir Files--is a case study in itself.

Full list of highest-grossing Indian films of all-time (as per Box Office India and trade estimates)

RankFilmWorldwide gross
1Dangal 2024 crore
2Baahubali 2: The Conclusion 1810 crore
3RRR 969.2 crore
4Bajrangi Bhaijaan 969 crore
5Secret Superstar 966 crore
6PK 854 crore
72.0 800 crore
8Baahubali: The Beginning 650 crore
9Sultan 623 crore
10Sanju 586 crore

Industry insiders say that while the scale of the film's success was unpredictable, it shocked everyone. Trade analyst Atul Mohan says, "To be honest, nobody thought it would be this successful. These are crazy, crazy numbers. Even postponement of release several times did not hurt its craze because the brand of SS Rajamouli is so big. His name carries the weight that people cant wait for his film. But what helped the film was that by the time it released, there was 100% occupancy in all territories. After that, it made most of that and created history."

The RRR juggernaut continues at the box office, and while it has slowed down, it hasn't stopped. The film has certainly set benchmarks that other films will hope to reach for years to come. And just like many others before it, it has been an important film for the industry, as it has proved that the industry can revive after the pandemic. There is money to be made, if you know how to.


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    Abhimanyu Mathur is an entertainment journalist with Hindustan Times. He writes about cinema, TV, and OTT, churning out interviews, reviews, and good old news stories.

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