The success of Akshay Kumar, in figures: Can BellBottom continue its momentum?
Akshay Kumar is the first Bollywood star to return to the 70mm screen as cinemas reopen across the country after the devastating second wave of Covid-19. The lower end of the bell Perhaps ticks all the boxes of an Akshay Kumar movie – a patriotic thriller, inspired by a real story and giving its hero another chance to show off his martial moves and stories.
However, this time it might not be enough to get the public to vote with their feet. Covid-19 remains an important factor – theaters are not open at full capacity in most states while in a few states, including the all-important Maharashtra which accounts for almost 30% of box office activity – they are still closed. The trade, after months of lethargy, put its might behind Akshay, calling BellBottom’s exit “brave.”
“As industry insiders, we don’t look at it from a box office numbers perspective, but it will help revive the industry. With the release of BellBottom, the wheels of the industry will start to move, ”film expert and producer Girish Johar told indianexpress.com.
He added, “Cinema is a state matter, and each state has its own protocols and SOPs. Some only allow 30% occupancy, in some states this is a weekend lockdown, some close malls at 5:00 p.m. and others at 8:00 p.m. so many variable factors are at stake. The priority is to give people the confidence to return to theaters. Still, we have clues from the South Indian box office and Punjabi movie box office that people are ready to come back to.
Johar believes that if this had been a normal scenario, BellBottom would have “easily” earned Rs 20 crore on the first day. But his colleague, Komal Nahta, suggests the thriller can collect around Rs 7 crore on opening day, despite being a non-holiday release.
He said: “The excitement for the film is immense. Unfortunately Maharashtra cinemas are not open but it will need a very good start as this is the first major release after 17 months. With cinemas open at 50% capacity, a figure of Rs 7 crore would be a phenomenal start, and if that happens everyone should applaud the courage of the whole team.
Maharashtra, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of Hindi film sales in India, has yet to open theaters. But it’s a risk Akshay and the team behind BellBottom are willing to take. Speaking of the movie theatrical release, the actor had said: “The pressure is there on everyone but I am very sure that things will work out. There is a challenge, a risk. But if you did not take a risk in the life, so what have you done? So we have done with it. “
Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh also believes it is a step in the right direction because “people will only go back to the cinema when big movies with big stars hit the screens.” According to him, “We can’t expect huge numbers like it was in the pre-Covid era, but I guess people will soon get used to watching movies in theaters again.”
And if you were to try your luck with a big name reaping the profits, Akshay Kumar is a smart choice to help revive the film industry. Since 2015, Khiladi Kumar has delivered 11 films with a collection of over Rs 100 crore each. His latest theatrical release, Good Newwz, made with a budget of Rs 117 crore, earned a whopping Rs 205.14 crore. Mission Mangal, which was also released in 2019, was carried out on a budget of Rs 95 crore and collected Rs 202.98 crore at the box office.
It was in 2015 that Kumar entered Forbes’ list of highest paid actors with estimated earnings of $ 33.5 million alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. In 2020, he was the only actor to make the annual roster, leaving behind trio Khan, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez and singer Rihanna with earnings of $ 48.5 million.
Explain what makes Akshay a bankable star, Girish Johar said, “The stories he’s trying to tell connect on a bigger level. He connects with families. He also tries to increase his base by trying different genres, we see him in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, we also see him in a Rustom and Gold. We see him in a comedy like Housefull, and now in BellBottom and Sooryavanshi. He performs in all ranges for all segments and strata, increasing his fan base with different stories. “
The 53-year-old actor has delivered hits across genres. After shooting mostly action movies in the 90s, he moved on to comedy, drama, sports movies, and thrillers. Even multi-star comedies like Housefull and Good Newwz bear his name. Over the past six years, of 16 outings, Kumar has delivered only one flop. His science fiction film with Rajinikanth, 2.0, made with a budget of Rs 575 crore, could only collect Rs 189.55 crore at the box office.
According to Johar, Akshay has captured the spirit of the times and is getting closer to number one every year. “Akshay kind of got the pulse of the box office paying audience, which is why he’s so successful. Although he makes 4 to 5 films a year, audiences never tire of him because of the variety of his work. People think it’s not repetitive, which is a very important factor, ”he said.
In a previous interview with Forbes, Kumar had explained how he changed the “zeros” in his checks as he entered the film industry to earn a lot of money. “You have to change over time. From storylines and scripts to the technology and how to shoot and to the audience. The zeros on my check have changed. Everything has changed, ”the actor said.
Now, having achieved the feat of being one of Bollywood’s most successful stars, it remains to be seen how Akshay Kumar fares on the digital platform with his first web series on Amazon Prime Video.
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