S Rajamouli's magnum opus, Bahulbali - The Beginning, got off to an explosive start on the box office, garnering the highest opening in the history of Indian cinema. At Rs 50 crore (net), the film is not only the highest South Indian opener ever but it has also surpassed Bollywood films such as Happy New Year (Rs 44.9 crore) and Dhoom 3 (Rs 36-37 crore).
This is one of the rare occasions where, a non-Bollywood film has claimed the fancy of cinema goers in a way that Bollywood releases have failed to do so far this year. While the chunk of the film's earnings (almost Rs 44 crore) came from the southern states, it made a sizeable amount - Rs 6 crore (net) from the rest of the country as well.
Suniel Wadhwa independent distributor and box office analyst says, "Bahubali has made an astounding opening at the box office, breaking opening day record with a huge margin in the Andhra Pradesh/Nizam and Karnataka territories. The film, according to early estimates, may end up making a box office collection of Rs 40-42 crore in India on its opening day across the original and dubbed versions in Tamil and Hindi."
Bahubali is the first installment of a two-part mega venture, with the second part expected to release next year. It was released worldwide in close to 4,200 screens and opened in India with 100 per cent occupancy in Andhra Pradesh and close to 70 per cent occupancy in the rest of the southern states. In the four southern states, the film's primetime shows at most multiplexes are sold out until Sunday night, and single screens are also expecting more than 90 per cent occupancy for the remaining weekend.
The movie is showing in cinema halls in four languages - Telugu (original), Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi. Bahubali has been praised by audiences and critics, with special mention to the film's visual special effects.
Bahubali's international run has also begun on a good note with Rs 20 crore collected on the first day. According to sources, the film made $1 million in the US, making it one of the most successful theatrical exports from India.
Analysts expect the film to continue doing well down south. While it is too early to put a number on the lifetime collection of the movie, it seems that the movie is well on its way to making Rs 100 crore in the first weekend itself.