How Jawan Became One Of 2023’s Biggest Box Office Success Stories (And What Comes Next For Indian Cinema)

Trisha D.
2 Min Read

Looking at the slightly larger picture here, it appears “Jawan” isn’t an outlier. Other recent Indian blockbusters have reliably found an audience in the US, which didn’t used to happen with regularity. As mentioned, “Pathaan” was also a big winner domestically earlier this year, with the action flick taking in $17.5 million of its $128.7 million global total stateside. That’s nearly 14% of its worldwide haul.

The bigger story of the last year was “RRR,” director S.S. Rajamouli’s Indian epic that took the world by storm in 2022. Starring Jr. NTR and Ram Charan, the film became an absolute sensation, and despite its hulking three-hour runtime and minimal advertising in the States, it managed to make more than $15 million domestically. That represents about 9% of the movie’s sizable $166.6 million total. The film even won an Oscar for Best Original Song, with “Naatu Naatu” taking home the coveted prize during Hollywood’s biggest night. It’s easy to imagine that a sequel, if one actually happens, will make even more in the US as a result.

Within the span of a calendar year and change, we’ve had three Indian films make meaningful money in North America. What’s perhaps most impressive is that much of this is being driven by word-of-mouth, as it’s not as though massive marketing campaigns are being executed for these movies in the US. Moviegoers are seeking this stuff out, much in the same way that a sizable number of people have flocked to anime in theaters in recent years. The audience is there, and the audience is finding what they’re looking for.

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