The Definition Of All Time Blockbuster And The Biggest Scales Of success
Confident in the knowledge that not only a huge part of trade within the industry but even journalists come to naachgaana and take a cue or two (example – so many questions we raise in naachgaana have been appearing in ‘you asked it’ on boxofficeindia) i think this is the best forum to start a debate on what is an ATBB and what are the most important scales of success to measure films/stars on.
i will start with ATBB or all time blockbuster 1st.
there have been huge debates on this for a long time, within trade, in journals and offcourse naachgaana, the last mostly being star centric, from fans to benefit their fave stars. as of now atbb is decided based on revenue, roi and inflation adjustment, amongst other factors. now some feel only the grosser that broke the record of last highest grosser shud be called an atbb. but it has its limitations. for instance
1. a hugely popular film like ddlj will lose its atbb status but dhoom 2 does get it.
2. maine pyaar kiya the biggests hit of 80s will lose its atbb status, that to by a miniscule margin of a few lakhs, that are always debatable in the non-computerized 80s ( i am sure bachchan lobby saw to it that it wasnt reported as beating sholay record)
3. gadar and rab ne bana di jodi become atbbs. even as kuchh kuchh hota hai and raja h loose it.
basically any vague film, that collects high after a gap of few years, owing to steadily hiked ticket prices becomes an atbb. and all becoz of a lack of many groundbreaking hit in between, that were unable to cross last atbb, just becoz they released too close to it. losers wud be ddlj, jai santoshi ma and sangam (deserving atbbs) and raja h, kuchh kuchh (undeserving ones) and off course dabangg.
if the current definition of atbb is changed, in my view it shud be the ‘inflation adjusted highest grosser’ with inflation calculated not on national economy inflation or wholesale price index but on ticket price hikes (for instance throughout the 80s there was regular inflation but no ticket price hike. on the other hand inflation between 2000-2009 was regular again but ticket prices in metros multiplexes increased by roughly 6-7 times, making the averaged out ticket price (multiplexes and ss) at least double or even triple in the later part of the decade.
so in my view if a film crosses the inflation adjusted gross (netts keep changing as ent tax changes) of last atbb , it shud be called atbb.
however even this method doesnt take care of changing market dynamics. thru the 80s bollywood lost 30% of its audiences to VHS-VCRs and even to expanding doordarshan. in the 90s there came satellite televiosn which almost took away 70% audiences over the next two decadesand later even internet made a small dent.
another way to define atbb cud be the biggest hit of the decade. but then again some supersuvccessful films released closed to the biggest hit of the deacde lose out (jai santoshi ma, ddlj, rattan etc)
so obviously more suggestions are needed on this one.
as for scale of success, most ppl keep quoting atbbs/blockbuster/biggest openers/superhits etc etc to claim the films they think are more successful. but in my view the most neutral (time neutral as well as changing business dynamics neutral) scale of success is the ‘biggest hit of the year’ as…
1. in any era everyone is competing in similar circumstances, so market dynamics are adjusted for.
2. inflation is adjusted automatically.
3. its a very numbers driven thing unlike terms like atbb etc. for instance you can put a value of 10 to the biggets hit of the year, 9 to te 2nd biggest, 8 to the 3rd biggest etc. and hence it possible to calculate many more things.
however this method has a certain limitation. the films released in the early part of the year have a disadvantage as usually films in the later part of the year will get the advantage of increasing ticket prices. for instance the freak case of december 2005 release no entry earning 45 cr and becoming the biggest hit of the year while january 2006 release rang de basanti earns 50 and still doesnt. however this disadvantage is star neutral as any star cud suffer or gain in this way.
so i think the best way to guage the sucess of films/stars is ‘THE BIGGEST HIT OF THE YEAR’.
as for terms like super hit, super AAA plus etc, they were very juvenile and untrained (in both journalizm and business studies) journalists like B K Adarsh (taran’s father ) and mr watever nahata (komal’s father) floated them and kept chnaging according to their covenience and later refused to adapt them to market dynamics. so the sooner they are thrown out of the window, the better it is.