“Dabangg 2” has started its record-breaking-spree! The collections over the first three days in India have surpassed that of “Ek Tha Tiger,” claims the film’s PR agency. Consequently, the movie crossed the magic figure of Rs. 100 crore by day 6 (Dec.26).
The film opened to Rs. 21.1 crore on Dec.21 (a working Friday vis-à-vis “…Tiger” at Rs. 32 crore on opening day – Independence Day) with Rs. 19.06 crore on day two and Rs. 25 crore on Sunday, taking its collection to a massive Rs. 65.16 crore net, beating that of Salman Khan's “Ek Tha Tiger,” which collected Rs. 57 crore in its first three days (Wednesday to Friday).
Moreover, “Ek Tha Tiger” was an Independence Day-Eid release but “Dabangg 2” has achieved this feat in spite of being a non-holiday release, as Christmas vacations began in India only from Dec. 24. Moreover, “…Tiger” saw inflated ticket-rates at many movie theatres, unlike “Dabangg 2,” which is reasonably budgeted.
Arbaaz Khan’s directorial debut has been released in over 3,500 screens across India.
The performance of “Dabangg 2” overseas has been, however, on a lower key. Atul Desai of Laguna Halls Mall Cinemas told India-West the film’s per-screen average was much lower than that of “…Tiger.” One reason could be that “Dabangg 2” had 46 screens more than “…Tiger,” and the fact that it was the pre-Christmas season, but the total weekend gross is lower by $ 0.14 million.
Nevertheless, this reporter, based on his own analysis pre-release and confirmed after watching the product which is far superior to “…Tiger,” predicts a domestic lifetime (first theatrical run, and nowadays re-runs do not happen in A-list movie-halls) net collection of at least Rs. 160 crore. The figures quoted in India for “…Tiger” vary from Rs. 186 to 199 crore, and one trade analyst on condition of anonymity reveals that “…Tiger” did cross Rs. 200 crore but the facts were hidden because of the sentiments of the production company’s longstanding relationship with another superstar! “How can collections stop exactly at Rs 199.3 crore?” he reasons.
Whatever be the truth, despite the Eid and Diwali hype, it is always the Christmas season and Santa Claus that have been the far more consistent benefactors of the box-office, right from the days when Salman Khan’s lead debut, “Maine Pyar Kiya,” released on the second-last Friday of 1989 and routed biggies like “Ram Lakhan.” In those ancient days, “MPK” was said to be the first film to cross Rs. 3 crore (!!) per territory, when any one-crore grosser was celebrated as a major hit when only theatrical collections were there and even music rights were nominal!
The true annual Christmas bounty began with the 2007 release of “Welcome” and “Taare Zameen Par,” both big hits. The 2008 “Ghajini,” actually is Hindi cinema’s first Rs. 100 crore-plus film (it grossed over Rs. 200 crore), while 2009 also saw the Christmas Day release of “3 Idiots,” the first and so far only movie to officially cross Rs. 200 crore.
2011 saw “Don2,” which proved a face-saver for Shah Rukh Khan after the “RA.One” fiasco, while even the Christmas 2010 “Toonpur Ka Superrhero,” the animation-live blend, actually made money only because of the season as homespun animation films have negligible audiences in India.