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Has the south release Master become the highest grosser in pandemic times?

Master's opening day numbers despite the 50 percent capacity in theatres is close to what Vijay's previous 2019 release Bigil earned on day one.

January 15, 2021 / 08:18 PM IST
The Hindi version of Vijay's Master released on January 14.

The Hindi version of Vijay's Master released on January 14.

There hasn't been a dull day for theatre owners of both single screens and multiplexes across India since the release of South superstar Vijay's Master.

Theatre owners have been sharing pictures on social media of long queues outside their cinema halls of audiences who were waiting to watch Master.

The film brought cheer at the box office right from the time its advance bookings started. Analysts pointed out that the pre-booking data for Master showed housefull trends for the first 10 days.

And after the release in cinemas, the film has become highest grosser in the pandemic times. Master released in theatres on January 13. In fact, the film's opening day numbers, despite the 50 percent capacity in theatres, is close to what Vijay's previous 2019 release Bigil earned on day one both across India and in Tamil Nadu.

While Bigil had minted around Rs 55 crore on day one across India, Master has earned Rs 40 crore. When it comes to just Tamil Nadu market, Bigil had earned around Rs 32 crore whereas Master has collected around Rs 26-27 crore.


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A master stroke

"The film has not just done well in the pandemic times but this is phenomenal by any standard. Vijay has surpassed his Andhra Pradesh, Telangana record. He has broken records in Australia, New Zealand. In UAE, Master is the highest grossing film after the coronavirus outbreak. The film has surpassed Mulan, Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984," Vishek Chauhan, owner of single screen cinema Roopbani Cinema in Bihar, told Moneycontrol.

He added that people were doubting the decision of the Andhra Pradesh/Telangana distributor as he had paid a high price for the rights of Master. "But the distributor has been able to recover his money in two days," he added.

Biggest release in COVID times

Along with the film's collections, analyst Karan Taurani, Vice-President, Elara Capital, said that the film has released in the range of 3,000 to 3,500 screens which is the highest screen count any movie has got in the COVID-times.

Bollywood's first release post reopening of cinemas in India, Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari had released in around 800 screens. As for the recent big Hollywood ventures including  Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984, they had opened in 1,100 and 1,500 screens respectively.

"In terms of number of screens this has reached beyond normalcy. In fact, all 1,100 screens in Tamil Nadu have released Master," said Taurani.

BookMyShow so far has been able to sell over one million tickets for Master.

“The advance ticket sales for Master was 80 percent of the advance sales trends for Vijay’s last release Bigil on BookMyShow," said Ashish Saksena, COO – Cinemas, BookMyShow."

In terms of markets where Master is performing well, Saksena said that Chennai is leading the way.

Hindi version not contributing much

While the Tamil and Telugu version are contributing significantly towards Master's box office revenue, not much is coming from the the film's Hindi version.

The film has collected around Rs 2 crore so far from the Hindi version. The Hindi version Vijay The Master which released on January 14 has not seen much traction.

Chauhan blames lack of publicity for the Hindi version's dismal performance.

"Vijay is unknown in a market like Bihar. Yet, people who have gone to theatres to watch a new film have been entertained. People are telling me that they were just sitting at home and came for the movie and now are liking it. So, it is only word of mouth through which people are getting to know about the Hindi version of Master. The Hindi version of Master also has good songs which have not been promoted on social media," said Chauhan.

For Master, the footfalls in places like Samastipur has been around 300 which Chauhan thinks would have been better if the Hindi version was marketed well.

"The Tamil version has done better in the Hindi markets than the dubbed Hindi version, having collected 10-15 percent higher than the Hindi version," said Shailesh Kapoor, CEO, Ormax Media, a media-consulting firm.

But Chauhan expects the Hindi version to pick up pace considering the only new Hindi release will be on January 22.

"First day collections of Master in my cinema was better than Wonder Woman 1984. Even single screens with no 2k projectors have performed well," said Chauhan.

Not so blockbuster

Also, it is not just the Hindi version that is seeing weak traction. Taurani said that Master is not a blockbuster as it was expected and this is why the film saw sharp drop in collections on the second day of its release.

On day two, the film collected Rs 28 crore, taking the total box office tally to Rs 68 crore.

Taurani has revised box office collection estimates for Master from Rs  270 crore to Rs 200-220 crore.

While there are ifs and buts when it comes to Master's box office business, the film has definitely brought cheer to the overall film industry.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Jan 15, 2021 08:18 pm

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