India’s ‘Master’ Has A Blast In Global Debut
Fans of Kollywood cinema got a treat this weekend as Tamil action thriller Master debuted in India and a handful of other markets across the harvest festival period. While we do not have confirmed figures for the Vijay-starrer in India, estimates had it at around $11M from Wednesday-Friday with the film believed to have crossed the coveted Rs 100 crore ($15M) gross mark over the weekend. Bows in such international box office markets as UAE, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, along with the U.S., added about $3M (including previews) for the film from director Lokesh Kanagaraj.
Now, as we always caution, it is notoriously difficult to cull early numbers out of India given its varied states and reporting structure — which in some cases is gross and in others net after the subtraction of an entertainment tax. The situation is further complicated when a movie releases in four different language versions as is the case with Master (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi). We will update when the picture becomes clearer. Anything above $11.7M (which China’s A Little Red Flower did this weekend) would make Master the top film globally across its extended launch frame.
In Australia, Master did an estimated $525K through Sunday and in New Zealand that figure was $89K. Singapore, where the movie was tracking at No. 1, is estimated to be over $750K for the weekend. The U.S. did about $350K including previews that began on Tuesday. For the four-day MLK holiday domestically, it’s at No. 8. The UAE sold an estimated 133K tickets for an approximate debut of $1.3M. A local source notes that fans “have been cut off from these films for a long, long time. This is encouraging.”
Master is the first major Indian title to hit big screens since the start of the pandemic, and hopes had been pinned on it to help revive the local box office after a long lockdown period. Given India’s cinemas have 50% capacity restrictions, the estimated performance is impressive — we understand that Master’s opening day locally was off just 20% from Vijay’s 2019 hit Bigil. The movie may end up frontloaded, but it shows how avid Indian audiences are when it comes to their homegrown titles and stars — and it offers promise for future key releases. Images from the market, particularly the state of Tamil Nadu and its capital Chennai, demonstrated a frenzy among moviegoers to get back to cinemas.