New Delhi: There seems to be no stopping Akshay Kumar’s consistency at the box office. The actor is on his way to recording his ninth hit in a row, with his latest release, Kesari clocking in 78 crore over its opening weekend.

“Kesari roars, sets the box office on fire and emerges the biggest opener of 2019 (so far)," tweeted trade analyst Taran Adarsh about the film that made 21.50 crore on Thursday, the highest first day figure for the year so far. “After limited shows in the morning/noon (due to Holi festivities), the business witnessed massive growth from 3 pm/4 pm onwards. Evening shows saw terrific occupancy."

Trade website Box Office India pointed out that the day of Holi in India is like half a national holiday with the first half of the day being pretty bad for the movie business as people are busy celebrating the festival of colours. Despite that, Kesari notched up big numbers in the north, especially Delhi, the National Capital Region and east Punjab, besides Mumbai, Gujarat and Saurashtra. Even a state like Uttar Pradesh looked at collections of 1.50 crore which is huge considering the region is practically shut all morning. However territories like central India, Rajasthan and Bihar were affected by Holi as single screens ran very few shows through the day.

The Anurag Singh directed film based on the Battle of Saragarhi could emerge as Kumar’s ninth hit in a row after sports biopic Gold ( 102.10 crore), social drama Pad Man ( 78.22 crore), Toilet Ek Prem Katha ( 132.07 crore), Subhash Kapoor’s courtroom drama Jolly LLB 2 ( 117 crore), crime thriller Rustom ( 127.49 crore) that also won him a National Award, multi-starrer comedy Housefull 3 ( 109.14 crore), historical drama Airlift ( 128.1 crore) and action comedy Singh Is Bliing ( 89.95 crore).

The film has also surpassed the opening weekend collections of the other big hits this year, including Gully Boy that released on Valentine’s Day and also enjoyed a four-day weekend ( 72.45 crore) and ensemble comedy Total Dhamaal that had a traditional three-day weekend with 62.40 crore.

Meanwhile, as the IPL (Indian Premier League) takes over, trade experts are expecting older films to gradually slow down while Kesari’s ultimate fate will also be known. Total Dhamaal is estimated to touch the Rs150 crore mark with earnings currently at 148.50 crore while romantic comedy Luka Chuppi should finish at 85 crore soon.

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