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Ek Tha Tiger set for a roaring opening

August 14, 2012 12:04 IST
Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in Ek Tha TigerSalman Khan's current reign as a 'Rs 100-crore' superstar is set to continue even before the release of his new film Ek Tha Tiger, it seems.

Given his popularity with the masses, Ek Tha Tiger, which releases on August 15, has received an advance booking of almost 60 per cent for the first weekend, say trade analysts.

"This beats all the previous records of advance bookings at the Indian box office, be it Shah Rukh Khan's Om Shanti Om or Salman Khan's Bodyguard. The challenge would be how soon it will cross the Rs 100-crore mark and whether it will cross the Rs 200-crore barrier or not," said Komal Nahata, film trade analyst.

Typically, due to an increase in the number of screens, a star-studded movie has around 20-25 per cent of advance bookings. 

Featuring Salman Khan as an Indian spy alongside Katrina Kaif in the movie, it is expected to be the widest release of 2012 across 3,000 screens worldwide.
 
"We are still adding theatres due to the phenomenal response to the advance booking," said a Yash Raj Films spokesperson.

In addition, the movie has an advantage of a long weekend. Instead of a traditional Friday, the movie releases on Wednesday and has the benefit of an Eid holiday, which falls on Monday. Previous blockbusters of Salman like Wanted (2009), Dabangg (2010) and Bodyguard (2011) have all been Eid releases. Produced by BSK Network and Entertainment Pvt, Wanted collected Rs 61 crore, Dabangg made Rs 140 crore, while Reliance Big Pictures netted Rs 142 crore for Bodyguard. Ready, which was released last year garnered Rs 120 crore.

"In the last three years, Salman has given four hits, with three of them making over Rs 100 crores," said Suniel Wadhwa, an independent film distributor.

Even the multiplexes are trying to cash on the hype, with most having increased ticket prices by 20-25 per cent and allotting 80 per cent of the shows to Tiger. "With the advantage of an extended weekend and higher demand, this will also be a box-office record setter. We are trying to squeeze in over 18-20 shows per day," said Ashish Saksena, COO, Big Cinemas, West and South.

For the producers Yash Raj Films, Ek Tha Tiger marks the beginning of the crucial period during 2012-2013 which will have all the three Khans working with them -- Salman, Shah Rukh (untitled Diwali release with Katrina directed by Yash Chopra) and Aamir in Dhoom 3 (December 2013).
 
"These three films will have heavy investments made by the banner. So far, Ek Tha Tiger is the most expensive film ever made by them with a budget estimated by film trade analysts at Rs 75-80 crore," said a film trade analyst.
Varada Bhat in Mumbai
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