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Baahubali 2 advance booking: The biggest movie spectacle

With 6,500 screens in India and nearly 9,000 worldwide, the SS Rajamouli magnum opus has a wider release than for a film starring any of the three Khans.

Keyur Seta

Tomorrow, 28 April 2017, will be a historic day if it isn't one already. The release of SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Conclusion, the second part of the saga of Baahubali, is nothing short of a national festival. There has been great anticipation for the film ever since Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) was released.

As expected, the excitement for the concluding part has been growing over the months and has finally erupted through the booking window, which is witnessing unprecedented rush all over India.

Trade analyst Atul Mohan has no doubt about the film’s massive opening. “The opening will be phenomenal. No other film is scheduled for release this week in the entire country, including regional and indie,” he told Cinestaan.com.

Mohan said such a wide release for a South Indian film — with 6,500 screens all over India and nearly 9,000 worldwide — was hitherto unthinkable. “In Hindi, such a wide release is not seen even for a film starring Aamir Khan, Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan. Even for them, 4,000-4,500 screens is the maximum,” he said.

Even lower ticket prices in the South are not expected to affect the film's collections. “They don’t have heavy ticket prices. But the shows are already full for Friday. There are also corporate demands from companies. People are sending letters to theatres requesting tickets for their staff. Sifarish [recommendation] is also being used to get tickets. Some are disappointed, others are happy. There is so much craze. Everybody wants to watch the film,” he said.

What is surprising is the level of excitement even in areas outside the metros. “Even in cities like Ahemdabad, Indore and Nagpur, there have been block bookings of 150-200 tickets each," Mohan said.

A point to be noted is that ticket prices are abnormally high for what is actually a dubbed South Indian film. “The ticket price is as high as for a Hindi A-list actor," Mohan said. "Generally, the highest price is Rs1,200-1,400. For a film starring the Khans, it can go up to Rs1,800. But for Baahubali, it is as high as Rs2,400 at a theatre in Delhi. The gold class in PVR Icon [in Mumbai] is priced at Rs1,500 and even that is full."

Atul Mohan had predicted that Baahubali: The Conclusion would make Rs100 crore a day on the opening weekend and he sees no reason to scale down his prediction. "Considering the business of all languages, the daily collection will be anywhere between Rs100 crore and Rs125 crore," he said. The weekend business would be around Rs350 crore. In Hindi alone shows are already 50-60% full."

The only film that may come close to Baahubali is Shankar’s 2.0, the sequel to Robot (2010), which is scheduled for release on the Republic Day weekend next year. “There is Shankar, Rajinikanth, AR Rahman and Akshay Kumar. All geniuses have assembled together," he remarked.

While Baahubali has set a benchmark as the widest Hindi release, 2.0 has Akshay Kumar and so even that film will have a very wide release in the North and West. "There is curiosity related to Akshay Kumar's character," Mohan said. "And nobody will dare compete with 2.0 in the South. With the first film, Rajamouli proved he is one of the best. And Shankar has already proved it. So, we will see the same phenomenon in January.” 

Baahubali: The Conclusion stars Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Sathyaraj, Tamannaah and Ramya Krishnan.