Akshay Kumar seems to have found his new winning formula! From 2005-2008, he was in many comedy films, many of which were well-appreciated by the public and became huge hits at the box office. Major successes like Welcome (2007) helped him reach one of the top spots among the leading male stars in Bollywood, as he was considered competition to Shah Rukh and Aamir!
However, a series of poor and repetitive comedy films changed things around and brought Akshay’s career in a big slump.
Suddenly, in 2012 with OMG! Oh My God, Akshay started doing films which dealt with issues that affect Indians, or that at least carried some sort of Indian patriotic sentiments. Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, Baby, Airlift, and Toilet – Ek Prem Katha are some examples of those. It’s a desh-bhakti image, as many would say!
Akshay now has another such film releasing this Friday: PadMan!
The film was originally supposed to release on Republic Day (Jan 26). Then, the makers decided to release it a day earlier: January 25. Of course, Padmaavat then decided to release on that date instead, which resulted in a game of musical chairs with PadMan and Aiyaary, with PadMan deciding to release on Feb 9!
PadMan is carrying positive pre-release buzz, has controlled costs, has a few holidays during its run, and is certain to get extremely positive word-of-mouth publicity from viewers that watch the film. It is certain that the film will be a box office success. With that being said, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha looks to be safe as Akshay’s highest grosser, the reason being that Toilet released with a national holiday (Independence Day). Even some of Akshay’s other highest grossers released with either a national holiday or post-IPL period, neither of which PadMan benefits from. Also, director R. Balki has been known to make films aimed for the multiplex audiences, and although PadMan does appear to be a universally All-India appealing film, it's likely that the audience in smaller centres, although they will like the film, would not appreciate the film as much as Toilet - Ek Prem Katha or Rowdy Rathore (Akshay's two highest grossers) given Balki's multiplex-oriented sensibilities. Nonetheless, the overall picture will be rosy for PadMan!
My Box Office Predictions for PadMan:
Opening Day: 12 crore nett
Opening Weekend: 48 crore nett
Lifetime: 122 crore nett
Overall Verdict: Super Hit
As always, you can follow me on Twitter at Bobby Sidhu!