Tiger Zinda Hai

Salman Khan starrer “Tiger Zinda Hai” has taken a gigantic opening in India to become the biggest non-holiday opener of all time. (Tiger Zinda Hai/Twitter photo)

MUMBAI— The festive season in India has kick-started much in advance, courtesy Superstar Salman Khan’s “Tiger Zinda Hai.” The actor, who is known to command a massive fan following across the country, is having his fans rejoice over the festive film release.

No, milk is not poured as ‘abhishek’ over his idols (THAT is Rajinikanth territory!), but when this writer watched the film at a Mumbai theater that is like a multiplex in aura and economics even though it is a single-screen technically, Khan’s entry, his expressions, and all his one-liners, known (from the trailer) or freshly heard, were partly or wholly drowned by cheers and whistles. This frenzy and enthusiasm matched the peak eras of stalwarts like Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, and Amitabh Bachchan, and in later years, Sunny Deol.

Anticipation levels have been at a peak with Salman fans going into a frenzy. Many screens opened to “Housefull” boards, something not seen for years in Mumbai, and the average occupancy for the first show across the country was 80 percent – a phenomenal figure for today’s times.

An ardent fan, Vijay Singh, bought 100 tickets at the G-7 multiplex in Mumbai for his friends and family members. He was even seen distributing few tickets to the actor’s fans for free. This Bandra multiplex, which operates like seven single-screens with mass-friendly rates, witnessed fanatics from across town flocking to the first show. A Ghatkopar (this suburb is over 15 kilometers away) resident said, “We are Salman Khan's fans. We will come from anywhere to watch his movies, and Bandra is his area, so we wanted to watch it over here.”

A differently-abled senior from Matunga was among the crowd to catch the early show and said, “I usually don’t go for movies. I am a disabled person and live in Mahim (about 2 kilometers away), but I watch all of Salman's movies first-day first show."

The theater also witnessed kids that had skipped schools to be a part of the audience. Some were even accompanied by their families to grab the first show!

For theaters in other parts of the country, fans have been reveling on the streets to mark the return of Tiger. As someone outside G-7 remarked, “A Salman Khan release is like a festival for us!”

The bottom line: You know when a Salman Khan movie hits theaters. Even on a non-holiday, people queue up to buy tickets, and you will spot at least five of them sporting the famous Afghani scarf around their neck! The trailer had created a sensation, and the movie is the last word in hysteria. Remember that Khan’s last release “Tubelight,” had seen him being beaten up, which his fans could not digest, so there is heightened anticipation that their hero will break all hostile bones in this new film!

Box-Office Update:

The film has taken a gigantic opening in India to become the biggest non-holiday opener of all time. It earned INR 33.75 crore nett in India as it raced past the previous non-holiday record held by “Dhoom:3” (also a YRF film).

The film opened to largely positive reviews from critics and thanks to audiences; business is expected to exponentially grow over the Christmas holiday weekend. “Tiger Zinda Hai” opened to a massive 5700 screens worldwide, with the India screen count being a mammoth 4600. It is expected to cross 100 crore within the first three days comfortably, and with Monday being a holiday, the sky can be the limit.

In this special box-office report, bollywoodhungama.com stated that in the overseas market of U.A.E./ G.C.C., the film saw a humungous start with a staggering USD 950,000-plus or Rs. 6.08 crore-plus on its opening day Thursday (Dec. 21).

However, the overall collections of the film were a tad affected as the film has been banned in Kuwait. The loss of business from this sector is pegged at around USD 200,000 or a little less than Rs.1.5 crore.

The film's opening collection in Australia and New Zealand was also massive. Friday saw Australia collect A$ 203,882 or Rs. 1.01 cr, while New Zealand saw it earn NZ$ 85,797 or Rs. 38.54 lakh. The film is said to have grossed Rs. 65 crore worldwide on day 1.

Commenting on the spectacular opening, director-co-writer Ali Abbas Zafar said, “It is an overwhelming and a humbling moment. I thank the audiences for showering so much love on the film. The cast and crew and the entire YRF team have toiled their hearts out, and this incredible success will be cherished by all of us. I’m delighted that the film has lived up to the expectations of the fans of India’s biggest action hero Salman Khan and that audiences are enjoying the film across the country and are giving us such huge thumbs-up.”

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