Akshay Kumar returned to the big screen after an 18-month break with the action thriller, Bell Bottom. The film opened to a below-par response at the box office with an opening day figure of Rs. 2.75 crore. The film has recorded a 15% drop on the second day, as the early estimates suggest Friday collections in the range of Rs. 2.30 to 2.50 crore, taking the two day total to anywhere between Rs. 5.05 to 5.25 crore. The collections might be marginally higher depending on the figures at single screens, however, a figure higher than an opening day [Rs. 2.75 cr.] is unlikely.
Considering an odd day release, the trade and industry were expecting the biz to witness an upward trend on Friday, however, to everyone’s shock, the figures have witnessed a drop and this is not a healthy sign. The drop has come despite a relatively positive talk in the media and positive reviews. The Pooja Entertainment Production was released on 1,620 screens across India with nearly 6,481 shows.
It’s a fairly wide release [Daily shows – 6,481, Screens – 1,620, Locations – 1,035. Of the 1,035 locations, 383 are single screens and 652 are multiplexes] for a film that hasn’t opened in Maharashtra. The low collections are attributed to poor release buzz as the exhibitors insist on the audience being unaware of the arrival of Bell Bottom on the big screen. It’s a big miss as a film like Bell Bottom being the first to arrive after the second wave had the golden chance to restart the cycle of box-office, and it’s an opportunity lost. An indication of audiences being ready to venture out to experience a film on the big screen comes from the fact that a Punjabi film, Pauda, has recorded better collections in Punjab than Bell Bottom, despite being in the second week since release.
It isn’t only Covid that’s not bringing the audience to cinema halls, but the lack of visibility and awareness around the film has tampered the prospects to a great extent. These are still early days and with positive talk in the audience, there lies a chance for Bell Bottom to sustain steadily at lower levels and put up a healthy total in the longer run. A biz upside of 45 crores will result in a respectable number. The fate of the film now depends on the jump in collections on Saturday and Sunday, followed by a Monday equivalent to Thursday. The biggest plus for Bell Bottom lies in the fact that it’s a good film, and hopefully, the word of mouth should translate into footfalls in the longer run. Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has also lifted the lockdown restrictions for Sunday. Cinema halls will now be allowed to operate on Sundays with the last show to be over by 10 pm given the restriction of a night curfew. That should also add to the footfalls and collections on Day 4.
For now, the opening weekend for Bell Bottom seems to be somewhere in the range of Rs. 13 crores.
The Territorial break up of the shows at the domestic box office is as below
Gujarat – 1,570
Delhi – U.P – 1,154
East Punjab – 955
West Bengal – 586
C.I – 517
C.P – 379
Mysore – 357
Rajasthan – 340
Bihar & Jharkhand – 246
Odisha – 196
Nizam / Andhra Pradesh – 181