After a great end to the year 2008 with blockbusters like Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Ghajini, all eyes were on the first big release of 2009. Chandni Chowk To China starring Akshay Kumar was expected to do the following
1) Open big all over India and overseas.
2) Match the opening weekend collections of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Singh Is King and Golmaal Returns.
3) Further consolidate Akshay Kumar’s position as one of the biggest stars in Bollywood, one who can guarantee a historic initial.
The other debate on discussion boards and blogs was; Can Chandni Chowk to China match or even beat the opening of Aamir Khan’s historic Ghajini?
Unfortunately, Chandni Chowk To China (CC2C) has shocked the trade! The film opened to a worst possible start with most critics, International and Indian, slamming the film. Then came the next shocker, the occupancy at the paid preview shows was somewhere between 65 – 75%, which is not bad but well below what was expected from a Akshay Kumar film.
On Friday with a much wider release, CC2C managed about 65 – 70% collections all over India, again not bad for a film that has released on such huge number of prints, but nothing great either.
On Saturday, the film was expected to further pick up momentum which again didnt happen. Which probably was due to the bad word of mouth surrounding the film. At some places the collections were less than half of Ghajini and Singh Is King!
Sunday the collections have improved slightly, but much lower than expected. Can it sustain on Monday or will the film directed by Nikhil Advani witness a heavy fall? We feel due to the negative reviews, word of mouth and the fact that many viewers have rejected the film outright, CC2C should fall heavily on Monday.
Now what about the overseas collections? The initial reports have a similar story to tell. Here are the estimate figures from a reputed Box office site, Boxofficemojo.com
Lets compare it to the other releases in recent times.
Chandni Chowk To China – $651,000 on 130 screens (Rs 3.18 crores) Estimate
Singh Is King – $1,154,528 on 112 screens (Rs 5.63 crores)
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi – $920,995 on 83 screens (Rs 4.49 crores)
Ghajini – $766,859 on 83 screens (Rs 3.74 crores)
Jodha Akbar – $1,300,000 on 100 screens (Rs 6.34 crores)
So even with the most number of screens amongst all the other big films of 2008, CC2C could possibly (going by estimate) be the least grossing film overseas.
The failure of CC2C should affect Nikhil Advani the most, as after a highly successful debut with Kal Ho Na Ho, he followed it up with the box office disaster Salaam-e-Ishq and now CC2C. Next comes Akshay Kumar and like last year with Tashan, he has failed with this year’s first release. Deepika Padukone should experience her first career failure.
CC2C has a tough ride ahead and to cover its huge costs, the film should sustain on Monday and do well the next weekend. Highly unlikely, but still quite possible. Lets wait and watch. More Soon.