Rajkummar Rao's Newton was the proverbial David as it took on the box-office Goliath -- in this case, Sanjay Dutt's Bhoomi and Shraddha Kapoor's Haseena Parkar -- last Friday. There was tremendous curiosity around Bhoomi as it marked Dutt's return to films. Kapoor's biopic on gangster Dawood Ibrahim's sister was just as awaited, since it was viewed as a potential game-changer for the actor who, until then, was known for her candy-floss roles.

Newton, Bhoomi and Haseena Parkar

However, if the opening weekend collections are any indication, Rao's satire seems to be the audience's pick among the three Bollywood releases. While it did open on a weak note on Friday, the Amit Masurkar-directed black comedy showed an exponential rise over the following two days. With collections of Rs 2.52 crore on Saturday and Rs 3.42 crore on Sunday, it enjoyed a strong opening weekend of Rs 6.90 crore.

While Kapoor's biopic lagged behind at Rs 6.1 crore, Dutt's father-daughter drama managed to garner Rs 7.48 crore over the first weekend. What is noteworthy though is that Newton showed higher collections than both films on Saturday and Sunday.

Trade expert Amod Mehra says, "Newton's collections jumped by 162 per cent on Saturday and went further up by 35 per cent on Sunday. I think the first week collection will be in the range of Rs 11 to 13 crore, which is almost three times its production cost. Newton can be declared a winner in its very first week."

It can't be denied that Newton's selection as India's official entry to Oscars raised the audience's interest in the film. Trade analyst Akshaye Rathi explains, "It's a clear case of being at the right place at the right time. The Oscar announcement piqued the audience's curiosity and the film turned out to be the preferred choice of cinegoers."

Terming the other two releases as "washouts", Mehra adds that the box-office report proves that star-driven vehicles do not necessarily ensure success at the ticket counters. "People have completely rejected Bhoomi and Haseena Parkar. Newton's success shows that if the content is strong, the film is bound to survive even if it is released alongside a superstar's movie."

Photos: Malaika Arora, Kareena Kapoor Khan at Isha Ambani's bash
Photos: Malaika Arora, Kareena Kapoor Khan at Isha Ambani's bash