Salman Khan's Sultan tipped to touch Rs 35-40 crore on opening day: Trade buzz

With no competition and over 4,500 screens, the Salman Khan-starrer could turn out to be the year's biggest blockbuster.

Mayur Lookhar

A good beginning is half the battle won. Salman Khan's films usually get going before the first screening with fans scurrying to lock advance booking or queueing up outside theatres to get that elusive ticket. Moreover, Khan has seldom disappointed fans on Eid.

The star's next film, Sultan, is being unleashed tomorrow on Eid. And if trade pundits are to be believed, the early buzz suggests it is likely to set a few records.

According to these pundits, the advance booking for Sultan is impressive. Analyst Komal Nahata said, "So far, the advance booking for Sultan is extraordinary. I think it is as good or even better than Bajrangi Bhaijaan."

Amod Mehra, another analyst, said, "The advance booking for Sultan is better than for Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and probably on a par with Bajrangi Bhaijaan. With the earlier releases [these past two weeks] bombing, and Salman having no contest, it will be a one-sided story at the box office. The film will bag more than 4,500 screens across the country. I expect it to do first-day business in the region of Rs 35-40 crore."

An industry source added, "The first-day business could break Prem Ratan Dhan Payo's record of Rs 37 crore. There is likely to be traction on the day after Eid, and if the content and word of mouth are strong, it could touch Rs 40 crore on the next two days. Thus the film would be targeting Rs 100 crore in five days."

Ticket prices for the film across India range from Rs 50 to Rs 1800. PVR Ambience (Gold) in Gurgaon is charging a minimum of Rs 1400 and maximum of Rs 1800. PVR Select City Walk (Gold), a plush multiplex in Delhi, is charging a flat Rs 1400 for all shows. It must be mentioned here that services like refreshments tend to be included in the ticket price at such high-end theatres.

While the big bucks will undoubtedly come from the multiplexes, the buzz is expected from the small towns and cities of the Hindi/Urdu hinterland, which is where a large part of Khan's fan base resides. In these centres, too, like Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Alsisar in Rajasthan, there is a rush for Sultan, the trade pundits claimed.

An industry source claimed that Lucknow's famous single-screen cinema hall, Novelty, Aliganj, which has a capacity of 800, is sold out for the first two days. Same is the case with the two Delite theatres – Delite Cinema and Delite Diamond – located at Asaf Ali Road in Delhi.

It needs to be pointed out here that a quick check of movie theatres online at about 9 pm did not corroborate many of the claims made by the pundits about the state of advance booking for Sultan, but was not able to independently confirm or deny the claims.

Another source revealed that Sultan will open on more than 100 screens in Pakistan, a record for an Indian film in that country, and 97 screens in West Asia, beating the 55-60 screens that Dilwale (2015) got.

Interestingly, the recent rape analogy controversy appears to have had little effect on die-hard Salman Khan fans. After a dull first half of the year, the trade market is pinning huge hopes on Sultan. Produced by Yash Raj Films, Sultan also stars Anushka Sharma, Randeep Hooda and Amit Sadh.