In the battle of the titans, can Shah Rukh Khan's dream project beat Salman Khan's 'Bodyguard' at the box office? We find out the true figures...
Shah Rukh Khan's RA.One released on Wednesday, amidst festive frenzy. And despite all the hoopla surrounding the release, the opening figures of the film didn't match up to the numbers of his arch-rival Salman Khan's Eid release, Bodyguard.
It's another thing, however, that the superhero and special effects extravaganza in the former made new records of highest numbers at the BO during Diwali. However, trade experts are biding time till Monday to give their verdict, whether it is a hit or not, on the film directed by Anubhav Sinha.
At the onset, veteran trade analyst Amod Mehra states that there's no comparison between RA.One and Bodyguard. "Shah Rukh's film has about 800 screens more, and therefore, more shows. The ticket prices have been hiked and it's playing in 3D in many theatres," he points out, adding that as far as first day collections are concerned, "RA.One has lost in the opening numbers.
"It earned about Rs 15.5 crore (Rs 14 cr from Hindi and Rs 1.5 crore from Tamil, Telugu) as against over Rs 21 crore netted by Bodyguard on day one," he says, attributing the figures to low turnout in evening shows due to Laxmi Puja.
However, the film's distributors peg their first day India figures at Rs 18.5 crore and Rs 25 crore on Thursday.
Sharing Mehra's opinion that Laxmi Puja was bound to affect the collections of RA.One, Komal Nahta, trade expert and editor, koimoi.com, asserts, "Due to Laxmi Puja, you should compare first day numbers of Bodyguard with second day earnings of RA.One.
By that benchmark, RA.One has earned more than Bodyguard." Nahta, who pegs the first day collections at Rs 18 crore, is sure that in five days, RA.One's net collection will surpass Bodyguard.
However, both Mehra and Nahta, share the opinion that the overseas numbers will give the best idea of the fate of the film, said to cost Rs 150 crore. A Mumbai-based distributor, on condition of anonymity, wondered where would RA.One stand at the end of nine days, coming Thursday.
"Although everyone seems to be happy with the opening numbers, they're not exactly confident of making a decent profit," he said, pointing out that the first two days' collections are not strong on their merit. "Considering more screens and shows, exhibitors are in panic mode over RA.One in the coming days."
Another distributor based in central India said that the reports were not good, thereby causing a drop on Friday. "Never mind if it's Bhai-Dooj, the concept of the movie has been rejected," he said, declining to be named. "I don't know how much it will sustain on Saturday-Sunday. It's another Tees Maar Khan."
However, Suniel Wadhwa of 52 Weeks Entertainment Inc is optimistic. Dismissing comparisons with Bodyguard, he says, "RA.One is high on graphics and visual effects. So the cost is more than double of Salman's film. It's not right to compare the revenue aspect but ignore the costs. Going by the current trend, it looks to cross Rs 90 crore in five days."
Delhi-based distributor Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts Ltd tells us that Friday morning registered a drop of about 20-25 per cent due to Bhai-Dooj. Further, he feels that SRK's film could net Rs 100 crore in five days. "However, if it drops on Monday, then it's a cause for concern. More so, because it's an expensive film.
RA.One has to maintain the momentum till November 11 to make money over and above its high investment," he declared. No wonder, the favourable verdict of the film lies with the overseas fans of SRK. As Mehra puts it: "Shah Rukh is a huge star overseas. Over there, there's no comparison between him and Salman." RA.One
26th October, Diwali Cost: Rs 150 crore
(including print and advertising)3,500 screens
1st day India net: Rs 16-18 cr
2nd day India net: Rs 25 cr
5 day projection: Rs 90-100 cr Bodyguard
31st August, Eid Cost: Rs 60 crore
(including print and advertising)2,700 screens
1st day India net: Rs 21 cr
2nd day India net: Rs 19.3 cr
5 day India net Rs 86 cr