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We are moving from one extreme to the other as far as the box office in Hindi belts. While last week saw the release of a film as front loaded as KGF Chapter, which was consumed by a large section of audience on day one itself, the next 5 Friday’s will see the release of filming banking on the content to see the spike in collections on Saturday and consolidate that further on Sunday. In the pre-pandemic times, the trade addressed them as Saturday films, with plenty of them succeeding at a big level.
But ever since the start of the pandemic, these Saturday films i.e. mid sized content driven fims, couldn’t really get the cash registers ringing. These films are back in a big way from April 22 with the release of Shahid Kapoor fronted Jersey. It falls right in the category of films that show growth over the weekend – riding on a content with a popular film star leading the baton. The sports drama is looking at a start of Rs 6 to 7 crore on Friday, but if it’s supported by positive reports, it might start clocking the double digit mark each on Saturday and Sunday.
Jersey is followed by two Eid releases, Runway 34 and Heropanti 2. While one is a high on content dramatic thriller fronted by Ajay Devgn, the other is a front-loaded action-packed entertainer with Tiger Shroff in his elements. The Ajay Devgn film targets the multiplex audience and hence, the trend on the first five days will be heavily dependent on how good the audience reports are. Due to the presence of a star as big as Ajay Devgn, the single digit start will easily double up by Sunday and will stay steady due to the Eid benefit on Monday and Tuesday.
The Tiger Shroff film is essentially a front loaded one, but with Eid falling on the weekdays, there will be the Pre-Eid factor that will hit the collections in mass belts. It’s not a KGF that will get audiences across the board excited enough to even bypass the Pre-Eid factor. Heropanti 2 is essentially a Friday film, but the lack of hit music makes it a Saturday or rather a Sunday film with business depending on how the target audience reacts to the content.
The Marvel Film, Doctor Strange is as front loaded as it gets, but here we are talking of Bollywood films, so it’s better to skip May 13, which sees the release of Jayeshbhai Jordaar fronted by Ranveer Singh. From the looks of it, the film seems like a high on content cinema but isn’t exactly a film that would have the audience flocking from the first show. A star like Ranveer Singh will ensure some movement on the opening day, but once his star power has the backing of organic audience word of mouth, the jumps on Saturday and Sunday will be for everyone to see. It seems like a family entertainer and hence, a positive talk just elevates the possibility of bigger than usual jumps on Saturday and Sunday.
The exception in this list of releases is the Kartik Aaryan fronted Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. The first part of the horror comedy driven by Akshay Kumar has a strong recall value among the audience and the teaser too has done the trick to create nostalgia with the use of right beats. Presence of Kartik get’s the youth excited, whereas the genre and director Anees Bazmee too have a dedicated audience. The goodwill of part one, hit music (expected) and an audience preferred genre makes Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 one of the very few front-loaded films. Of course, the jump through the weekend will come only with a positive word of mouth, but it’s among those rare films in the vicinity that can clock a double digit opening upon its release (We hold back on assurance until we see the trailer). The on-ground campaign at some multiplex chains with regards to integration of the horror comedy is also effective and impressive.
The month of May ends with Anek, with Ayushmann Khurrana in lead. The actor over the years has become the King of Saturday Films. While his Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui couldn’t repeat the pre-pandemic era, one expects Anek to get him back on track. It’s these mid-range Saturday films that fill the release calendar and hence it’s crucial for some of these (especially ones with genuinely good talk) to succeed and get back the trend of mid-sized successes back in the business. Bollywood as an industry sees the release of over 100 films a year, but just 10 of them are event cinema. So, it’s essentially these films which spell a revival in true sense.