Can Sultan outdo PK? Only one factor will decide

Sultan is certain to get off to a flying start because of the hype around it, but the big question is whether it can sustain the excitement at the box office.

Keyur Seta

To say that there is a lot of excitement about Salman Khan’s Sultan would be an understatement. The film is being looked forward to as one grand on-screen affair. Needless to say, it’s set to earn a bomb at the box office and might well break a few records. 

The record for highest opening-day collection belongs to Shah Rukh Khan’s Happy New Year (2014), which amassed a mammoth Rs44 crore on the day of its release. Going by the hype around Sultan and the fact that it will be released on more than 3,500 screens (probably the highest number for a Hindi film), it stands a good chance of beating HNY on this front.

When it comes to top opening weekend collections, the current record holder is Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015), which starred Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor, with Rs129 crore. Sultan, which stars Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma, will probably surpass this record too. Apart from the excitement, the main reason is that PRDP was released on a Friday while Sultan will see the light of day on Wednesday. Hence, its first weekend will be five days long.

But the bigger question is whether Sultan will overtake Aamir Khan's pk (2014) and Salman Khan’s own Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), which earned Rs 338 crore and Rs 319 crore, respectively. Will its force at the box office be strong enough to become the highest grossing Indian film?

This will be determined by only one factor – content. The initial excitement definitely results in a great opening. But whether a film continues to perform well after the first weekend depends solely on whether the word-of-mouth is strong. It was in the case of pk and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which ensured good collections well after the first week. In the case of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, the film managed to strike a chord even among non-Salman Khan fans.

There have been quite a few examples of films that didn’t enjoy huge lifetime collections despite opening well. The biggest was Salman Khan's Jai Ho (2014). As is the case with the star's films, there was a lot of pre-release excitement around Jai Ho, but the word-of-mouth wasn’t good and the film crawled to the Rs100 crore mark. Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan (2016) is another example. 

So, all said and done, we need to wait at least till Sunday 10 July 2016 to know whether Salman Khan can beat Aamir Khan.