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Pongal weekend brings cheer for the movie box office

Master is expected to play a critical role in demonstrating to Hindi filmmakers that people are ready to come to theatres if there is content that appeals to them and help in locking release dates.
Master is expected to play a critical role in demonstrating to Hindi filmmakers that people are ready to come to theatres if there is content that appeals to them and help in locking release dates.

  • Tamil superstar Vijay’s film Master is possibly looking at 100 crore in collections for the extended weekend with current figure standing at 68.50 crore across the country
  • Ravi Teja’s Telugu language film 'Krack' has also opened well, earning around 12.5 crore worldwide on its first day

There is finally some good news for India’s ailing film exhibition sector. The Pongal weekend has brought cheer for the movie box office with Tamil superstar Vijay’s film 'Master' possibly looking at a 100 crore collections for extended weekend with current figure standing at 68.50 crore across the country, according to trade website Box Office India.

The actor’s home territory, Tamil Nadu is leading the way with opening day earnings of 20.50 crore alone. In fact, the film's total 35 crore first day collections are the seventh highest ever for a film made in the south Indian language after 'Baahubali: The Conclusion', 'Saaho, 2.0', 'Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy', 'Kabali' and 'Baahubali: The Beginning'.

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“The results are extraordinary considering the pandemic and it shows that mass crowds are ready to come to theatres when there is something that appeals to them. The Tamil and Telugu markets are leading the way, they may not be performing to their optimum but films can be released (there) without the fear of not getting an audience," Box Office India said in a blog on the opening of the film.

'Master' is the first big-ticket local film in Indian theatres since the covid-19 lockdown and was being seen as a boon to the film business devastated by the pandemic and expected to contract by 67% in FY21.

More than a thousand single screens shut across the country last year, unable to sustain the losses along with uncertainty about whether, and when, people would return to cinemas. Trade experts say the pent-up demand among audiences in south India, a region known for its strong movie-viewing and star worship culture, coupled with Vijay’s massive popularity, makes Master an apt beginning for film business recovery. The film also stars Vijay Sethupathi as the antagonist, with the collaboration of the two superstars being seen as a big draw. Sethupathi, a major lead star himself, is often seeing playing characters with grey shades, including alongside Rajinikanth in 'Darbar'.

Master is expected to play a critical role in demonstrating to Hindi filmmakers that people are ready to come to theatres if there is content that appeals to them and help in locking release dates. Buoyed by its success, trade experts say starting with Akshay Kumar’s 'Sooryavanshi', sports drama ’83, Salman Khan’s 'Radhe' and Yash Raj Films’ 'Bunty Aur Babli 2', Bollywood studios and stars will soon announce a schedule for March, April and May.

To be sure, north India is still far from venturing out into cinemas. The dubbed Hindi version of the film, titled 'Vijay The Master', had only collected around 1.2 crore at last count.

“Dubbed south Indian films do not get that kind of traction in north Indian cinemas. They need a true-blue Bollywood blockbuster to return," independent trade expert Sreedhar Pillai pointed out.

The other big release of the week, Ravi Teja’s Telugu language film 'Krack' has also opened well, earning around 12.5 crore worldwide on its first day, making it the actor’s biggest opener so far. Several theatre owners in north India demand that the film also be dubbed in Hindi, to have some additional content available for showcasing.

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