After a lull last week when “Bittoo Boss” bit the dust and only “Housefull 2” continued its victory march, it was a bumper week again for the box-office this week, thanks to both the new releases, “Vicky Donor” and “Hate Story,” as well as the Apr. 6 release “Housefull 2,” which became the 12th film to join the elite Rs. 100 crore league since “Ghajini” first achieved the feat in 2008.
This is the first time for both Akshay Kumar and John Abraham, and the second for veteran Rishi Kapoor (after “Agneepath” earlier this year) to touch this mark. The film touched Rs. 100.5 crore by Sunday (its 17th day), though one trade source pegs it at Rs. 102.25 crore.
For John Abraham, the week was doubly fertile as his maiden production, “Vicky Donor,” hit the right spot. Like the proverbial turtle, it started slow and won the race against the hare that was Vikram Bhatt's “Hate Story,” a sex- and F*** word-rich revenge saga of a wronged woman.
Even before the good reviews poured in unanimously, the comedy with a message picked up by solid word-of-mouth from the opening day's evening shows both at multiplexes and single-screens. By Saturday, it had already stolen an overall march over “Hate Story,” maintaining its lead on Sunday and enhancing it on Monday when it was even leading in single-screens, where “Hate…” had being ahead of it till weekend.
Eros International, co-producers of “Vicky…” issued a press release claiming an all-India net collection of Rs. 11.4 cr. But all the trade analysts and trade website were near unanimous (for a change) that the all-India collection for the film about a sperm donor and the issue about sperm donation collected around Rs. 7.5 cr while “Hate Story” netted around Rs. 6.6 crore.
The pattern was clear: “Vicky Donor” went from a slow Rs. 1.7 crore (as against Rs. 2.1 crore for the rival release) and rose sharply to Rs. 2.75 crore on Saturday and Rs. 3 crore on Sunday as against Rs. 1.8 crore on Saturday and Rs. 2.2 crore on Sunday for the Vikram Bhatt film.
“Vicky Donor” has done extraordinarily well, considering everything, says trade analyst Amod Mehra, placing the cost of “Vicky...” at Rs. 7-8 crore including prints and publicity. “Hate Story,” which, however, has performed better at smaller centers, cost about Rs. 8-8.5 crore, notes Jaymin Panchal, VP, ASA Films, which produced the movie.
Manoj Desai of G-7 multiplex in Mumbai (which has the ambience and ticket-rates of single-screens) says that both films will not be major hits. "They will be commission earners. There is a dip in business on Monday. ‘Tezz,’ a big movie, is also releasing on Friday and it remains to be seen whether the films will now sustain, especially if ‘Tezz’ lives up to expectations.” Will “Tezz” meet up to the hopes the trade has from it? Desai quips: “Nowadays, we feel scared to predict anything!”
But Desai adds that it was “Housefull 2” that even in its third weekend had a "Housefull" board up on one show at his largest theatre, Gaiety. “That is really remarkable!” he states, and Joshi agrees, “With almost 70 percent occupancy at PVR properties across the country on the third weekend, it was the best performer with more money collected than either of the new releases.” The collections of this film stood at almost Rs. 10 crore this weekend.
It's time for the industry to smile once again. And yes, the IPL season is no longer the terror it was touted to be for the last few years, simply because the right film was not around to take on the challenge of cricket!