New Delhi: The unending controversy around its historical accuracy and limited showcasing thanks to threats of violence may have impacted its collections but Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat has still managed to power through. The film netted a total of Rs18 crore on its opening day (Thursday), excluding about Rs5 crore from paid previews the day before.

Movie website Box Office India estimated occupancy of 50-55% for day one and 60% for paid previews for the Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor-starrer.

“It’s a very good number given the situation. It clearly shows audiences have come out and supported the film despite all odds," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema.

Mohan said the film managed about 3,100 screens across India. States like Rajasthan, Gujarat and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Haryana refrained from screening the period saga. Protests by the Rajput Karni Sena and consequent violence in parts of the country led to several theatres refusing to showcase the movie, despite clearance from both the Supreme Court and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

Trouble didn’t end there. The film was also pirated and streamed online on a Facebook page called Jaaton Ka Adda. Besides, shutdown across Karnataka on Thursday disrupted a crucial market. Under normal circumstances, a big-ticket film like Padmaavat would have garnered more than 4,000 screens.

“It’s actually tough to estimate the film’s performance or future prospects because you never know what will happen," said film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar. “There are theatres that started screening the film early morning on Thursday but discontinued them after threats later in the day. Others began towards evening, so you don’t really know how many shows happened through the day even though there is a screen count."

Mohan agreed many theatres, particularly in small towns didn’t screen the film, in some cases, despite security measures. Trade experts estimate a loss of 35-40% because of limited showcasing.

“It had all the potential to emerge as one of the biggest blockbusters ever. Day one could have been anywhere between Rs25-30 crore for the film," Mohan said.

To be sure though, the locations that have opened the film have seen extraordinary response. Despite mixed reviews on length, music and treatment, the general feedback is positive. The film has been dubbed in Tamil and Telugu and is also available in 3D and IMAX 3D. Metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai registered 4,856 and 9,175 admits according to Box Office India. Mohan also expects Bhansali’s film to grow Friday onwards and over the weekend as things settle down.

“Even in the worst possible scenario, the film should make about Rs24-25 crore each of these three days and reach Rs75-80 crore by Sunday," he said. “If people gain more confidence to venture out, the figures might even jump to Rs30 crore each day."

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