First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone that read my box office predictions for Dangal and OK Jaanu. Both predictions turned out to be accurate.
Predicting the biggest grosser/blockbuster of the year is something that comes up every year amongst film fanatics. A fan of Superstar A swears that it will their hero's film that will become the biggest. A fan of Superstar B will argue in favor of their star. The three common names that cause arguments amongst fans in regards to this are the three Khans: Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, and Shah Rukh Khan. It's not the stars themselves that create arguments, but rather, it's their passionate fans!
If we observe the film that became the biggest grosser/blockbuster of the year in India since 2007, you will notice an interesting trend. Let's take a look, shall we?
2007: Om Shanti Om (Diwali)
2008: Ghajini (Christmas)
2009: 3 Idiots (Christmas)
2010: Dabangg (Eid)
2011: Bodyguard (Eid)
2012: Ek Tha Tiger (Eid)
2013: Dhoom 3 (Christmas)
2014: PK (Christmas)
2015: Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Eid)
2016: Dangal (Christmas)
You notice something? Every year since 2008, the highest grosser of the year has been either an Aamir Khan film released on Christmas, or a Salman Khan film released on Eid. Interestingly, the last time an SRK film, or a Diwali film for that matter, became the highest grosser of the year was back in 2007 with Om Shanti Om! If we look at the last 10 years, it has been either a Salman film or an Aamir film as the biggest grosser of the year for 9 of those years, which equates to an outstanding 90% rate for these two Khans!
Eid and Christmas are the dominant periods. In 2017, it's either the Salman Eid release, or the Aamir Christmas release, looking at the trend of the past nine years. Aamir has no Christmas release, so here's what I predict: Salman Khan's Eid release, Tubelight, will be the biggest grosser, the biggest Blockbuster of 2017!
Sure, people will point to the two films tentatively slated to release during Christmas: Tiger Zinda Hai and the Sanjay Dutt biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor and directed by Rajkumar Hirani. But the fact of the matter is, whenever a film is involved in a clash, it has no chance of becoming the biggest grosser of the year!
Even if we assume one of the Christmas films releases solo (which I think there is a good chance of happening), I would still put my money on Tubelight. Here's why:
Tubelight (Eid) vs Tiger Zinda Hai (Christmas): Both films will release on a non-holiday Friday, but Tiger Zinda Hai will take a better opening than Tubelight because it's a YRF sequel to a huge Blockbuster (Ek Tha Tiger), has Katrina Kaif, and will be presented as a grand action film on a huge scale. However, audience WOM (Word of Mouth) makes the difference. Director Ali Abbas Zafar's last film Sultan was well-appreciated by the audience, and it can be a similar case for Tiger Zinda Hai, but Ek Tha Tiger itself had WOM that was in the mixed to positive range, so something similar is possible with Tiger Zinda Hai.
On the other hand, Tubelight is directed by Kabir Khan, who's last film Bajrangi Bhaijaan was one of the most universally loved films in recent years. As a matter of fact, Ali Abbas Zafar's Sultan had lower lifetime collections than Kabir Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan which released one year earlier, evidence of the fact that Bajrangi Bhaijaan had better WOM than Sultan. Tubelight is likely to have better WOM than Tiger Zinda Hai. Interestingly enough, the director of Tubelight, Kabir Khan, was the director of Ek Tha Tiger, the sequel of which is Tiger Zinda Hai!
Tubelight (Eid) vs Sanjay Dutt Biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor and directed by Rajkumar Hirani (Christmas): Rajkumar Hirani is arguably the biggest director in India, with his last two films 3 Idiots and PK re-writing box office history and opening the 200 crore and 300 crore club, respectively. The last time he worked without Aamir Khan, his Sanjay Dutt starrer Lage Raho Munnabhai was also a Blockbuster that nearly reached the collections of Sunny Deol's Gadar (which was the highest grossing film at that time). Rajkumar Hirani is expected to deliver another Blockbuster, and if the film were to get a solo Christmas release date, the film would have a good chance of becoming Ranbir Kapoor's first film to enter the 300 crore club.
Although early reports of the film are that comedy portions are being shot and the film is looking like a Rajkumar Hirani style film, the question remains of whether a film based on the life of Sanjay Dutt (who's life events has had him gain his share of critics) would be able to connect with the all-india moviegoers. If we compare the WOM of the films of the last two directors, Kabir Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan had slightly better WOM than Rajkumar Hirani's PK, although the WOM of both films was very strong. If it turns out to be the same case again, then the film with the better WOM and starpower (Tubelight) will reign supreme over the Sanjay Dutt biopic.
For 2015, I predicted that the biggest grosser/blockbuster in India would be Bajrangi Bhaijaan. For 2016, I predicted Dangal. Now for 2017, I predict that it will be the Salman Khan starrer releasing on Eid, Tubelight! Also, a cameo in the film by a certain Khan (Shah Rukh) will only enhance the excitement and box office prospects for Tubelight. As of now, I feel that Tubelight will have lifetime collections somewhere near the 350 crore range, but I will write a more detailed prediction closer to the film's release.
Bobby Sidhu is a movie buff and box office enthusiast from Canada. You can follow him on Twitter here https://twitter.com/srkat14
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