Toilet-Ek Prem Katha releases during a critical period for the Hindi film industry. The tally of flops has been rising in the post-Baahubali 2 era. Half Girlfriend, Tubelight, Jagga Jasoos, Munna Michael, Mubarakan, and Jab Harry Met Sejal have all failed at the box office. The industry hasn’t seen any major box office success since Badrinath Ki Dulhania, which released back in March. The question is, will Toilet – Ek Prem Katha be the film to rescue the industry? Will it be the film that finally stops the bleeding?
The theatrical trailer of TEPK was released a few months ago and received a positive response. It was evident from the trailer that the film carries a very Indian feel (which last week’s JHMS lacked). The trailer also placed emphasis on the subject matter that the film deals with, a very important issue particularly in the rural areas of India: the access (or, lack of) to toilets. The issue, easy for the audience of India to connect with (especially in rural areas), combined with the dose of entertainment (comedy) shown in the trailer, makes the film seem like a winner.
Akshay Kumar’s biggest grossers have either been films where he was playing a macho/action-oriented role (Rowdy Rathore, Rustom, Airlift, Holiday) or a comedy franchise (Housefull 2/3 and Jolly LLB 2). TEPK neither has Akshay in that macho/action role and neither is it a part of a comedy franchise.
Another negative for the film has been the somewhat poor pre-release buzz of the film. After the well-received theatrical trailer, the buzz declined due to the songs not really clicking enough with listeners. The poor buzz will translate into an opening day collection that will be one of Akshay’s lowest in the last two years. It will be a good first day number, but not upto the mark of his other openers. Tax exemptions that the film has received (such as in UP) will help the first day collections slightly, but it will still be a somewhat below-the-mark opening day collection.
I strongly feel that TEPK will carry public WOM (Word of Mouth) ranging in the good-very good range. The director did have a flop film released back in 2012 (Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai), but that was a long time ago and the director seems to be in form this time, from an audience point of view. I feel that TEPK will be one of those films where viewers find a middle section of the film boring/dragging, but the beginning and ending sections will be strong enough for the audience to like the film, overall. Public WOM will be strong in big and small centres/circuits.
A decent enough opening, combined with strong public reports, two weeks of a free run (A Gentleman is the next notable film releasing, and that releases two weeks after TEPK, and last week's JHMS is already reaching its lifetime collection), universal appeal, some holidays (including the national holiday of Independence Day), and tax exemptions in states (the film will probably get more exemptions after release) should all result in TEPK crossing the 100 crore mark. Unfortunately, given the high distributor price, the touch-and-go scenario won’t be enough to give the film a Hit verdict, although it will be enough for recovery.
My box office predictions for Toilet – Ek Prem Katha:
Opening Day: 11 crore nett
Opening 3-Day Weekend: 40+ crore nett
Lifetime Collections: 106 crore nett
Overall Verdict: Semi-Hit
The article has been written by Bobby Sidhu who is a box office enthusiast and have an internship in a tax firm in Canada. You can follow him on Twitter Bobby Sidhu.
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