Independence Day weekend is fast turning out to be one of the most special when it comes to Bollywood biggies making their mark at the Box Office. Agreed that they are yet to carry the kind of sting that a Christmas or an Eid or a Diwali release enjoys. Still, with a National holiday in there and Eid/Janmashtmi/Rakhi also falling in the vicinity, the day is becoming more and more lucrative.
As a matter of fact this year, the Independence Day weekend is special for many reasons. It is a four day weekend, what with Independence Day (August 15) falling on Monday. Then, there is Parsi New Year (Wednesday, 17 August), Rakhi (Thursday, 18 August) and Janmashtmi (Thursday, 25 August) making it a truly lucrative time period for the new releases.
In fact, the challenge lies in whether either Rustom or Mohenjo Daro would actually go on to surpass the record of Singham Returns (Rs. 140 crore). Still, between the two films, Ek Tha Tiger (Rs.199 crore) would definitely be surpassed. The Salman Khan starrer had an additional advantage of coming on Eid though – a festival that is now synonymous to bringing on a Salman Khan release – and also arrived sans any clash with another biggie.
Here is looking at the Top-10 highest grossers on Independence Day weekend over the years (in order of collections).
2012 – Ek Tha Tiger – Rs. 199 crore – All time blockbuster
The biggest Independence Day release ever (with an Eid advantage to add), Salman Khan's Ek Tha Tiger was as big as it gets, what with an extraordinary promo leading to some massive footfalls in theatres. Yash Raj Films put all their resources behind their film and Katrina Kaif's presence only boosted the fortunes further. The film fell just a crore short of the double century mark, though Kabir Khan's newest collaboration with Salman Khan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, more than just compensated for the slight loss.
2014 – Singham Returns – Rs. 140 crore – Superhit
Ajay Devgn's biggest grosser till date, Singham Returns, opened to full houses on its Independence Day release in 2014. It enjoyed a huge opening day of Rs. 32 crore, though collections did slide over the weekend. The film went on to enter the 100 crore club in the first week itself (that saw Rs. 113 crore coming in) but started sliding soon after. Still, the job was done. Though the film wasn't as much appreciated as Ajay Devgn-Rohit Shetty's Singham, the sequel's success did enough to ensure that a third would certainly be on the cards.
2015 – Brothers – Rs. 85 crore – Below average
The film opened to good collections and went on to have a fair first week as well. However, soon enough it went downhill and could just go past the second week at the Box Office. It was disheartening for Karan Johar, Akshay Kumar and Sidharth Malhotra as a lot of money, sweat and blood (literally so) had gone into making the film. Audiences didn't really feast on the film's USP (MMA – Mixed Martial Arts) and eventually, the Karan Malhotra directed film couldn't cover the distance.
2007 – Chak De India – Rs. 68 crore – Superhit
Other than Ek Tha Tiger, if there is one film which has found maximum acceptance and love by the audience on Independence Day, it is Shimit Amin's Chak De! India. In fact it is also the most topical and respected Independence Day weekend release. Though the film didn't take the kind of opening that a quintessential Shahrukh Khan film enjoys, the word of mouth spread like wild fire, hence resulting in the film enjoying a cult status till date.
2013 – Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara! – Rs. 62 crore – Below average
Sequel to immensely popular and loved Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, this Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan starrer managed a very good opening day for itself. However, lack of screens (courtesy Chennai Express, which released a week earlier), meant that the Ekta Kapoor production had to make do with what was available. In any case, this wasn't one of the best works of Milan Luthria and fell short.
2006 – Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna – Rs. 45 crore – Above average
Yet another Shahrukh Khan film that enjoyed this holiday release for itself, it was clearly the hottest of the year, what with Karan Johar bringing together Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta as well. Unfortunately, the film saw mixed response coming its way due to its theme of adultery. It enjoyed a very good opening at the box office but couldn't sustain well. Still, it did well overall.
2009 – Kaminey – Rs. 44 crore – Semi-hit
2011 – Aarakshan – Rs. 43 crore – Average
A release which was as topical as it gets, Aarakshan was just the kind of social drama that would have warranted an Independence Day release. The hype was all there and the opening god too. However, the film as a whole wasn't anywhere close to director Prakash Jha's last film Raajneeti. Despite the heavy weight presence of Amitabh Bachchan and good support from Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, the film was just average.
2008 – Bachna Ae Haseeno – Rs. 33 crore – Hit
Ranbir Kapoor enjoyed a success with this Yash Raj offering that had director Siddharth Anand continuing his consistent run with the production house. Music was a huge success well before the release of the film and when compared to his debut flick Saawariya, Ranbir Kapoor managed a better reach amongst the audience. It was also one of the most good looking rom-coms, courtesy Deepika, Bipasha and Minissha's presence.
2005 – Mangal Pandey: The Rising – Rs. 30 crore – Below average
Releasing four years after Aamir Khan had delivered a cult success Dil Chahta Hai, this Ketan Mehta film was in the making for long but never lost the hype surrounding it. For industry, trade and audience, this was a biggie in the making that would match international scale. The film's opening was the biggest ever for a Bollywood outing and quick moolah was accumulated too. However, post that it was all downhill.
2010 – Peepli [Live] – Rs. 30 crore – Superhit
The biggest surprise till date, when it comes to films released around the Independence Day weekend, Peepli [Live] benefitted tremendously with the kind of marketing strategy that Aamir Khan built around it. He didn't hush up the film's release and carefully went about planning its promotion and release. Eventually, this modestly budgeted nameless/faceless/starless film went on to do very well with the audience.