The movie is a remake of the Korean film, Ode to My Father.
While an Eid release is synonymous to Salman Khan, the industry is now debating if the star is a safe bet for the festive release, with two of his earlier releases performing poorly at the box office.
Neither Tubelight nor Race 3, in 2017 and 2018 respectively, could bring audiences in large numbers to the theatres — a rather rare scenario for Salman’s films, especially during Eid holiday.
Single-screens which ran Tubelight suffered huge losses. Film trade analyst Komal Nahta tweeted then, “In Ferozabad (U.P.), two cinemas, Sant & Bharat, lost entire price of Rs 9.11 lakh. Maya cinema of Hathras (U.P.) claims he lost all that he earned in Baahubali 2 & Dangal in Tubelight alone, which he booked for Rs 4.11 lakh.”
The film, which was made at a cost of Rs 135 crore, earned Rs 114 crore.
Although Salman’s Race 3 was not a loss-making venture, thanks to satellite and digital rights, it did turn out to be a major disappointment in 2018 at the box office — at a time when the film industry saw more hits than flops.
Now, all eyes are on Bharat which will hit theatres on June 5. According to film trade analyst Sarita Singh, Bharat which is a remake of the Korean film --- Ode to My Father --- has the capacity to make as much as Rs 400 crore.
“It (Bharat) is very important for his stardom because he has to give one hit on Eid. That is how he survives. This movie will keep him in the number one race as his last two movies did not do well. So, he is completely dependent on the film. He wants the film to be successful and he is going out of the way to make sure the film works and is also making sure that ticket rates go down,” said Singh.
Although Salman and team are making sure that ticket rates have been hiked – an industry norm for big-ticket ventures – there are certain exhibitors who are going ahead with 20 percent hike on the movie tickets, said Singh.
“They know that they are going to make big money out of the film since many films didn’t do well. They have low footfalls so they want to cover up as much as possible from Bharat,” she added.Harish Bijoor - brand-expert and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, commented on how important Bharat is for Salman Khan.
“Salman Khan is only as good as his last two hits. Public memory in the realm of cinema is getting not only proverbially, but really short as well. The public out there is putting their money where the hit is. For that reason Bharat is critical for Salman,” he said.
Salman’s Bharat is not only important for the actor but also for the industry.
Singh believes,"If Bharat crosses Rs 300 crore, the year will be good for the industry.”
“Bharat is important for the second quarter for distributors, producers even for the audiences. It is important for Bollywood to sustain,” she added.
The opening day number for Bharat is pegged at Rs 35 crore, which will be the highest first day number this year for a Hindi film.
Singh thinks, “The ground is very strong for the opening. If the content is good it will sustain and I think the Korean movie Ode to My Father, the content of the film is very good. It is one of the biggest hits in Korea. I don’t know how close will be the Indian remake to the original but it may work.”
The advance booking for the film looks strong. However, it is not close to Khan’s 2016 release Sultan. Singh says advance booking for the film is around 25 percent.
Hyderabad is getting the most number of shows booked, which is around 60 percent. Other circuits like Chennai and Delhi are also doing well with shows getting booked in the range of 25-30 percent.
Reportedly, a Salman Khan fan in Nashik has booked an entire theatre in advance to watch Bharat, and another one booked 150 seats in a cinema hall.
That’s why Singh believes that Salman dominates the theatres and believes that there will be no competition from Dark Phoenix, the 12th instalment in the X-Men franchise which is releasing on the same day.
Salman, who has a record number of movies minting Rs 100 crore, has to prove his mettle with his latest offering Bharat as the audience expects quality content now more than ever rather than films backed by star power.
Bijoor puts another aspect into perspective.“A point to note is the fact that cinema in the theatres competes today with cinema of the OTT kind in the home. In the era of a reinvigorated OTT environment, it is important for Bharatto get the home-hued OTT audience out into the theatres again. Bharat and every new release competes today with this new animal called OTT,” said Bijoor. Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated markets data, exclusive trading recommendations, independent equity analysis, actionable investment ideas, nuanced takes on macro, corporate and policy actions, practical insights from market gurus and much more.