The cinema halls have opened up all across the country and with every passing day the restrictions around night curfew and occupancy cap too have been eased in multiple territories. Come Diwali and Bollywood is expecting to take a massive stride towards normalcy of the number game with the release of Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi fronted by Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif with Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh.
Almost 18 months after Baaghi, the industry is expecting a Hindi film industry to set the ball rolling with footfalls in tier 1, 2 and 3 centers with Sooryavanshi and continue the momentum with Bunty Aur Babli 2, Satyameva Jayate 2 and Antim: The Final Truth, to pack a solid punch in November. There have been releases over the period of time, however, none of them were big enough to set the cash registers ringing. Bell Bottom would have done little better if Maharashtra was open around the release to put up a total in the vicinity of Rs 50 crore, but again, that’s far off from the pre-pandemic figures of an Akshay Kumar film.
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The string of releases going forward has ignited some hope in the trade, distribution and exhibition sector and obviously, it’s Sooryavanshi that will lead the race by a big margin. The cop entertainer is expected to contribute over 50% of the total November biz, and it’s this film which would pave the majority of the path for revival of the industry with others taking tiny steps to complete the way. In an ideal pre-pandemic world, the general expectation from Sooryavanshi was to surpass the collections of Simba and make an entry in the Rs 250 crore club. Cut to today, with some occupancy restrictions in Maharashtra, all major markets are functioning with minimal restrictions.
The trade and insiders expect this Rohit Shetty film to rake in Rs 200 crore at the domestic box-office thereby becoming the first Hindi film to make an entry in the coveted club since the release of Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior in January 2020. It’s releasing on the biggest business day of the year – Post Diwali – and one expects huge walk-ins for the film at the mass belts. A record or near about record day one is expected in Gujarat. While there are questions being raised on promotions, despite all the chatter and conversations, the film has enough gone in its favor – ranging from Akshay’s audience pull at present to Rohit Shetty’s brand in the families to the goodwill and power of Ajay Devgn as Singham and Ranveer Singh Simmba, as also the appeal of Katrina Kaif in the mass belts. There is a need for the makers to release their ace card, Tip Tip Barsa Paani to set the right amount of fire in the audience.
While the walk-ins will be huge on the opening day, all that Sooryavanshi needs now is a positive word of mouth in the “audience” to record a healthy trend in the long run. Sooryavanshi will be followed by Bunty Aur Babli 2. The trailer of this comic caper has been met with a positive response in its target audience and a light hearted film is all that’s needed in today’s time. The trailer has been giving all the positive vibes, and it’s one hit song away from taking a reasonable opening in the range of Rs 4 crore and putting up a respectable lifetime total too. It gets a week-long window, and much like the pre-covid world, the film is dependent on the Saturday growth and Sunday hold to pack a punch over the weekend and put up a good total in the vicinity of Rs 40 crore.
It’s Satyameva Jayate 2 up next and the trailer has generated the heat in the mass belts of India, with exhibitors expecting to record good footfalls in the interiors. Much like Sooryavanshi, the makers have their ace in the dance number of Nora Fatehi, which is expected to elevate the buzz closer to the release. It’s set to emerge as one of the biggest openers for John Abraham and if the masses lap onto the content, it can record a healthy trend in the longer run by sustaining at lower levels on the strength of single screens. The general expectation from this Milap Zaveri directorial is in the range of Rs 60 to 70 crore. Thursday and Sunday will be two of the most important days for SMJ 2 as far as BO is concerned as the biz on these two days will give it the push to breach past a big number in the long run. It’s the biggest solo John Abraham film in terms of budget, and attaining Rs 70 crore mark even in the pandemic times will be a huge feat for the team as it finds a place in top 5 solo grossers for the actor.
Also Read: Sooryavanshi Box Office: Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif starrer rakes in Rs 24.5 crore on second day
Finally, the last release of the month is the gangster drama, Antim: The Final Truth featuring Salman Khan and Aayush Sharma. Though the film is far off from being a solo Salman Khan film, wherein the actor has his presence in every single frame of the film, the trailer suggests a proper two hero film, with ample screen time for Salman, taking away the pre-trailer buzz of the actor having just an extended cameo. Salman’s presence will draw the audience over the weekend, and it’s all about the word of mouth in the long run. It’s expected to open around the double-digit mark and put up a lifetime total in the Rs 70 crore range. The opening day biz and hold on Monday will give us a hint about the final truth of this gangster drama. For the first time in last 11 years, a film with Salman’s presence is releasing as an under-dog and this is a factor which might well work in it’s favor in the longer run if the content is good enough and if trailer is anything to go by, one expects it to deliver on the content front.
All in all, the industry is expecting at-least Rs 375 crore from the four Bollywood releases in November and this should well announce loud and clear the revival of Hindi film industry. Being one of the biggest Bollywood releases of the last 2 years, Sooryavanshi will be leading the way through and hopefully, the makers will laugh their way to the bank with their risk of holding back on the release paying off. There is a buzz about the Maharashtra and Bihar government permitting a 100 percent occupancy for cinema halls from November 15, and if this happens, the releases in the second half of November may just get some more boost.