I-Day Films

“Mission Mangal” (left) has emerged as Akshay Kumar’s highest-ever opener. John Abraham’s home production “Batla House” (right) has got an opening of Rs. 14.59 crore. (photo provided)

MUMBAI— As expected by almost all the industry, trade and media, it’s been a great day this Aug. 15 and a bonanza for Hindi cinema.

As this writer had predicted to fellow media persons and on his social media, “Mission Mangal” HAS emerged as Akshay Kumar’s highest-ever opener with a smash collection in India of Rs. 29.16 crore on opening day, which was a holiday for India’s Independence Day but also Raksha Bandhan day when several families are celebrating the brother-sister bond in most parts of India.

Even more than this movie, this is probably the best gift actor-producer Akshay Kumar, co-producer R. Balki, debutant director Jagan Shakti and the complete team could have given as a birthday gift to ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) on turning 50 years old on the very day. The movie has been released with 3000 prints in India.

India’s first space film based on the story of scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization, who contributed to the Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan, in 2014, is also among the highest Independence Day grossers after “Singham Returns” (Rs. 32 crore) in 2014 and “Ek Tha Tiger” (Rs. 31 crore) in 2012. Previous Akshay Kumar films that released on and around this day are “Rustom” (2017) and “Gold” (2018). All these films had a patriotic or nationalistic subjects.

“Mission Mangal” has created records in South as well. Akshay who holds a strong market there, gets the widest release for any of his Hindi films, beating the opening day of “Gold” by 1.4 times, and so it becomes his biggest opener also in the South.

Having hit the right chord, this Jagan Shakti directorial emerges as the second biggest opener of 2019 after “Bharat,” released on Eid this year, which also has been Salman Khan’s highest-ever opener.

Meanwhile, John Abraham’s home production “Batla House” has also got an opening of Rs. 14.59 crore. This is a creditable achievement, given that the film prints could not be delivered to a few centers due to the last-minute changes suggested by the court after it dismissed several petitions from undertrials in the real Batal House incident as well as other vested interests.

But with a total budget of 47 crore including costs of prints, publicity and advertising, “Batla House” has already recovered Rs. 40 crore from satellite, digital and music rights. The film has released in 2750 screens across the country.

Both films have also had decent collections outside the country. August 15 was never better for Hindi cinema.

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