Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (PRDP) has made a record-breaking opening day collection of Rs 42 crore. Released in 4,500 screens in India (including Tamil and Telugu dubs), the film also marks the return of Khan to Rajshri Productions, the studio that gave the actor his first solo hit (Maine Pyar Kiya, 1989). PRDP has collected Rs 40.3 crore from the Hindi version and Rs 1.7 crore from Tamil and Telugu versions.
It has, thus, beaten Aamir Khan’s Dhoom 3 (2013) and Shah Rukh Khan’s Happy New Year (2014) as the biggest Bollywood opener. With this, the Khans also further strengthen their stronghold on the box office, as all five top openers belong to the three Khans. While Aamir has one, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman have two each.
The film’s bumper opening has surpassed the estimates of trade pundits. Box office analysts had pegged the opening at Rs 35-38 crore considering the film has the hit Sooraj Barjatya-Salman Khan duo and it is a four-day festive weekend.
Suniel Wadhwa, an independent distributor and a box office analyst, says: “I have said it earlier and would like to say it again - if certain films lived up to the promise of their marketing or pedigrees, we could be looking at record opening day numbers. That's what's PRDP has done this Diwali festive season grossing Rs 42 crore at domestic box office, beating the earlier opening day record held by Happy New Year, which grossed Rs 36 crore last Diwali.”
According to Wadhwa, the film has attracted movie goers across the demographics including family audience, youngsters within the 18-24 age group, and ardent Salman Khan fans. The youth audience is a cohesive unit with significant impact at box office window and are a core target group for big tent pole movies, he adds. “If you build the right movie, it will not only retain the same family-friendly appeal but also reach out to new viewers, which is the key to expanding the scope of collections...”
Vijay Singh, CEO of Fox Star Studios, says, “It has been a truly outstanding start for PRDP. The combination of Salman Khan and Sooraj Barjatya has delivered for the fourth time and this time again they have created box office history. Audiences are loving this family blockbuster. We at Fox Star are extremely delighted with the response Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has been getting.”
Mounted at Rs 120 crore (production, distribution and marketing included), the film has a long way to break even at the box office. Analysts believe a strong opening means the film will cross the Rs 120-crore mark in the first four days.
International markets are yet to be reported, but with 1,100 screens, experts are optimistic about a record haul. How the film holds on to audiences after the opening weekend will decide the lifetime collection of the movie.