BILLU may have charmed the bigwigs of the industry in the private screenings that were held in Mumbai before its release but it couldn't entice the 'aam junta' enough to visit the theaters on the first day itself. Of course, it is yet too early to pass a verdict on the film but in the times when the opening counts the most, BILLU has certainly underperformed.
Not that it comes as a surprise. Except for 10 odd days leading to the film's promotion, the film was hardly creating any buzz amongst the paying public. It's a different thing for a film to be hot in the distribution circle but for those who matter, the paying public, there wasn't much craze about the film.
As per the plan, Shah Rukh Khan did go ahead with his publicity blitzkrieg in last few days which somehow managed to create awareness about the film. However, it was most shocking to know that quite a few of people (including avid movie goers) outside the city of Mumbai didn't even know that the film was arriving on the Friday gone by.
All of that has resulted in an ordinary opening for BILLU with Friday being lukewarm and hovering at around 50% occupancy. Of course the fact cannot be denied that BILLU has seen a huge release but for a film that stars Irrfan Khan as the central protagonist, this was always going to be a risk. It's isn't quite a comfortable situation for the film even now since the reviews too have ranged from average to above average to good, hence indicating that media by itself hasn't gone on an over drive in hailing this film.
However, in the past even terrific reviews haven't elevated the prospects of a film [LUCK BY CHANCE] though poor reviews have certainly contributed in a film's downfall [CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA]. This brings BILLU in a precarious situation where a lot depends upon how the remainder of the weekend functions.
While it is sure by now that BILLU isn't going to be a big success by any means [the HIT tag is ruled out], it's also certain that it won't loose money. This 'theek-thaak' opening means that the film's final box office status would hang between being a coverage fare to an average earner. All eyes are now set on how the remainder of the film would perform. Stay tuned.