Butala rejects any comparisons to SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Conclusion, which set a new benchmark for Indian cinema in its home market and has amassed 1,708 crore ($256.7 million) globally.
“We never compare one film to another; it’s really unfair to the films and the makers,” he said. “Each film is made with a certain vision and has its own audience. It would be incorrect to start comparing every big film with Baahubali.
“Baahubali is a film we’re all proud of but we set out to make a very different film and we’re delighted that we managed that. Now it’s down to the audiences to show the love they have always shown SK and his films – ultimately, putting the money part aside, that’s who we make films for – the audience.”
The marketing campaigns will be tailored for each market. In smaller territories such as Northern Ireland and Holland the plan is to go to the grass roots, distribute leaflets and put up posters in shop windows, to supplement the radio, TV and outdoor advertising. In other markets the campaign will extend to initiatives such as ads on the backs of buses.
Khan’s drama follows Salman as Laxman, a man-child who sets out to find his brother Bharat (Sohail). The supporting cast includes Matin Rey Tangu, the late Om Puri and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. Shah Rukh Khan has a pivotal cameo.
Analyst Sumit Kadel expects a first week haul of up to 215 crore ($32.3 million) and a lifetime collection of 320 crore ($48.1 million). But he adds, “If the film turns out to be exceptional it will collect 350 crore in its lifetime. Eid is a big festival. After fasting for a month Salman’s devoted fans flood the theaters in Eid week. Even an average Salman movie attains blockbuster status if it’s released on Eid.”
Chennai-based analyst Ramesh Bala expects an ultimate total of at least 300 crore, observing, “The trailer looks good and Salman and Kabir Khan have delivered blockbusters in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Ek Tha Tiger.”
PVR Cinemas will screen the film on about 80% of its screens, or 579 screens, according to the CEO, Kamal Gianchandani.
India’s second largest circuit, INOX Leisure, will allocate more than 90% of its 468 screens to Khan’s film, a similar percentage to that for Baahubali 2.
Rajender Singh Jayala, the company’s VP of programming and distribution, expects an opening weekend of 100 crore, opining, “The lifetime business depends on reports of the film after it opens; however 300 crore should not be a problem.”
Analyst Aavishkar Gawande said, “Like every Salman Khan movie Tubelight has created huge buzz. It will, undoubtedly, take an earth shattering start at the box office. The surprising thing is even Shah Rukh Khan fans are dying to book first day tickets as he has a cameo appearance, especially after Kabir Khan promised fans they will blow whistles and clap when he enters.
“Whether it will cross 300 crore will depend on the content and word-of-mouth. If the movie is really good and has quality content like Salman’s last outing Bajrangi Bhaijaan, it may even do 350 crore as ticket prices will be high.”
Singapore-based analyst Ayyappa Kumar forecasts the film will soar past 100 crore on opening weekend and he thinks the eventual total could reach 600 crore.
Film industry executive Girish Johar predicts a 4-day collection of 100 crore and a huge lifetime total, reasoning, “The film caters to all target groups and has pan-India audiences going gaga over it. Like any Salman fan I will be watching the film in the theater on its release to cherish the experience.”
Director Arindam Sil said, “This is Kabir Khan’s third film with Salman and he ought to outperform himself. The storyline seems intriguing and suggests Salman’s leaning towards content-driven films. So 100 crore for the first week seems an easily achievable target.”
Asked what moviegoers can expect, Butala said, ” A complete family entertainer full of family emotions and humor and a film that you will take home with you once you have left the cinema.”
—The Article is originally published at Forbes