Bollywood's 'bhaijaan' Salman Khan, with his latest Eid release 'Sultan', brought festivity to ticket counters on Wednesday.
Trade experts feel the movie, which features the superstar flex his muscles as a wrestler, will rock the box office with an opening day collection of close to Rs 40 crore and more during its five-day opening weekend.
Several theatres across the country are going "sold out" and are "houseful" -- in tune with what the film fraternity had expected the scenario to be. And that did not get altered with a change in the date of the Eid celebrations. Eid was earlier to be celebrated in India on Wednesday, but the holiday date was later shifted to Thursday.
“The opening (of 'Sultan') has been huge. I thought since Eid is on Thursday it will affect the collections, but the opening has been great. It was close to 90 per cent occupancy on Day 1 and now I feel the film will collect close to Rs 40 crore on its opening day," Mumbai-based distributor Rajesh Thadani told IANS.
The collection of the Yash Raj Films production will undoubtedly be bigger on Thursday, Thadani addd.
According to Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of PVR Pictures, the response to the movie has been on expected lines.
"The film has opened with unprecedented curiosity. The advance sales which were open on Sunday were indicating towards a strong start at the box office today. That's exactly what has happened," Gianchandani said.
"'Sultan' is a huge blockbuster. The film will finish its run with a massive box office collection. The seat occupancy has been somewhere around 85 to 90 per cent since (Wednesday) morning," he said.
A major reason behind such massive opening of the film is not just Salman's huge fan following, but also the actor's Eid luck factor. All of Salman's films released on the auspicious occasion -- 'Wanted', 'Dabangg', 'Bodyguard', 'Ek Tha Tiger', 'Kick' and 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' -- had raked in moolah upon their release.
Theatres are buzzing with activity courtesy 'Sultan', which is directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and also stars Anushka Sharma.
The movie features Salman as a rustic wrestler from Haryana who goes on to win medals for the country, but loses his way after that. The plot revolves around how he reinvents his wrestler streak in mixed martial arts.
People are not only liking how the film reflects Salman's aura but also the action-packed drama in it.
“'Sultan' has opened to full houses across INOX cinemas. Audiences are loving the film. Advance bookings for the weekend is extra-ordinary. Going by this trend, we expect 'Sultan' to create a new record for highest opening weekend and hopefully highest grossing film of all times,” said Rajender Singh, Vice-President, Programming and Distribution, INOX Leisure Ltd.
Devang Sampat, Director - Strategy Initiative, Cinepolis India said: “We had 25 per cent advance booking for 'Sultan' with almost 55,000 tickets sold on Tuesday itself. It is the highest advance booking for any movie and clearly shows the power of Salman.
"We understand that, and have allocated 80 per cent shows to 'Sultan' on Wednesday across our 252 screens and will follow the similar strategy for the long week. This will surely be the biggest blockbuster of the year till date."
Distributor Sunil Bhansal said that apart from its commercial success, 'Sultan' has also been applauded critically - which will help the film to remain strong at the box office in the coming days.
“The opening of 'Sultan' is excellent, and the best part is that the reviews are also positive. Salman’s fans are going crazy in cinemas and they have been clapping and whistling throughout the film. The film will easily cross Rs 40 crore on Wednesday. Tomorrow the collections will only get bigger and better,” Bhansal said.
What has also worked in the movie's favour, according to Amit Sharma, Managing Director, Miraj Entertainment Ltd, is that the team's "planning and execution" of its marketing strategy was "perfect" through various offline and online media.