This didn’t quite seem on the cards till around three-four weeks back. However, a massive push by Fox coupled with a well chalked out marketing and release plan has done the trick for the Sushant Singh Rajput starrer M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story. The film, which was expected to open well, is not in a different league altogether, what with a release across 5000 screens. That would ensure that the opening numbers are not just big but also within the Top-3 of 2016 so far.

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This is how the biggest Day One numbers (in excess of 10 crore) are for the year:

Sultan36.54 crore
Fan19.2 crore
Housefull 315.2 crore
Rustom14.11 crore
Airlift 12.35 crore
Baaghi11.94 crore
Dishoom11.05 crore
Udta Punjab10.05 crore

Box Office Predictions - M.S. Dhoni - The Untold Story
Box Office Predictions – M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story

There is no debate around the fact that from Udta Punjab to Airlift, there is no competition for the Neeraj Pandey directed film when it comes to the first day numbers. Similarly, Sultan is out of reach and something like that could be challenged only by Dangal later this year. This leaves M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story to battle out for the records held by Fan, Housefull 3 and Rustom. Now unless the word of mouth is negative (which should not be the case), even Housefull 3 would be crossed comfortably. This means the real battle is with Shahrukh Khan’s Fan.

A number in excess of 19 crore would be quite a push for the film and if that actually happens, it would mean the Day One record of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani [19.45 crore], another non-holiday release with a relatively new actor, would be in threat too. Well, when that has to happen, it would happen. However for now, even if M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story manages to do 17-18 crore on its Day One (which would mean running to roughly 40% of the capacity available), that would be a great sign for the film.

More so because it is not as much about the percentage occupancy but the footfalls that would be a deciding factor for the film. Sushant Singh’s last release Detective Byomkesh Bakshy had opened at 4.2 crore while his biggest opener Shuddh Desi Romance had an opening of 6.5 crore. Here, it is a different battlefield altogether where Sushant has to not just double but almost triple his previous record. It is Brand Dhoni, credibility of Neeraj Pandey and confidence of Fox that should ultimately do the trick.

Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder

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