The Life: Chennai Express is reaching box-office records for India, but its taking are small compared to what the top Hollywood movies are able to rake in.
The centre of world cinema
The Bollywood blockbuster Chennai Express, starring the inevitable Shah Rukh Khan as a man on a mission who finds love and adventure, has become only the second Indian film to pass 2 billion rupees in box-office takings.
But that amount is a pittance by Hollywood standards. Indeed, the combined value of the Indian all-time top 10's ticket sales is less than half the takings of the bottom movie on the Hollywood top 10.
Below are the all-time top 10 films by worldwide gross ticket sales for the two cinematic powers – not adjusted for inflation – with conversion into the currency of the other ollywood.
Conversion is done at 43.97 rupees to the dollar, which is the average exchange rate since 1994, the year of release for the oldest movie on this list.
Part of the reason for the gap between Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters lies in ticket prices. In India, a ticket at an old-school single-screen cinema will cost 50 to 150 rupees, though at a multiplex on the weekend the ticket will cost 150 to 400 rupees. (In Chennai, the maximum price allowed by law is 120 rupees).
In contrast, ticket prices in America, the single most important market for Hollywood films, averaged US$7.94 in the year's first quarter.
That works out to 524.6 rupees at last week's rates, meaning the movie-goer in Minneapolis is almost always paying more – and sometimes a lot more – than her counterpart in Madras.