The Priyanka Chopra starrer, Mary Kom kicked off on a high note at the box-office. It was smooth sailing for the Omung Kumar helmed biopic. With no contenders at the BO, the film has managed to garner Rs.8.50 crore nett on its opening day. Compared with the Rani Mukerji starrer Mardaani, which was given a tax free status in several states after it was released and earned Rs.3.46 crore nett on its first day, Mary Kom gained because it opened with the subsidy in Maharashtra and a few other regions.
Mary Kom released in around 3000 screens and the business was better at multiplexes than single screens. A lion’s share of Friday’s collection came from plexes in metros. However, in states like Bihar, UP, Rajasthan and Gujarat the collections were on the lower side. Trade analysts opine that multiplexes have given many screens to Mary Kom and in some circuits, they are almost at par with a Salman Khan starrer. Manoj Desai of G7 cinemas said, “Priyanka Chopra’s Mary Kom may just break the opening weekend collection records of the recently released women oriented films like Rani Mukerji’s Mardaani and Kangana Ranaut’s Queen.”
Film exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi says, “Without getting into the debate of categorising films, in today’s times, the focus is about delivering a film that is entertaining, and that’s what this film does from the first scene to the last. Mary Kom is a story of an ordinary Indian stealing the limelight. More than a sports film, it is a human interest drama, which our audience absolutely enjoy, be it Lagaan or Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. These are stories of underdogs and that is what works well. I am confident that Mary Kom will sustain.”
The stupendous response to the film has silenced the critiques who had been quite vocal in their criticism about casting Priyanka Chopra for the role of a North-East Indian. “Priyanka Chopra is the best actor that we have in Bollywood’s talent pool. The collection highlights that the producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali and director Omung Kumar made the right choice,” adds Rathi.
While we cannot rule out the possibility of the opening weekend collection to be in the ballpark figure of Rs.30 crore, Mary Kom needs to mint around Rs.60 crore to break even, going strictly by trade figures.
While Mary Kom may seemingly draw better business in the opening weekend as compared to Mardaani, it must be pointed out that Mardaani was released across 950 screens as compared to Mary Kom’s 3000 screen. Another disadvantage was that Mardaani obtained tax free status a week after its release. In Maharashtra, there has been a appeal to make Mardaani tax free, but the written orders have not yet been given.
According to official figures provided by UTV Motion Pictures, Raja Natwarlal has collected Rs.26.51 crore till September 4. The opening weekend clashed with the Ganesh Chathurthi festivities which affected the collections according to Rathi. “After watching films like Shanghai and Ghanchakkar, the audience was confused about what to expect. Raja Natwarlal was caught in between two kinds of audience that Hashmi has built upon. The few shows that the film has, is sustaining at a low level occupany across multiplexes and single screens,” says Rathi.
While the audience for upcoming releases — Creature 3D and Finding Fanny individually are poles apart and will not impact each other’s business; they are up for competition with Mary Kom’s flying start. “Mary Kom is likely to have a good number of shows in the second week, as far as programming goes in multiplexes. Cinemas that will keep Mary Kom are likely to have lesser shows of these upcoming releases,” elaborates trade analyst Vinod Mirani.
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