It was touted as a hit in the making. Why would it not? The star cast included the stellar combination of Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Saif Ali Khan. And the film was being helmed by critics’ favourite Vishal Bhardwaj whose last film Haider was a critical and commercial hit.

If no one else was, then studio Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, was definitely sure that they had a hit on their hands. Buzz is, the film was sold to them for Rs 90 crore. For the film to be a success, Rangoon would have had to make at least Rs 150 crore at the box-office.

still from rangoon
Image Source: youtube/Viacom18 Motion Pictures 

And now here is the bad news. Despite heavy footfalls at the Friday morning shows, Rangoon had a dismal opening at the box-office, taking in only Rs 6.7 crore at the box-office. In four days, the big budget magnum opus earned just Rs 20 crore.

Soon enough, the industry was buzzing and labelled Rangoon, the biggest failure of Viacom 18. As the days pass, the film stands an even lesser chance of recovering its cost, and making a profit.

Corporate film studios are shutting shop in Bollywood and the grapevine claims that Rangoon may be the start of the end of Viacom 18.

But why did a seemingly good bet become the biggest mistake for everyone involved?

Trade Analyst Komal Nahta says, "The box-office figures of Rangoon did not look good even on Monday. There is no chance that the film will pick up over the coming week on word-of-mouth publicity. In the past also, Vishal Bhardwaj’s movies have not brought in huge numbers at the box-office."

vishal bhardwaj directing rangoon
Image Source: attube

While Vishal’s films are truly not massey hits, they have mostly received great reviews, be it Haider, Maqbool or Omkara. But Rangoon did not even receive critical acclaim. While most of his movies have had slow starts at the box-office, they pick up thanks to word-of-mouth publicity after their opening weekends. But given the bad reviews received by Rangoon, that is a distant dream.

Trade expert Taran Adarsh says: " Look at the response - it's been a non-starter. Word-of-mouth works when audience goes and watches the film and comes out to say - good, bad, average, etc. But for that audience needs to go for the film in large numbers, which didn't happen for Rangoon."

Ravi Sibal from Juhu PVR confirmed that the coming week may not bring a reversal of fortunes for Rangoon.

still from rangoon
Image Source: youtube/Viacom18 Motion Pictures 

"Monday was really poor for the film. I don't foresee any word-of-mouth happening for Rangoon. If the reviews were good, the ticket sales would have picked up by now, at least for the evening shows. But unfortunately that's not the case. It's very surprising that a movie like The Ghazi Attack is getting more footfalls than Rangoon. I am pretty sure it must be a big disaster for Viacom 18."

So how are the distributors coping with this?

Delhi based Film Distributor Sanjay Ghai said: "The public vote is not in favour of the film. With a corporate production studio taking on the distribution rights across the country, their losses become bigger. If they would have partnered with local distributors and exhibitors, then the losses are also distributed evenly, and it's not a huge burden on the producers of the film. That is not the case here.”

still from rangoon

Image Source: youtube/Viacom18 Motion Pictures 

Viacom 18 will not be able to make up with the sale of Rangoon’s satellite rights too because Vishal’s films typically do not go for high rates in that market because they are not seen as massey products.

And what about the stars of the film? Rangoon is Kangana’s second consecutive flop after Katti Batti and has definitely left a dent in her reputation as a bankable star. Shahid Kapoor too needed a commercial hit to establish himself as a superstar and Saif Ali Khan’s career also needed a shot in the arm. The trio is surely disappointed with Rangoon’s fate. The sad part is that everyone involved was definitely capable of delivering a better film.

Trade Analyst Amod Mehra minces no words when he speaks of what went wrong.  "The film is a hotch-potch. You can't clearly understand the numerous sub-plots that are there in the film. Lots of loose ends and unanswered questions ruin the film. It's definitely an attempt at recreating Pearl Harbor (2001), but fails miserably. It shows in the box-office collection."

Sad but true!

Thumbnail Image Source:  twitter/RangoonTheFilm & youtube/Viacom18 Motion Pictures 

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