In a bumper box-office week that began April 6, Sajid Khan’s “Housefull 2” led the assault on IPL by notching up Rs. 42 crore in the opening weekend and Rs. 50 crore net by Monday night in India.
Answering the ever-niggling question of whether IPL can influence show business (read good films), the four releases of the week gone by (April 6) struck a bumper harvest, almost as if the cricket season was non-existent. The “Housefull” boards were up for not only this wacky comedy but also the 3D version of “Titanic,” which grossed over Rs. 50 crore in its first run in India 13 years ago, “Racha,” the Telugu action blockbuster starring Ram Charan Teja and the most expensive Punjabi film ever made, “Mirza.”
So powerful was the impact of the two regional films on home ground that they affected even the Akshay Kumar-led multi-star film that has given Khan a hat-trick of hits as a director. Nevertheless, the film managed a good opening on Friday, slumped marginally on Saturday and zoomed up on Sunday, notching up figures like Rs. 14, 13 and 15 crore respectively on the three days, though Sunday collections as pegged by Amod Mehra were Rs. 16 crore and by Bollywoodhungama.com at Rs. 17 crore.
“Titanic,” in 3-D, garnered Rs. 6.1 crore in its opening weekend from 213 screens across the country, For the Indian market, it has been dubbed in three local languages with a record 70 screens converted to 3D in time for this film. “Housefull 2,” contrary to expectations, has bridged the single-screen-multiplex divide.
Says Prakhar Joshi, Head-Programming, PVR Cinemas, “It’s almost as if IPL is not happening! Across our chains, no tickets were available for all four films on the weekend. “Housefull 2” has shown 80 percent attendance at our cinemas, with a superb weekend business of Rs. 5.3 crore. This is undoubtedly Akshay Kumar’s biggest opener.”
Atypically of the multiplex audience, he also notes that the audience seems to be thoroughly enjoying the film and expressing this with laughter and applause, which is always very restrained with the audiences in such theatres, at least in Mumbai. Said Joshi, “The remarkable part is that so far most recent Akshay Kumar films had taken a drop on Monday, but despite the IPL again, the shows starting in our cinemas from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on this day have registered a 50 to 60 percent occupancy in our Mumbai properties and 80-90 percent, which is superb, in Gujarat, Indore, Delhi and other centers. After the (Rs.) 42 crore net opening weekend, I foresee Rs. 60 crore by the end of week one and if I am not wrong, the second week should be strong too.”
While Eros International did not revert, and neither did producer Sajid Nadiadwala, the overseas figures of “Housefull 2” were reported to be an impressive Rs. 5.5 crore on the opening weekend. They have been singularly impressive across the U.K., U.S., Australia, New Zealand and U.A.E.
Says an exhibitor from USA who would not like to be named, “Despite bad reviews, offensive dialogues and bad word-of-mouth, the picture actually opened well and is doing decent business. It opened at number 9 with a $847,132 opening weekend. Now let's see, what happens in the second weekend. The problem here with Indian movies is that they drop big time then. There are only a few exceptions like ‘Kahaani’ and ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.’ Even ‘Agneepath’ had an 80-85 percent drop.”
However, the film seems to be comfortably set to enter the elite 100-crore club, becoming Akshay Kumar’s and John Abraham’s first film to reach that mark.