The strategy of releasing the film on a Thursday--January 26--to cash in on a public holiday, and the buzz surrounding the promos, appears to have worked for the makers of the Hrithik Roshan-starrer Agneepath.
Distributors, theatre owners and tradesmiths are unanimous in their opinion that the remake of Dharma Productions' 1990 Amitabh Bachchan starrer is Bollywood's biggest opener till date. It has broken the first-day record of Salman Khan's Bodyguard (2011), registering estimated figures that range between Rs. 25 and Rs. 26 crore. Bodyguard is estimated to have collected Rs. 21 crore on the day of its release.
Theatre occupancy on the day one of Agneepath was between 90 and 95% in most cinemas across the country. Producer Karan Johar had apparently insisted that no exhibitor doubles the ticket rates, which is often the practice with event pictures over the first weekend. Says Sunil Punjabi of the Cinemax chain of multiplexes, "In recent times, most films haven't had the kind of advance bookings that Agneepath had, despite it being promoted on an average budget. By Thursday evening, we had sold almost 50% of the tickets, and this was not just for Friday, but Saturday as well. We have also got bulk bookings for the coming week."
That there were no films competing at the box-office, and no new film had released in the previous weekend either seems to have helped Agneepath's showing as well. Trade pundit Amod Mehra says, "Several multiplexes ran multiple screenings on Thursday, owing to high demand. The movie is two hours and 45 minutes long but since there is nothing else playing, most exhibitors were happy to give the film more than two screens."
"We're ecstatic!" exults producer Karan Johar. "Revisiting a cult classic is a daunting task but the director (Karan Malhotra) with his brilliant cast and crew have created magic."