With two major Bollywood films and one heavyweight Hollywood production releasing on August 15, cinegoers are spoilt for choice this Independence Day. Hindi audience can choose between Mission Mangal and Batla House, both based on significant incidents in modern India’s history. Hollywood buffs will be glad that Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is finally releasing in India.
While Mission Mangal has a stellar star-cast, led by Akshay Kumar, Batla House is an important release for John Abraham. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, besides carrying Tarantino’s name as the director, also boasts of two of the biggest Hollywood stars – Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
It is evident that each of these three releases have an appeal of their own, which, coupled with the benefit of an extended weekend, are expected to generate good revenue at the box office. But the release of multiple films on the same day always comes with the risk of eating into each other’s business, a scenario most producers tend to avoid.
Earlier, Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor’s big budget film Saaho was also supposed to release on August 15. The makers decided to push it the end of the month, so Mission Mangal and Batla House have one less rival to worry about.
On the other hand, Sacred Games, currently the biggest Indian web series, has stuck to the August 15 airing date for its second season. It is safe to assume that fans of the show will probably choose to stay in and binge watch the episodes to find out what happens next in this gripping thriller. With OTT platforms like Netflix having a considerable viewer base in India, the impact of an extremely popular show on the holiday box office cannot be ruled out.
August 15 has been a popular choice of release day in the past as well. Last year, Akshay and John came face to face with Gold and Satyameva Jayate releasing on the same day. Gold had emerged the clear winner, earning Rs 23 crore on its opening day.
John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate did well too – Rs 19.65 crore on Day 1, according to Box Office India. The holiday released proved quite lucrative for both the films, which could be one of the reasons why they weren’t worried about going head-to-head this year as well.
Hrithik Roshan starrer Mohenjo Daro, Ashutosh Gowariker’s big budget film, had earned Rs 8.8 crore when it released on August 12, 2016. On the same day, Akshay Kumar’s Rustom, based on the KM Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra case, fared better by collecting Rs 13.92 crore.
Movie trade analyst Atul Mohan says that Independence Day being a national holiday is always a lucrative date for movie releases. “Collections are usually good on national holidays which are also dry days. This year, Mission Mangal definitely has an edge over Batla House. I am looking at a combined box office in the range of 40-45 crore, in which the major share will go to Mission Mangal. How the shows pick up in the evening after the reviews are out, that could be the deciding factor, but as of now, I think Mission Mangal will earn Rs 25-28 crore, while Batla House can be expected to collect Rs 12-15 crore.”
Mohan is also of the opinion that the combined force of two patriotic films on a national holiday will probably leave very little room for a Hollywood film like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. “Amid the craze of two big Bollywood films, it might receive a lukewarm response,” he added.
Akshay has been rather consistent with his Independence Day releases in the past four years. Brothers released in 2015, followed by Rustom in 2016, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha in 2017 and Gold in 2018. It remains to be seen if this I-Day too will prove to be lucky for him and Mission Mangal.
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