Well, the paid preview for one of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s most controversial films Padmaavat starts in a couple of hours at select centres. But the protests by members of the Karni Sena don’t seem to end. Though the apex court’s verdict on the film’s release allows it to be released all over India, theaters in mainly three states Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are yet to come to a decision whether they will release the movie tomorrow. Multiplex Association of India will be taking a call later in the evening on this. With security being beefed up at theaters and vandals on the loose, how will the Bhansali helmed magnum opus fare at the box office? Indian express.com spoke to theater owners and trade analysts for their expert opinion.
A senior official at a multiplex chain, on condition of anonymity, revealed that the film’s paid preview bookings have been good. “Paid previews are happening in select theaters across few centres. People want to go watch the film and hence tickets sale for these shows has been more than 40% given it’s a weekday. Even booking for tomorrow is about 60% and we will know how safe is it for patrons to come and watch the film. So though it’s a big film, we may not get a great opening in terms of box office till the security issue is settled.”
Senior trade analyst Girish Wankhede feels that the film will work very well as the reviews have been positive and people now are more eager to watch, hence the theaters had paid preview it happens only for highly anticipated films. “It’s a huge film and a solo release and has all the factors to make excellent business. The actual release is tomorrow and I have a feeling that by tomorrow afternoon the protests will fizzle out and thus the 3day long run will help the movie to make it one of the highest grossers of the weekend. It has a straight 2-week window and thus business will be tremendous.”
Manoj Desai, owner of Gaiety and Galaxy cinemas, added, “Once security issue is fixed at single screen theaters I don’t see any reason for the film to not have a great run at the ticket windows. The audiences love Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, and on a long weekend, it will definitely do great business if security arrangements are in place.”
Security issue may get resolved as by tomorrow the Karni Sena will only be making a fool of themselves as audiences have loved the movie feels Atul Mohan of Super Cinema. “The word is out that the film is a cinematic experience where they haven’t tampered history and only makes one proud of Rajput valour. And people have seen this now and so you can’t fool anyone anymore by objecting to the film. Paid previews have had great response. The ticket prices have also been increased. So I believe that film will do Rs 100 crores by Saturday, as people really want to watch and know what is so offensive in the film! This will reveal that it was all an attention-grabbing gimmick by Karni Sena people. So I feel all the protests will end tomorrow afternoon itself.”
Trade expert Taran Adarsh, however, feels it’s too early to talk about how much will the movie be able to make under the circumstances of violent protest and beefed up security. “I will only say that it’s a wait and watch situation.”
Well then yes let’s wait and watch how tomorrow unfolds for Padmaavat!