On Friday, September 23, cinema chains across India are celebrating National Cinema Day. An extension of a similar day observed in the US, the occasion will see movie tickets priced at flat ₹75 in many chains across the country. This has led to a surge in advance bookings for films screening that day, led largely by Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra. The film has not just broken its personal record for most advance bookings for a day but the overall advance booking record for any day outside a film’s opening weekend. Also read: Is Brahmastra hit or flop? Explaining the economics of box office collections
On Thursday, the Multiplex Association of India said in a statement that cinemas were recording ‘sold out shows’ on National Cinema Day. “A record number of movie goers are expected to visit cinemas on Friday, September 23 to celebrate the National Cinema Day. The response to pre sales has been unprecedented and September 23 is on course to become the highest-attended day of the year for cinemas across the country,” the statement read.
The numbers are already impressive. By Thursday afternoon, the three major movies screening on the day–the new release Chup, the re-release Avatar, and Brahmastra–had sold close to 12 lakh tickets in advance bookings. While the collections are not as high given that ticket prices are half to one-third of what they usually are, this is one of the highest collective advance sale of tickets on a Friday since the release of KGF: Chapter 2 earlier this year.
Brahmastra has clearly taken the lead in terms of ticket sales. As per multiple sources, the film has sold 9 lakh tickets for Friday by Thursday afternoon. The figure is even higher than the 7.76 lakh tickets it sold on its opening Sunday. In fact, it is the highest sale of tickets by any Hindi film outside its opening weekend since records have been kept. As per industry tracker Sacnilk, the film sold 9.25 lakh tickets by Thursday afternoon, collecting ₹8.3 crore. Several shows of the film were houseful by Wednesday morning itself and more have joined the ranks since. Trade analysts are predicting up to 80% occupancy in some parts of the country for the film.
Chup, starring Sunny Deol and Dulquer Salmaan, has also benefitted from the reduction in ticket prices and it has managed to sell over 1.5 lakh tickets in advance bookings as well. This is one of the highest numbers for a Hindi film this year. Sacnilk puts Chup’s advance booking collections by Thursday afternoon at ₹1.42 crore with 1.63 lakh tickets sold. The re-released Avatar has also done well with a sale of 65,000 tickets and nett collection of ₹91 lakh in advance bookings.
It is almost a certainty that Brahmastra will have a double-digit Friday and the collections can even reach the ₹15-20 crore mark, numbers the film hasn’t seen since its opening weekend. This may breathe new life into the film in what could be its final big week. It is likely to see much reduced numbers from next week when Vikram Vedha and Ponniyin Selvan arrive to give it competition. Chup, too, looks likely to have a ₹3-5 crore opening day, which is a good number for a film of its scale.
The numbers for both the films, in terms of footfall, will reduce on the weekend as ticket prices go back up. But it can give both these films a healthy weekend. For Brahmastra, it is essential given that it still needs some more money to break even in terms of nett collection. For Chup, a good start can be pivotal in a healthy lifetime run, which smaller Hindi films have struggled to register all year.