I've realized one thing over the years. There's nothing bigger than a successful franchise. Let's go back to BHEJA FRY 2. Post BHEJA FRY, Vinay Pathak starrers have had a rough ride at the box-office. The sole exception being CHALO DILLI, which fared better thanks to the presence of an A-list co-star [Lara Dutta], besides the fact that its makers promoted the film to the optimum. BHEJA FRY was fresh on the minds of viewers, hence its sequel attracted maximum footfalls amongst new releases in that particular week. Had it not been a sequel, it wouldn't have garnered such figures in its opening weekend.
Now DOUBLE DHAMAAL. Though DHAMAAL released a few years ago and fared well at the box-office, its sequel generated a lot of curiosity when the first look and theatrical trailer were launched. I genuinely feel that you either connect with a film or you don't, when the first look is unveiled. In this case, the viewers knew that DOUBLE DHAMAAL would be a madcap entertainer. It's a new genre [leave-your-brain-at-home comedies] that Bollywood moghuls have taken a fancy for and it seems to be working right now.
People in the industry were of the opinion that DOUBLE DHAMAAL would embark on a fairly decent note. According to expert distributors/exhibitors I spoke to, prior to its release, they predicted the opening Friday numbers to be in Rs 4.5 to Rs 5 cr range. Not beyond that, they echoed. The weekend, they envisioned, would be maximum Rs 16 cr to Rs 17 cr nett. But box-office is most unpredictable and that's the beauty of this business.
The Friday numbers [Rs 7.62 cr] caught the industry by complete surprise. In fact, the topic of discussion over breakfast during the just concluded IIFA in Toronto was the flying start that DOUBLE DHAMAAL had embarked upon, since it doesn't star a crowd-puller actor to lure the audiences in hordes. The opening day figures of DOUBLE DHAMAAL proved all calculations wrong.
The skeptics were of the opinion that DOUBLE DHAMAAL would crash on Saturday. Saturday, I must make you aware, is the litmus test for most films. Either the business heads Northwards or Southwards, depending on how strong the word of mouth is. DOUBLE DHAMAAL showed an escalation on Saturday [Rs 8.01 cr], while the Sunday numbers were super-strong [Rs 9.87 cr]. DOUBLE DHAMAAL had fetched a truly flying start, garnering a fat amount in its opening weekend [Rs 25.5 cr nett].
Like READY, DOUBLE DHAMAAL also attracted vicious criticism from certain quarters. But what's more important for a film-maker? The praise by a handful of critics or the handsome returns at the box-office? The glowing ratings in reviews pamper a film-maker no end, but what eventually matters is how successful your film is at the box-office. A success encourages you to make more films, else the industry would continue to languish in ICU.
READY and DOUBLE DHAMAAL have brought the joy back. The mood in the industry is, all of a sudden, upbeat. The producers are having the last laugh. As for the distributors, they are laughing all the way to the bank. Aur kya chahiye?