New Delhi: Last year it was his rural action-drama "Dabangg" that broke the dry spell at the box office by earning Rs.48.25 crore in the opening weekend, and this year Salman Khan`s comedy "Ready" has brought the much needed respite at the box office by grossing Rs.41 crore over the weekend.
Trade pundits, however, admit that "Ready" is not on par with "Dabangg" in terms of content and appeal and many not enjoy a long innings at the box office, but it is an entertaining film and got a good opening.
"Ready has had a good opening. The occupancy has been 90-95 percent. It is more of a family entertainer. One would not see the kind of action that was in `Dabangg` and `Wanted`," Yogesh Raizada, corporate head (Cinemas) of Wave Cinemas told IANS.
"Salman is perfect in the film he has done full justice to his character. Asin, is also good in the film," he added.
In contrast to Rs.18 crore "Dabangg", a small town cop drama shot in Wai in Maharashtra and partly in the UAE, "Ready", shot entirely in Thailand, is expensive, has an urban setting and is said to have cost Rs.50 crore.
Released on 1,900 screens, `Ready` earned Rs.13.5 crore on the opening day, Rs.12.5 crore on Saturday, and Rs.15 crore on Sunday.
"People are enjoying the film a lot, specially Salman Khan, although the shows have not been back-to-back houseful like `Dabangg` and `Wanted`. The audis have witnessed 80 percent occupancy," said a source in PVR.
Shot in the exotic locales of Thailand, the film is about happy-go-lucky guy Prem (Salman). He mistakenly helps a girl Sanjana (Asin Thottumkal) escape from marriage and later falls for her. Paresh Rawal, Arya Babbar and Mahesh Manjeraker also feature in it.
Just like Salman`s 2008 hit "Wanted", his "Ready" is performing much better in single screen theatres. Confirming this, Piyush Raizada of Delite Cinemas said their shows are going houseful.
"The response to `Ready` is terrific. Till now, our shows are going housefull. Everyone is appreciating Salman`s acting. It is too early to say whether the film will be as big as `Dabangg` because today, every day counts because of the number of shows being played today," he said.
At a time when most of the big-budgets, with big names like Akshay Kumar starrer "Patiala House", Abhishek Bachchan`s "Game" and "Dum Maaro Dum" failed to stir the box office, Salman`s magic worked again as "Ready" has brought smiles on the faces of distributors, cinema hall owners and audiences alike.
"I really enjoyed the film. Salman is really good. The first half is a bit boring but the film picks up after the interval and I couldn`t stop laughing till the end," said Madhu Verma, a housewife.
College student Priya Chawla liked it so much that she wants to watch it again.
"I found the movie extremely entertaining from the very first scene. Some of the one liners are hilarious and they could become popular pick-up lines. Salman is superb with his comic timing. I plan to watch it again," she said.
Last year too, when the box office was reeling under flops, Salman bailed it out with "Dabangg" and conquered it not only by earning the maximum profits of reportedly Rs.145 crore, but scooped the maximum awards, including a National Award for the best entertainer of the year.
Ritika Sinha, also a college sudent, said the film lacks focus, but has some really good punch lines.
Trade pundits, however, admitted that "Ready" will not enjoy long stay at the box office like "Dabangg".
"The film doesn`t seem to sustain for long. We are looking at the occupancy. If it drops down to 50 percent then we will put another film. However, film is doing really well on single screens," said the source from PVR.
Piyush Raizada said: "Gone are the days when films had to run for many days to be declared a hit. Today, in two to three weeks a film is declared a hit."