Raksha Bandhan, Laal Singh Chaddha see extremely low opening with 15% occupancy; insiders predict tough times ahead

Aug 11, 2022 02:08 PM IST

The opening day occupancy of both Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan have been way below expectations, ringing alarm bells across Bollywood.

This release day (August 11) was thought by many to help revive the Hindi film industry with two big releases in Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan. With Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar headlining the two films, many expected the films would break the rut – of Bollywood non-performers. However, the first signs do not appear to be promising. The advance bookings for both films stayed quite low and the opening day occupancy is lagging at 12-20 percent, depending on the location. This has led many industry insiders to predict gloomy times ahead for the two mega films. Also read: RakshaBandhan review: Akshay Kumar film moves you to tears with strong message on dowry

Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan, starring Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar respectively., have opened quite low on release day.
Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan, starring Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar respectively., have opened quite low on release day.

Reports of low advance bookings had been doing rounds since Tuesday itself. On Wednesday, film trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted, “Stop painting a rosy picture... Let's get the facts right... The advance bookings of Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan are way below expectations... Both dependent on [i] spot bookings/ walk-in audience and [ii] word of mouth to put up strong totals on Day 1.”

Taran Adarsh's tweet about the advance booking of Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan.
Taran Adarsh's tweet about the advance booking of Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan.

This was backed up by multiple reports in BoxOfficeeIndia.com, which claimed the advance bookings for both were low. Now, sources say that the opening day first shows have seen remarkably low attendance for both films. An exhibitor from Delhi tells us, “The occupancy for Laal Singh Chaddha is around 15-20 percent in multiplexes and for Raksha Bandhan it is even lower, as low as 12 percent in some halls for the first shows. This is very disappointing.” BoxOfficeIndia.com has also reported the same figures.

Given that the films released on the festival of Raksha Bandhan, they were expected to do much better, and the initial numbers have sent alarm bells ringing in the industry. Trade analysts say the figures should improve over the weekend but 60-70 percent occupancy looks unlikely, which means the films will struggle to post huge opening weekend numbers. Some predict Raksha Bandhan’s numbers will be lower than Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, while Laal Singh Chaddha may just pip it.

Film trade analyst Atul Mohan says that such numbers were expected since Raksha Bandhan is a festival, where people do not go out much. “This is a festival where people stay with family and not go out for movies. The numbers are likely to stay low till evening. My concern is that given it’s a long weekend, people tend to travel, which may further hurt the business. The films won’t have big opening days but how they perform depend on how they improve over the next 2-3 days.”

The one thing working for the two films is positive critical reception, which both have received. This can lead to good word-of-mouth. Films have seen growth through word-of-mouth, most notably The Kashmir Files, but bigger tentpole films like Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan work on strong opening days, which looks like a stretch here.

Laal Singh Chaddha is the official Hindi remake of Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump, and stars Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Naga Chaitanya, and Mona Singh. Mounted on a 180-crore budget, the film has been directed by Advait Chandan. Raksha Bandhan, on the other hand, has been directed by Aanand L Rai. The film, which has a budget of 70-90 crore as per sources, sees Akshay in the role of a brother trying to get his four sisters married.

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    Abhimanyu Mathur is an entertainment journalist with Hindustan Times. He writes about cinema, TV, and OTT, churning out interviews, reviews, and good old news stories.

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