Will Rajinikanth’s movie have an even more phenomenal box office opening than Salman Khan’s wrestling drama? With the release of Kabali just three days away (22 July, Friday) buzz around the film is very high.
And it’s understandable. Not only does it mark the return of superstar Rajinikanth to the big screen after nearly two years, it is also different from his previous cinematic outings like Robot, Rana, Kochadaiyaan and Lingaa in that this isn’t an animated, virtually created, overly airbrushed Rajini that fans will see, but rather, the flesh-and-blood man, looking closer to his real life age and avatar than ever before.
Add to that an engaging storyline and a soundtrack that’s gone viral, and you have a recipe for a good box office opening. Rajinikanth’s Kabali has all this, and with the mass adulation and worship that the megastar commands, the comparisons with another phenomenon — Salman Khan, and his Sultan, are natural.
Sultan opened on 6 July 2016, and earned between Rs 34-36 crore (cr) on its first day alone. It’s among the higher opening day collections for a Bollywood film — although not the highest (Salman’s own Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo earned Rs 40 cr on day one in the theatres, Shah Rukh Khan’s Happy New Year garnered Rs 44 cr). Sultan entered the coveted ‘100-crore club’ within three days (Dhoom 3 and HNY had performed the same feat, as had Salman’s 2015 releases, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and PRDP).
Kabali has already earned Rs 200 cr in pre-release business. This includes earnings from distribution rights, brand tie-ups, but not satellite rights — which should fetch the producers a neat sum quite apart from the box office collection. Advance booking tickets for all Kabali shows have been sold out — until Sunday, 24 July. In Chennai, even VIPs who want to watch the film cannot access tickets for the first few days, leading them to travel to paces like Coimbatore to catch screenings instead.