2015 has come to an end and the usual suspects, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, delivered the Top 3 biggest openers of the year. The other two top stars, Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan, didn’t have a movie release. The year also saw the emergence of younger stars like Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan, who made their presence felt through films like Bajirao Mastani, Dilwale, ABCD 2 and Badlapur.
2016 is going to be the most competitive year at the box office, because every top star in the industry has one big release or more. It’s also going to be a year of clashes; to name a few, Mohenjo Daro vs Rustom, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil vs Shivaay and the biggest of them all Raees vs Sultan.
Note: This prediction is not about clashes or holiday releases. We have balanced out all factors, so the prediction assumes that all films will get a solo release on a normal Friday. The reason for this is, films can get postponed and clashes can be averted. The only factor that has been taken into consideration is genre and commercial appeal. For example, a film like Raees is certain to take a better opening than Fan, if both films get a solo release.
1. Sultan (33 crore): When it comes to opening day numbers, Salman Khan has consistently been the top star in the domestic market and 2016 will see him in a commercial entertainer titled ‘Sultan’. The director of the film had earlier said “It’s a typical commercial film. But it will have a lot of human emotions and a heart. It won’t just be a masala potboiler” With a solo release, we expect Sultan to take the biggest opening of 2016.
2. Raees (30 crore): We loved the teaser of Raees. Not only is it a commercial film, but it’s also based on the life of a real-life Gujarati don. Shah Rukh Khan’s performance, a good story to tell and commercial ingredients should ensure a bumper good opening at the box office. It’ll also be a refreshing change to watch Shah Rukh in a film that gives him a chance to standout as a performer, along with the likes of Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
3. Dangal (28 crore): Aamir Khan returns after 2 years in one of the biggest release of 2016, Dangal. But the only uncertainty (so far) is its commercial appeal. For example, a film like Dhoom 3 took a record opening of Rs 36 crore on a normal working Friday, whereas PK, which didn’t really have the same mass-appeal, took a 27 crore start. The genre of films and factors like franchise, does make a big difference, even for films starring megastars like Aamir Khan. If the above two films (Raees and Sultan) clash, then Dangal is certain to be the biggest opener of 2016.
4. Mohenjo Daro (25 crore): Like Aamir, Hrithik Roshan returns two years after Bang Bang with a magnum opus titled ‘Mohenjo Daro’. The film will also reunite Hrithik with his ‘Jodha Akbar’ director Ashutosh Gowariker. The genre of historicals has received a big boost due to the success of ‘Baahubali’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’, and ‘Mohenjo Daro’ will benefit because of that. Once again, these predictions are made on the assumption that the clash with Rustom will get averted.
5. Housefull 3 (24 crore): It’ll be Akshay Kumar’s biggest release of the year and the film belongs to a popular franchise, which should ensure a big opening at the box office on Day 1. It also has a strong supporting cast. The only cause of concern would be Sajid – Farhan (Entertainment directors) replacing Sajid Khan (director of the first two Housefull films), but that shouldn’t affect the Day 1 collections of the film.
6. Shivaay (22 crore): With a solo release, Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay has the potential to open well at the box office. It’s easily the most anticipated Ajay film in a long time and the makers are leaving no stone unturned to make it one of the biggest films of the year. The fact that Ajay is acting, directing and producing the movie will be hugely beneficial in keeping the costs under control, without comprising on the scale of the film.
7. Fan (20 crore): Fan is expected to be a film without songs and its appeal is likely to be limited. Explaining the non-festive release date of the film, Shah Rukh Khan himself had said “If you’re looking for novelty, then you should watch out for ‘Fan’. It’s a different kind of film, supposed to be a niche.. It’s not meant to be a blockbuster releasing ahead of Christmas.” However, it should still manage a decent 20 crore opening on a normal Friday.
8. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (17 crore): Ranbir Kapoor is going through the worst phase of his career and the trade has already written off his next film ‘Jagga Jasoos’ which has been in the making for a long time now. But with Karan Johar as director and music being one of the strong points of his films, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil should be able to take a 15 crore plus opening at the box office.
9. Great Grand Masti (16 crore): The Masti franchise is the biggest ‘sex comedy’ franchise in the industry and the last film took a fantastic start of Rs 12.42 crore in 2013. With Amar (Riteish), Prem (Aftab) and Meet (Vivek) set to return under Indra Kumar’s direction, this one should be a bigger opener.
10. Dhishoom (15 crore): Varun Dhawan’s last two films opened well at the box office and the trade has high expectations from Dhishoom this year. Varun’s brother Rohit Dhawan returns to direction and has also cast John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandes. It’ll be huge at mass centres and should take a good opening at multiplexes too.
11. Half Girlfriend (14 crore): Mohit Suri is known to be a good director, with a brilliant ear for music. Chetan Bhagat is known for novels that turn into money-spinners when adapted into Bollywood films. The cast, Arjun and Shraddha Kapoor, is refreshing too. And the film has a catchy title. If things fall into place, the film is set for a good opening in October this year.
12. M S Dhoni: The Untold Story (12 crore): A film based on arguably the most popular Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, is set to hit screens later this year. Sushant Singh Rajput has modelled his personality around Dhoni in the last few months and the captain of the ship is the brilliant Neeraj Pandey. Should open well.
13. Raaz 4 (11 crore): Yet another franchise film makes it to the list and this time around, it’s the most popular horror franchise in Bollywood. The success of Raaz will be important for Emraan Hashmi, whose last few films have struggled to get a good initial.
14. Airlift (10 crore): Airlift is the biggest film of January, but the limited appeal at smaller centres will hurt the opening day collections of the film. Much like Baby during the same period last year.
15. Rustom (10 crore): There is very little known about Tinu Suresh Desai’s thriller Rustom, apart from the fact that it stars Akshay Kumar in the lead and Neeraj Pandey is the producer.
Note: Baahubali 2 (Hindi) is unlikely to release in 2016, release date hasn’t been announced. Robot 2.0 is certain to release in 2017 and Namaste England has been postponed. Rakyesh Om Prakash Mehra’s Mirziya could surprise.
Stay tuned for the year-beginning lifetime predictions of 2016 films.