A film's first day collections have become something of a big deal, of late. Like something of a benchmark, really. Earlier, the talk would revolve around the weekend collections or total collections of a film, but these days, the With Singham Returns, Rohit Shetty has given Ajay Devgn his highest first-day figures. Weekend numbers are therefore crucial in deciding if a film will make it to the coveted 100 crore club
Actors and filmmakers fluff up the figures of their films by few crores to make it to the highest opening category. While the competition is largely between the three Khans – Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan – one cannot ignore Akshay Kumar. While the Khans have one movie a year, their fans throng to the theatres in bulk to see them. But Akshay's collections get divided because of his multiple releases. Getting the audiences to the theatres three times in a year is not an easy feat. Says producer Ramesh Taurani, "If an actor has four releases, it may make a bit of difference on the collections of the first day, but if you look at the yearly total, it does prove profitable for the producers. Though I did expect Entertainment to do more business, I am extremely happy with the way it has been received at the box office."
Vikas Mohan, editor of the trade magazine Super Cinema adds, "Akshay does a minimum of three movies a year at an average. By that account he is the actor whose movies people watch the most in a year. Be it his professionalism or simply his passion to do movies, and above all his time management factor that sets him apart from his contemporaries. Obviously, the actors have a certain novelty factor working for them hence audiences go to watch their movies in big numbers cause they see them in one movie a year. Akshay opens at an average in the range of 10-15 crores while the rest of the actors are at an average of 25-30 crore average. So by that account itself, Akshay does decently when compared to the others. This is also the reason he is able to charge the high fees which makers pay him happily because they know, at the end of the day even his bad movie ends up with some sort of a profit. Aamir Khan has been the most profitable to the makers and the distributors in recent years given those movies' high return on investment."
The current trend
Earlier, all actors used to work on several movies a year. Aamir bucked the trend by concentrating on one movie per year. And soon a his peers followed his lead. And today not just the established stars, but even the newcomers prefer to concentrate on one movie at a time. It is the Hollywood model. When it comes to established stars, many of them also part-produce their movies hence they want to be involved in the post production of their project before starting a new project.
Wait for the holiday!
Releasing a movie on a holiday weekend is a huge bonus. With the smashing figures of Singham Returns, the fight for holiday weekend is going to get uglier. Salman Khan's Kick released on Friday but it saw a huge jump again on Tuesday, on Eid day. If there's a public holiday on the release day then the movie enjoys an uninterrupted weekend for three days instead of two before it has to face the Monday slump.
It's about the look, too
Today, most actors opt for looks that are specific for that particular movie, it then becomes impossible for them to act in two projects at the same time. Filmmakers even want their actors to retain the look for the film's promotions, making it difficult for an actor to shoot multiple films together. Actors are also made to sign contracts which make it mandatory for them to keep aside at least 40 days aside to promote a film for city tours and film promotion.
Why the first day matters
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, "The first day collections have become extremely important because it is a direct reflection of a star's power. Your standing at the box office is decided by the number that you make on the first day as it shows how much crowd can you pull in at this early stage. In the 70s and 80s, either the star would claim to be a king, emperor, prince or queen, or the media would give them these titles, but now that's changed. You title depends on the numbers at the box office. As for the Rs 100 crore club, considering the amount of the screens and the ticket rates Rs 200 crore will soon be the new Rs 100 crore. It has become important that your movie makes that much money because it has become a benchmark. But a movie doesn't become hit only by making that much money. If a movie made at Rs 120 crores makes Rs 110 crore it's a flop. It's all about the pricing. Rs 100 crores is big deal for a movie like Ek Villain, which has been made at a considerable lesser cost. Also, a movie like Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, which made 75 crores is a super hit just like a 100-crore making 2 States, because of its pricing."
Aamir: Talaash: Rs 14.52 cr
Salman: Ek Tha Tiger: Rs 32.93 cr, Dabangg 2: Rs 21 cr
SRK: Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Rs 15.23 cr
Akshay: 2012: Housefull 2: Rs 14 crore, Rowdy Rathore: Rs 15 cr, OMG! Oh My God: Rs 4 cr, Khiladi 786: Rs 9.42 cr (Total: 42)
Aamir: Dhoom 3: Rs 36.22 cr
Salman: No release
SRK: Chennai Express: 33.12 cr
Akshay: Special 26: Rs 7 cr, Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobara!: Rs Rs 11.25 cr, Boss: Rs. 18 cr (Total: 36.25)
Aamir: PK (Yet to release)
Salman: Jai Ho: Rs 17.75 cr; Kick: Rs 26.40 cr
SRK: Happy New Year (yet to release)
Akshay Kumar: Holiday: Rs 12.18 cr, Entertainment: Rs 11.16 cr, The Shaukeens (Yet to release)
The figures are approximate. However, they are adequately indicative of the box-office performance of the film.