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Bollywood Talk – Will the Hollywood release and the 2 big Bollywood releases manage to lighten up the box office this Diwali?

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This year, the Diwali period will be unusual, from the box office point of view. The festival falls on Monday, October 24. And as per the trend noticed for nine years, directors shy away from releasing their films on the day of Diwali since people are busy with the Pooja and don’t venture to cinemas. The post-Diwali day usually is when a section of people celebrate the New Year followed by Bhaidooj day. However, this year, the New Year falls on Wednesday, October 26 and Bhaidooj on Thursday, October 27. There’s no holiday on Tuesday, October 25 but many will be taking offs. And this is the day when the Bollywood Diwali releases, ‘Ram Setu’ and ‘Thank God’ will release on the big screen. The timing is right since October 25, October 26 and October 27 can be counted as holidays. October 28 is a Friday which is a weekend. Hence, from Tuesday, October 25 to Sunday, October 30, it’s like a six-day weekend and possibly the best period for a Hindi film this year.

‘Ram Setu’ is the biggest film this week and it stars Akshay Kumar, Nushrratt Bharuccha and Jacqueline Fernandez. It is directed by Abhishek Sharma of ‘Tere Bin Laden’ (2010) and ‘Parmanu’ (2018) fame and as the name suggests, it deals with the iconic bridge that was built by Lord Ram to cross into Lanka. ‘Ram Setu’ is an action thriller. The genre coupled with the mythology angle can make for a fine watch. Also, it has been mounted on a huge scale and we haven’t had a film of this sort in a long time.

However, the hype is limited. The makers have also not gone all-out. The trailer was released just two weeks before the release. The first day collections might be in the range of Rs. 15 Crore. But knowing how the box office is nowadays and how Akshay’s recent films opened, an opening of Rs. 10 Crore should be expected. If the word of mouth is positive, it can jump big time on Wednesday, after which, the sky is the limit for the film.

‘Thank God’ stars Sidharth Malhotra and Rakul Preet Singh, with Ajay Devgn in a supporting role. Directed by Indra Kumar, it is about a man struggling between life and death and how he gets some invaluable lessons. The film promises to impart important teachings in life but at the same time, it promises to be a complete family entertainer. Unlike ‘Ram Setu’, the promotions started very early, in the first week of September. The Hindi version of the song “Manike Mage Hithe” features in the film and like the original, it is sung by Yohani. Sidharth Malhotra appears in the track along with Nora Fatehi, and it has grabbed eyeballs.

However, the trailer and concept of the film have received a mixed response. Some found the jokes and VFX tacky. It is believed that the elite, urban crowd have not taken too well to what the film has to offer. As a result, it will have to rely on the single-screens and B and C centres to score. What goes in favour of ‘Thank God’ is that it looks like a clean film and such movies work big time in Gujarat, especially during Diwali. It can take an opening between Rs. 7 to 10 Crore. Some industry insiders are predicting that it can even open better than Ram Setu. Although it looks like a long shot, it’s not impossible either.

Lastly, Warner Bros released its Hollywood Diwali dhamaka today, October 20. Titled ‘Black Adam’, it belongs to the DC Universe and stars Dwayne Johnson. The excitement was there for the film and as a result, it has taken a fine opening. Most shows in IMAX and 4DX versions have been sold out or are 60-80% full, which is a great result. The day one figure is expected to be in the range of Rs. 5 to 7 Crore. It’s a good first day number but from hereon, the film faces a struggle as, during the weekend, viewers will stay away due to Diwali preparations and also because there’s the India vs Pakistan match on Sunday, October 23. If the word of mouth was positive, it would have had a chance to excel from Tuesday onwards.

Unfortunately, the word of mouth is quite mixed. Nevertheless, the wide release, a good first day opening and zero competition till Tuesday will mean that the film will put up a respectable number and despite the release of ‘Thank God’ and ‘Ram Setu’, it’ll get shows in the multiplexes. A lifetime collection of Rs. 40 to 45 Crore will be apt, considering the reports.

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