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Decoding how Manjummel Boys took over Tamil Nadu box office and saved cinemas

Manjummel Boys has found acceptance beyond the usual Malayalam-film-watching crowd in Tamil Nadu.

Decoding how Manjummel Boys took over Tamil Nadu box office and saved cinemas

Manjummel Boys poster

Last Updated: 06.31 PM, Mar 06, 2024


The latest Malayalam film, Manjummel Boys , has not only taken over the Tamil Nadu box office but has also outperformed native Tamil movies, creating history by reaching audiences beyond multiplex screens and urban localities. Rakesh Gowthaman, the proprietor of Vettri Theatres in Tamil Nadu, shared his insights on the unexpected success of the film in an exclusive interview with OTTplay.

Initially uninterested in screening Manjummel Boys in his cinema chain due to historical crowd trends, Rakesh decided to take a chance on the film, considering its growing popularity in the state. Two weeks after its initial theatrical release, Rakesh allocated a few shows for the movie to test the waters. Based on the positive response received through bookings, he increased the number of shows and also moved the film to larger screens in his cinemas.

Manjummel Boys rewrites box office rules

To Rakesh's surprise, the film exceeded his expectations, challenging his preconceptions about the box office trade. He remarked, "Since there were not many Tamil movies currently running, I thought, why not screen this (Manjummel Boys)? I never expected this to take over the entire shows of my theatre over the weekend. We had given five shows on the main screen and another three shows on the smaller screen, both of which sold out. This is performing on par with a superhit Tamil movie."

Manjummel Boys has found acceptance beyond the usual Malayalam-film-watching crowd in Tamil Nadu. The film's terrific commercial performance is currently fueled by its ability to captivate native Tamil audiences, who have traditionally avoided Malayalam movies.

"Malayalam movies often seem very realistic and natural. They lack the over-the-top heroism typically seen in Tamil and Telugu movies," Rakhesh explained, offering insight into why Malayalam movies generally don't appeal to mass audiences in Tamil Nadu.

Rakhesh revealed that Manjummel Boys was the first film he saw in theatres, and it seemed to dispel all presumptions he may have had about Malayalam cinema. Set against Kodaikanal, with most conversations in the local language, first-time audiences like Rakhesh find it easy to enjoy Manjummel Boys.

Manjummel Boys sparks hope for Malayalam films in Tamil Nadu


The film heavily relies on visuals to convey the narrative and is played with subtitles, making it accessible to a broader audience. Rakhesh added, "Even an audience who does not understand English subtitles will at least understand 60-70% of the movie."

The box office business in Tamil Nadu has been going through a dull phase since last December. After director Karthik Subbaraj's Jigarthanda DoubleX, none of the Tamil films, including the Pongal releases Captain Miller and Ayalaan, managed to draw large audiences to theatres.

As stakeholders were staring at another brutal dry month at the box office, Manjummel Boys arrived just in time, giving the much-needed push to the business of cinema in the state.

"It is a dry season where no other good Tamil movies are there. People are craving for some entertainment. And this movie falls in a genre where it spreads a lot of positivity about friendship. It is not a sad movie where it is very preachy. There's a lot of light-hearted stuff in this movie," remarked Rakhesh.

Despite its limited screening, Manjummel Boys has grossed more than Rs 21 crore in Tamil Nadu in the last 13 days. The film's worldwide collection is now pegged at more than Rs 100 crore .

However, Rakhesh also tempers his expectations about Malayalam films repeating similar success stories at the Tamil Nadu box office in the future. "This will be one of its kind. I don't think an event like this will happen again," he cautioned.

Nevertheless, Rakhesh is now planning to screen another Malayalam movie, Premalu, in his theatres next week. The romantic comedy, starring Naslen K. Gafoor and Mamitha Baiju, released during Valentine's week, emerged as the first big hit in Malayalam cinema this year. Made at a modest cost of Rs 3 crore, the film has already raked in more than Rs 80 crore from its global ticket sales.

To cash in on the success, the producers of Premalu are also releasing the movie this week in Tamil and Telugu.

Based on the film's bullish trend, Manjummel Boys is expected to earn close to Rs 50 crore in Tamil Nadu alone. Whether or not another Malayalam film will find similar success, Manjummel Boys has very likely increased the margin of audiences in Tamil Nadu who will look forward to new Malayalam movies.

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