In the last couple of weeks, Udta Punjab has got crores worth of publicity for free. The uncertainty around release, political angle to CBFC’s decision in ordering cuts, court case, hundreds of opinion pieces – all combined to create unprecedented buzz for a film starring Shahid Kapoor in the lead. A film that would have probably struggled for a 6-crore opening (considering genre and adult rating), was now looking at a 10 crore plus start.
Unfortunately, there was one more twist. The ‘censor copy’ of the film leaked onto the internet on Wednesday evening. Our mainstream media, renowned for its lack of ethics, jumped onto this too and gave publicity to piracy. The PR team panicked and sent out ‘ready-made’ tweets warning people of the ‘virus-infected’ copies that gave more publicity to piracy and they were trolled too, as almost all tweets from journalists and celebrities were what we call ‘copy-paste PR tweets’.
No one knows who leaked the ‘censor copy’ of the film onto the internet. Why would the Censor Board themselves leak the copy that too without removing the ‘censor’ watermark, knowing fully well that they will be in trouble? The makers wouldn’t release their full film on the internet either. It could well be someone from the Censor Board who wants Pahlaj Nihalani out soon.
Moving on to the first day box office prediction of Udta Punjab, the film has the following factors in favour:
- Audience is curious to know what the film is all about, so it should open well at multiplexes. Interest for the film was restricted only to the main centres, but the controversy and media coverage could help the film get a decent initial at smaller cities too.
- Diljit Dosanjh is the biggest superstar in Punjab and even though Udta Punjab is not a commercial film – his presence should give a huge boost to the film in East Punjab circuit.
- The film will be getting a wider release and exhibitors have also given Udta Punjab more shows after the controversy.
- The film has a strong cast – Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh – all good performers.
Factors that will affect Udta Punjab on Day 1
- Piracy: It’s unfortunate, but almost everyone knows by now that the full length film is out on the internet. While it’s impossible to put a number to the impact on business, it will definitely mean a lesser total on the first day and it has also negated the big advantage the film got from the controversy. A section of the audience has also decided to watch the film in theatres just because the film has leaked.
- Udta Punjab is also an adult film with cuss words. So the family audience won’t watch the film and those below 18 years are not allowed to watch it either. This will significantly restrict its business to a small section of the audience. For example, an ‘A-rated’ film like Badlapur, even with chartbuster music, only opened at 7 crore last year and Varun is considered to be a bigger crowd-puller than Shahid.
- Shahid films have more often than not struggled for a good initial at the box office. Most of his films have under-performed on Day 1 and it has almost always been about good word-of-mouth for his films to be successful.
IndicineFBO: It’s probably the toughest film to predict this year, because there are too many ‘uncommon’ factors in play for Udta Punjab. Very few films get such high pre-release publicity and almost no film is leaked onto the internet two days prior to release. If the word-of-mouth is good, such films huge potential to grow evening onwards at multiplexes. We expect Udta Punjab to collect Rs 8.9 crore on Day 1.
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Will Udta Punjab become a HIT or FLOP? Tell us in the comments section below. Post your predictions for Day 1 too.