• Saturday, July 13, 2024

Entertainment

‘Kalki 2898 AD’ poised to emerge as biggest opener of 2024

Produced by Vyjayanthi Movies, Kalki 2898 AD has released in six languages: Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, and English.

kalki 2898 AD Poster

By: Mohnish Singh

The stakes are high, the expectations higher and, if early trends are anything to go by, “achhe din” could be back for the Indian movie industry with 3D spectacle Kalki 2898 AD set to cross earnings of Rs 200 crore globally on its opening day Thursday, according to trade experts.

The sci-fi-meets-mythology extravaganza, with Prabhas, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, and Kamal Haasan headlining the all-star cast representing the biggest from both the south and the Hindi film industry, is also racing towards a USD 4 million premiere day in the US, Canada and other territories, reported trade website Sacnilk.

This is more than SS Rajamouli’s RRR, which had scored USD 3.3 million gross on its North American premiere in 2022. Kalki 2898 AD is now the film with “the biggest premiere for an Indian movie in North America”, Sacnilk reported.

Produced by Vyjayanthi Movies, Kalki 2898 AD has released in six languages: Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, and English. Previously titled Project K, it is arguably the most expensive feature film in Indian cinema history at a reported £60 million.

The film will breach the £10 million mark on the first day of its release, said trade analyst Girish Wankhede.

“This film will be a big lifesaver. Apart from ‘Shaitaan’, no big (Hindi) film has been a super hit in the last six months. Kalki will be like a breath of fresh air. It will earn Rs 100-110 crore in opening day collections across India and will cross the Rs 200 crore mark globally,” Wankhede added.

The mega-budget extravaganza is set for global box office domination with its 4s — stars, spectacle, stunts, and sci-fi — said industry insiders.

Touted as a marriage of the Hindu epic Mahabharata and science fiction, the big-budget multilingual film, which opened in theatres worldwide on Thursday, is directed by Nag Ashwin of “Mahanati” fame.

While it’s too early, Kalki 2898 AD has all the makings of a “blockbuster hit”, with its Hindi version pegged to be “the biggest opener of this year so far”, said trade expert Taran Adarsh.

As he sees it, even the India versus England T20 World Cup semifinal may not dampen enthusiasm for the film.

“Achhe din are back… For the Hindi version, it’s going to be the biggest opener of this year so far. The highest so far was ‘Fighter’ with Rs 20.50 crore and ‘Kalki’ will easily cross that. There’s a cricket match in the evening, but I think ‘Kalki’ will brave all the odds,” Adarsh told PTI.

The pre-release buzz and frenzy of the collective fandom of Prabhas, Bachchan, Padukone, and Haasan seems to be reflected in the tickets sold on the online booking platform BookMyShow.

According to Ashish Saksena, COO-Cinemas, BookMyShow, over 1.5 million tickets have already been bought on the ticketing platform.

“Audiences across the length and breadth of the country are demonstrating remarkable enthusiasm for all languages, with ticket sales for the Hindi version growing exponentially, and the Telugu version naturally leading the charts.

“Cities such as Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, and Tirupati show significant interest, followed closely by Warangal, Vijayawada, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Pune, highlighting the film’s extensive geographic reach,” Saksena said in a statement.

Besides its humongous budget, what is also at stake is the reputation of the cast of “Kalki 2898 AD”, which has cameos by Malayalam star Dulquer Salmaan, Telugu star Vijay Deverakonda.

“It has got great special effects, an ensemble star cast which is one of the biggest in recent times, there are so many interesting cameos by some of the stalwarts of the industry.

“Prabhas’ last two films haven’t done well. ‘Saaho’ did not do well, ‘Saalar’ was average. Besides money, there are a lot of things which will be at stake will be the reputation of Prabhas, Deepika, and of course, Mr Bachchan and Kamal Haasan,” said Wankhede.

According to Adarsh, the film will do good business with its multilingual release, plus its overseas collection, digital, satellite, and music rights.

“It’s a bit too early to say how it will fair eventually but it will be another feather in the cap of Prabhas, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, and the director and the production house. They have pulled off something like this,” he said.

Wankhede said “Kalki 2898 AD” has been designed as a “pan-India hit”.

“There is Kamal Haasan, who is a favourite of the Tamil audience. Vijay Deverakonda caters to the Telugu audience. Then, we have Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone who cater to the north belt,” he said.

“There’s a song ‘Bhairava Anthem’ which features Prabhas with Diljit Dosanjh who caters to the Punjabi audience. The entire world likes watching these people on screen, so ‘Kalki’ is a pan-India film,” the analyst added.

Ticket prices have also been hiked.

“Prices have have gone as high as Rs 2,300 in PVR (for premium lounge shows). And in Hyderabad, the ticket prices have been increased by Rs 70-80 because the film’s budget is around Rs 600 crore. But it is not going to be a problem in people watching the film,” he said.

Saksena said the movie has received “spectacular interest” from audiences opting to watch the mass entertainer at single-screen theatres, contributing to a massive 60 per cent of ticket sales on BookMyShow so far.

“With the film’s extensive reach encompassing diverse audience segments, including both multiplexes and widespread single-screen presence, the potential it holds knows no bounds. Close to 45 per cent cinephiles have opted for 3D and IMAX formats of the film, gunning for the immersive big screen experience,” he added.

Praising the lead cast of the movie, Adarsh said he is looking forward to the second part of “Kalki 2898 AD”, something the makers revealed at the end.

Large crowds, some people beating drums, were seen outside theatres in several cities, including Hyderabad and Mumbai.

The initial reviews were favourable.

“VFX is really good, one must watch it in 3D. You will feel like you are in a realistic cinema and transported to another century. It is a realistic film,” said a fan who watched the first day first show of “Kalki 2898 AD” in Mumbai.

“The movie is fantastic. In Indian cinema, this kind of movie has not happened,” added a cinegoer from Hyderabad.

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