By Manishaa R
Exhibitors and distributors who had been lying low due to dismal state of the box-office in the past several weeks are in a jubilant mood, with the phenomenal advance booking for Tiger Zindai Hai. The Salman-Katrina starrer has brought a fresh wave of relief to exhibitors whose theatres were virtually starved of business post Diwali. The unprecedented craze for the film set to release in the Christmas week, is such that exhibitors are falling over each other to book the film at their theatres.
Going by the advance booking, there seems to be a hurricane in the offing at the box-office, says Rajasthan distributor Raj Bansal
According to Rajasthan distributor Raj Bansal, the film could well be released in the largest number of screens not only in Rajasthan but all over India, “The extraordinary demand for the film is so high that the screens are on the increase every few minutes. It is like a hurricane effect at the box-office. God willing, the number could be much larger than I had initially planned,” Bansal reveals adding that he had last released the Salman starrer Sultan, in a record 150 screens in Rajasthan, “But Tiger Zinda Hai is expected to go way beyond that number. Right now it is difficult to estimate the screen count,” he says. He is also looking at the film setting new records for its opening business in the territory, “We are expecting a business in the range of Rs 32 cr plus on day one, which could be a record for a non-holiday opening day on December 22. There has been no film which has achieved that feat so far,” he prophesizes.
According to him the extraordinary demand for the film had to do with several factors, one of them being the fact that it was a Salman starrer releasing solo without any opposition in the Christmas week, “Generally there are at least two releases in the Christmas week apart from the exception of Dangal, which had also had a solo release. Also the fact that the release of Padmavati got postpone proved to be an added advantage for Tiger Zinda Hai, since there was no big film after Golmaal Again. Also the first installment Ek Tha Tiger had proved to be a huge success at the box-office which doubled the anticipation for this film,” Bansal explains.
It could be the next Baahubali at the box-office, says Bihar exhibitor Vishek Chauhan
Bansal is not the only one who is excited about the phenomenal pre-release curiosity about Tiger Zinda Hai. Leading Bihar exhibitor, Vishek Chauhan, who controls a chain of nine prominent theatres in the region, describes the film as the “next Baahubali” at the box-office, “There is something incredible and unusual about the craze for the film. We don’t get to see this kind of magic every time a film releases and it has not happened for a previous Salman starrer too. It is even bigger than a Bajrangi Bhaijaan or a Dangal. Gauging from the extraordinary trend, the opening could well be on par with Baahubali if the advance booking continues at this pace. Moreover this is happening all over India. I am told that a leading single screen theatre in Delhi has now opened the bookings for the following week in view of the huge demand. Exhibitors can well expect to close the year on a grand note,” Chauhan states.
“There is something incredible and unusual about the craze for the film. Gauging from the extraordinary trend, the opening could well be on par with Baahubali if the advance booking continues at this pace” – Vishek Chauhan, leading distributor and exhibitor
The ecstatic Bihar exhibitor attributes the anticipation for the film to several factors one of them being the fact that it is part of a successful franchise, “First of all let’s face the fact that theatres have been facing a drought of films after the postponement of Padmavati release. Apart from that, the most important factor at play here is the fact that it is a sequel to Ek Tha Tiger, which got an exceptional response at the box-office. We had seen the same factor in the Golmaal franchise, which blew the lid off the box-office. Also Tiger is the most celebrated character of Salman and the pair of Tiger and Zoya makes for a great branding. The anticipation is sky-high and then you put Salman Khan into the frame and package it in the Christmas holidays, which makes it the biggest ever film to capture the imagination of the audiences,” Chauhan articulates.
Salman is back big-time with his mass-connect- Song, Dance and Action
Apparently the audiences are also excited about the fact that Salman is back in action. Says Chauhan, “He experimented with Tubelight and now he is back to square one in his most celebrated image, high on action and romance. We are happy that Bhai is back,” adding that the biggest plus point of Tiger Zinda Hai is the scale of the film, “That’s a big attraction and the audiences are well aware of the scale of the film,” he says.
Multiplex exhibitors also admit that they are excited about the exceptional advance booking. According to Rajender Singh Jyala, Chief Programming Officer of INOX Leisure Limited, “The advance booking trends are strong and extraordinary and this is definitely happening after a long time. The focus seems to be even more on the film, since the release of Padmavati got cancelled. Also after Golmaal sequel, there was no film that worked at the box-office. We are all counting on Tiger Zinda Hai, to bring back the numbers at the box-office.”
Salman is the hero of the masses and we want them to celebrate him, says Manoj Desai
Mumbai exhibitor, Manoj Desai, has the last word, “There is no doubt that there is a huge craze for the film and the holiday season is adding to pre-release anticipation. Unlike other theatres who have hiked their admission rates, to cash on the excitement, we are firm about our commitment to our audiences at G-7 multiplex. We want the audiences to enjoy the film at our existing rates. Salman is the hero of the masses and we do not want to deprive the masses of enjoying a Salman film. We want the masses to celebrate him,” Desai quips.