The last collaboration between Salman Khan and director Kabir Khan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, a drama about a man who sets out to take a young mute Pakistani girl back to her homeland to reunite with her family, rang up 320.34 crore ($48.15 million) in India and 600 crore ($90 million) worldwide in 2015.
Their latest epic, Tubelight, is highly likely to eclipse that result, at least in India, according to a straw poll of exhibitors, film industry executives and analysts.
Set in 1962 during the Sino-Indian war, the drama starring Salman Khan, his brother Sohail and Chinese actress Zhu Zhu, launches worldwide on June 23 during the Eid festival.
The consensus: An opening weekend in India of at least 100 crore ($15 million) and a lifetime total of as much as 350 crore ($52.6 million). The most ambitious prediction from one analyst: 600 crore.
It will be Salman Khan’s widest ever release in India (where the distributor NH Studioz is yet to confirm the screen numbers) and globally.
The producer, Salman Khan Films chief operating officer Amar Butala, told me the film will launch on 900 screens internationally, not including the Middle East where screen numbers are still being firmed.
Yash Raj Films will distribute in 50 markets including North America, the U.K., Northern Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany where it has direct distribution. The U.S release will encompass around 330 screens and the U.K. 215-plus.
Don Groves , CONTRIBUTOR
I write about screen industries in Australia/NZ & neighboring regions