This Friday — 23 September — the box office performance of two new releases (Ritesh Deshmukh-Nargis Fakhri's Banjo and the Leena Yadav-directed Parched) were keenly watched.
However, it was the previous week's release — Amitabh Bachchan-Taapsee Pannu's Pink — that managed to do the briskest box office.
Pink, which is directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and has Shoojit Sircar as the producer continued its triumphant box office run, fuelled no doubt by the glowing reviews coming in from critics and viewers alike.
On Sunday, 25 September, it crossed the Rs 50 crore mark, making it one of the to-five most profitable films of 2016.
Leading trade website KoiMoi.com analysed the films that have offered their makers the greatest return on investment in 2016 so far. Neerja, made on a budget of Rs 21 crore and having earned Rs 75+ crore at the box office, fetched its makers a neat Rs 54 crore profit, and has first place on the list. Pink — made on a similar budget and having already grossed Rs 50+ crore — is currently showing a profit margin of Rs 30 crore for Sircar and the other producers. (The other four films on the list are Sultan, Airlift, Rustom and Tiger Shroff-Shraddha Kapoor's Baaghi.)
With such daunting opposition from Pink, it was an uphill struggle for both Banjo and Parched, neither of which boats an attention-grabbing star cast.
Parched had excellent reviews, but as a limited release, ultimately its screen count was too low for it to make any impact in terms of its earnings. Day One saw the Radhika Apte-Surveen Chawla-Tannishtha Chatterjee bring in about Rs 10 lakh. But by Sunday, its collections had risen to slightly over Rs 40 lakhs. It seems unlikely that the film will make up its costs, unless it enjoys a truly spectacular run over the remainder of this week.
While Parched was not meant to be a commercial entertainer in any case (and therefore box office earnings are not a matter of as much concern for its makers, including producer Ajay Devgn) the same is not the case with Banjo.
Riteish Deshmukh has a solo Hindi film release after ages, having shifted his attention to ensemble projects for a while now. However, with a dismal Rs 1.72 crore in collections on its opening day, and a total of only Rs 3.67 crore by the end of Sunday, the horizon for this Ravi Jadhav directorial do not seem too bright.
The weekend's other releases — Days of Tafree, Wah! Taj — are estimated to have done a business of around Rs 1+crore and Rs 60+ lakh, respectively.
The opening weekend box office figures for Hollywood films The Magnificent Seven and Storks have not yet been released.