A perfect Eidi for Salman - 'Bodyguard' to break all records

Trade experts say that Salman Khan's Bodyguard will surpass his last Eid release, Dabangg

Salman Khan is away in the US undergoing surgery for his nerve problem, but he's got his Eidi from his audiences. The actor's Bodyguard opened to such full houses across the country on Wednesday that tradesmiths peg the initial numbers at 20 per cent more than his biggest blockbuster, Dabangg.

Before the day ended, talk was that the film would net at least Rs 18 crore on the first day. And that's R 3.5 crore more than Dabangg's first day figures.

Deadly combination

Terming this "mind-boggling and earth-shattering, " trade analyst Komal Nahta attributes it to a heady combination of Salman and Eid.

Not to forget, a dearth of releases during Ramzaan. "Only Aakarshan released, but that didn't do well. So audience is hungry for a Bodyguard kind of entertainer. The five-day weekend will generate at least R 60 crore net, and that is a record, " he enthuses.

Indore-based distributor Aditya Choksey is optimistic that the film will break all possible records in most of India. "It's a remake of a proven south Indian film, so the subject has worked in regional cinema. But for the Hindi version, 90 per cent of the audiences will go for Salman, " he says.

"Salman is larger than life, people want entertainment and he delivers. Reports might be mixed, but even Amitabh Bachchan's films got mixed reports. Nonetheless, they went on to become big hits. And that's happening with Salman's films, too, " he further adds.

However, Mumbai distributor Ramesh Sippy of Raksha Entertainment doesn't seem to be in a hurry to dub the film a bigger hit than Dabangg yet. "Since last year, the numbers of theaters have gone up. So Bodyguard has got more screenings. 

Add to that the increase in ticket prices and you'll obviously have higher volume. I'd rather wait for the final collections of the first five days to come in to figure out how big a hit it is compared to Dabangg, " he reasons.

Choksey disagrees saying, "As for an increase in number of theaters and shows, and hike in ticket prices, it won't make much of a difference. Opening to about R 18 crore on first day, I won't be surprised if the movie nets about R 85-90 crore till Sunday."

Bodyguard v/s the rest

In the same vein, Nahta too maintains that the mixed reports affect the movie's sustenance after the weekend.

"If Bodyguard manages to achieve in five days what other films can't in 15, then why be bothered about sustenance?" he counters, quickly adding that if it does sustain, it will be an additional bonus. "Even if it doesn't, the producers and distributors are making profits."

Trade experts are unanimous that the opening projection is pretty good for the producers, Reliance Entertainment, which is said to have spent about R 75 crore (including prints and advertising) on the movie.

Bodyguard released with 2000 prints in 2799 screens worldwide.