Director Karan Johar had once made a suggestion comparing Shahrukh Khan and Tom Cruise of Hollywood. The implication was put to a box office test last few days with the worldwide release of Khan's Don2 (a sequel of a remake of a 1978 Amitabh Bachchan blockbuster) and Tom Cruise's own Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol.
Don 2 has had a big release in India for christmas week as large number of theaters were asked to be booked by the film's distributors. However at the actual box offices of India, Don 2 opened worse than not just the successes this year, but lower compared to its predecessor Don: Chase Begins Again in 2006, which itself had not opened all that well expecting to be a blockbuster. Despite Don: Chase Begins Again in 2006 posting a disappointing total in 2006, a sequel to the remake of Don was planned but Don 2 in single screens of B & C has been a disaster from Friday itself, opening to 20-25%. Multiplexes have fared better but not by a whole lot. Overall weekend collections are in the range of 41-39 crores net. And the Monday has gotten off to a shaky start, meaning this film like Ra.One earlier, is too likely heading to be a flop at the box office.
On the other hand, Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol has on fewer screens, managed to collect over 20 crores in the same weekend in India, despite having not gotten to a record start in the domestic US market. Nonetheless, MI4 has collected Rs. 1000 crores gross worldwide till the weekend. So the final worldwide collections for MI4 will be roughly 15-20 times that of a Don2.
The year 2011 has not produced any real big hits for Bollywood. However films like Bodyguard and Ready (both featuring an also mid-40s Salman Khan) managed to open to 60-70% openings and managed to do better at the single screen centers than most films; as has actress Vidya Balan's 'Dirty Picture', a small budget film which by hauling in over 80 crores of business on limited prints, may be 2011s 'big hit' in terms of returns. A movie like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a much more expensive film than the Balan venture, too registered similar totals on account of its fair multiplex showings.
Some other movies that were well liked by the audience such as Amitabh Bachchan's Buddah Hoga Tera Baap did not receive the requisite number of screenings or proper release timings like that of Diwali or Christmas.
So no clear patterns emerged at the box office in Indian markets in 2011, except as before, the industry is probably searching for new and different types of stars and themes in domestic market, and while at the same time Hollywood is emerging on nearly equal plane as the big Bollywood releases in India, and increasingly as the first choice for many cinegoers.