Akshay Kumar’s Laxmii opened on Disney + Hotstar on November 9, with mostly negative reviews from the critics and audience alike. A day after the film’s release, the digital platform announced that Laxmi had received the highest viewership for a movie that has ever premiered on Disney + Hotstar. A day later, another announcement that Laxmii recorded the biggest Day 1 ever for an Akshay Kumar film was disseminated by Disney + Hotstar. The second announcement has got the social media, as well as veterans of film trade wonder and question the basis of their claim.
When we talk of box-office collections, there is a comparison point as also, as a means to verify the accuracy of the collections from various exhibitors and national multiplex chains and then form an opinion if the opening is good or bad. But Disney rather tried to pull off a smart move by announcing their claim without any historical data to compare and validate their claims. While they didn’t boast of any numbers, they merely informed that Laxmii was the biggest opener on their platform as also, for Akshay Kumar.
According to an insider, the half-baked information has resulted in confusion and raises more questions than it answers. An industry insider claims, “They claim it to be Akshay’s biggest Day 1 ever, but on what basis? Where are the numbers? Why is media being made to believe in anything that’s communicated officially? Dil Bechara was streamed for free on Disney Plus Hotstar, and are they trying to say that a free content got less traction than a paid attraction that too in times when there was sympathy wave was for Sushant Singh Rajput? Even if they have not claimed this, the lack of clarity and the opacity in the communication definitely tries to keep things for the media to interpret as it doesn't provide any context with regards to the previous best. The numbers of Laxmii are certainly the highest for the platform’s paid service i.e. biggest of all among Sadak 2, Khuda Haafiz, Lootcase and some other films premiered in the lockdown, without taking into account the free content that streamed on Hotstar.”
Akshay Kumar’s biggest opener till date is Mission Mangal, which collected a little under 30 crore on Day 1 at the box-office. Taking the average ticket price at 150, we can safely estimate approximately 20 Lakh people who would have watched the film in cinema halls. So is Disney trying to imply that over 20 Lakh people watched Laxmii within a span of 24 hours on their platform? And even if it true, the comparison of audience viewership on OTT [subscription based] Vs Box Office footfalls [buying of movie tickets] is an apples-to-oranges comparison and is flawed and fallacious. A platform known to be as transparent as Disney is setting a wrong precedent in the OTT world.
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