After 12 years, two major films -- Yash Raj Films' Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Ajay Devgn Films' Son of Sardaar -- released on the same day and saw a very good response from moviegoers.
In 2000, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha and Lagaan were released on the same day and both turned out to be blockbusters.
The tussle between Yash Raj Films and Devgn over screening of the films notwithstanding, it is learnt both the films opened well. JTHJ saw 70 per cent occupancy at multiplexes, while occupancy for Son of Sardaar stood at 60-65 per cent. However, Son of Sardaar is ruling at mass centres.
"Both JTHJ and Son of Sardaar are running neck and neck. At some places, JTHJ is ahead. At others, it is Son of Sardaar. It's a joyous Diwali," said film trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
Many trade pundits believe the November 13 shows of both the films would be hit because of Laxmi puja. As all films fare well on the day after Diwali, the actual test for the films would be on November 15.
Saxena, chief operating officer of multiplex major Big Cinemas, said, "The advance bookings for both the films were good, and so were the openings. We are in for a big week ahead. Lately, only one film picked up during the Diwali week. This is one of the rare cases when both the films took off well."
Devang Sampat, head of strategy at Cinepolis India, said the average occupancy rate of the two movies was 80 per cent till 6 pm across 44 Cinepolis India screens. "Word of mouth is good for both the films. We are seeing good response. Shows after 6 pm are bound to see lower occupancies," Sampat said.
However, Ghaziabad-based veteran film distributor Shaaminder Malik, who focuses on the National Capital Region and western Uttar Pradesh, said the response for JTHJ wasn't good. "Advance bookings are for November 14. But the true potential of the movie would be seen on November 15. In the North, JTHJ is pulling crowds only because it's a YRF movie. Also, there's publicity around it. But word of mouth is not good, and the movie is too lengthy. Son of Sardaar, however, is an out-and-out entertainer and is getting a better response in mass centres," Malik said.
Senior film critic Vinod Mirani said both the films had disappointed. "Don't go by the collections in the first two days. The real test would be from third day. Son of Sardaar has more mass appeal. In JTHJ, the romance is unconvincing," he said.
Experts feel both the films have the potential to rake in about Rs 100 crore at the box office.