Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi and Thackeray are two much-hyped films that were expected to drive the box office this weekend. However, neither film has enjoyed a great opening.
Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika bagged a below-par Rs7.75 crore nett, while the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer bilingual Thackeray (Hindi version) could only get around Rs3 crore nett, as reported by BoxOfficeIndia.com. As per trade sources, Thackeray (Hindi + Marathi) bagged around Rs5 crore nett.
Made at a cost in excess of Rs100 crore, Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi was released on 3,000 screens across India and 700 overseas. Thackeray was made at an estimated cost of Rs30 crore and was released on 1,200 screens across India.
Commenting on the opening collection of the two films, trade analyst Girish Wankhede said, “Comparatively, Manikarnika is ahead of Thackeray, but if you take the budget into account, both films have got low openings. Manikarnika’s budget is in excess of Rs100 crore while Thackeray’s budget is Rs30 crore. While a figure of Rs7.50 crore is not bad, Manikarnika needed to get at least Rs10 crore on the opening day.”
Wankhede felt that the mixed reviews for both films haven’t helped their cause. “From what I read, both films have got mixed reviews. So I don’t see much growth for the two films on the weekend. To recover investment, both films needed to do at least Rs10 crore on the opening day,” he said.
The trade analyst felt that the producers of the Bal Thackeray biopic perhaps erred in positioning their film. “Thackeray would have been fine as a regional [Marathi] film, but they amplified it as a national [Hindi] film, releasing it nationwide. That was not a good proposition,” he said.
Directed by Abhijit Panse, Thackeray was produced and distributed by Viacom18 Motion Pictures.
Besides starring in the film, Kangana Ranaut also co-directed Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhani with Krish. The film is based on the life of rani Laxmibai of Jhansi and has been produced by Kairos Kontent, Zee Studios and Nishant Pitti.
In terms of films led by female protagonist(s), Manikarnika has registered the fifth highest opening. Director Shashanka Ghosh’s feminist drama Veere Di Wedding (2018) holds the record, having made Rs10.42 crore nett on its opening day.
That film, starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, was made at an estimated budget of Rs42 crore and released on 2,200 screens across India. Veere Di Wedding bagged Rs80.27 crore nett in India business.
Ghosh’s film broke the record of Kangana Ranaut’s Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015), which had an opening of Rs8.61 crore nett. Tanu Weds Manu Returns still holds the record (Rs148.84 crore nett) for highest nett earner for a film led by a female protagonist.
The Kangana Ranaut film is followed by Mary Kom (2014) and Ragini MMS 2 (2014), which got openings of Rs8.32 crore nett and Rs7.93 crore nett, respectively.
Meanwhile, Vicky Kaushal’s Uri: The Surgical Strike continues its remarkable run. The RSVP-produced action film made Rs4.75 crore nett on its third Friday to take its India business to Rs138.24 crore nett so far.
What is perhaps worrisome for Thackeray and Manikarnika is the cold wave across the northern belt of the country that is likely to affect evening collections in those states. Unless the two films show significant improvement over the weekend, both Thackeray and Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi face an uphill battle to recover their costs.