New Delhi: Multi-starrer comedy Housefull 3 may have opened to mostly harsh reviews last week for its low-brow humour but that hasn’t deterred its loyal audience base from has flocking to theatres.

Starting with an opening day collection of 15.21 crore , the film netted 74.88 crore by Wednesday and is looking at box office revenue of more than 80 crore in the first week, according to movie website Bollywood Hungama.

“The entertainment quotient was top priority for the film. Plus, the combination of the huge franchise and the perfect release timing has worked," said Nandu Ahuja, senior vice-president at Eros International, distributors of the movie starring Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan and Riteish Deshmukh that he said has held steady even after Ramzan began earlier this week.

To be sure, films like Housefull 3 that critics would ordinarily label as ‘mindless comedies’, have hardly ever failed to weave box office magic.

Last year, the Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar and John Abraham comedy Welcome Back made 96.99 crore. In 2013, Indra Kumar’s Grand Masti crossed the 100 crore mark. The previous installment of the Housefull franchise, Housefull 2, also earned 106 crore.

“I think at some level what works for films like Housefull 3 is that what you see is what you get," said film critic Raja Sen. “You go in expecting something mindless and stupid and you’re not likely to be surprised because you’re fully warned. Plus, the presence of A-list actors like Akshay Kumar kind of legitimizes things even though this is probably as sexist a film as Mastizaade."

He added that audiences haven’t really had luck with a big Bollywood release this year and have had to stay content with Hollywood fare like The Jungle Book or Captain America: Civil War.

“They’re waiting for that Salman Khan-shaped hit," he said.

The point that critics like Sen make has been underlined by the demographics of the audiences queuing up for Housefull 3. Trade analyst Komal Nahta says its includes a mix of family, youngsters and women.

“It’s the value-for-money vibe that has worked in favour of the film," he said. “Apart from Akshay Kumar’s overall performance, there are, what I would call, 3-4 ‘item sequences’ in the film that work fabulously well."

Nahta refers to a bunch of gags lasting 3-4 minutes each that according to him serve as the high-point of the comedy, and the climax that takes up another 15-20 minutes.

“You have some 30 minutes where you can laugh out loud. And that holds true for anybody who doesn’t consider it below their dignity. That critics would be harsh to a film like Housefull 3 doesn’t surprise me," Nahta said.

He also added that the opinion of critics in case of movies belonging to the Housefull genre tends to not matter and that even audiences are aware these are not “critics’ films."

While they always bring in good revenue from single screens, Ahuja of Eros added it’s important for people to flock to multiplexes for these mass entertainers. In the case of Housefull 3, with several multiplexes continuing to run the movie in the second week, there is enough promise for the noise to last until the Salman Khan-starrer Sultan releases on Eid.

“You could say films like Housefull 3 are critic-proof," Ahuja said. “People are just there to laugh and get entertained, it’s good comedy."

Sen however says the trend is more than just about guilty pleasure.

“I just wish these films didn’t make such huge numbers. That would discourage actors and directors from doing something different In a way, we’re just moving faster to the day when we shall get to a Housefull 22," he said.

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