To the uninitiated, the release of a Rajinikanth film in India can look like a festival. In what has become a ritual with every Rajinikanth film, fans of the superstar wait with bated breath for the release, often clamouring to buy tickets for the screenings - which are sold out in a matter of seconds. Then come the tributes, the fan art, the declarations of love and the Rajinikanth special memorabilia.
This time around, Air Asia hitched itself to the Thalaiva bandwagon, unveiling a first-of-its kind flight that was plastered in Kabali posters featuring Rajinikanth himself.
Videos of fans cheering and celebrating outside theatres went viral after Rajinikanth's Kabali hit the screens on 22 July. Some celebrated, while others mourned that all the Kabali shows were booked to full capacity.
Kabali may very well be the most anticipated film of the year. So has it managed to live up to the incredible hype and expectations that it has ridden on so far? More importantly, will it do well at the Box Office? Let's analyse:
What may work for the film
The Pa Ranjith-directorial features Rajinikanth essaying the role of an ageing don based in Malaysia.
Rajinikanth is, without a doubt, the USP of Kabali. From the opening sequence to the end credits, the superstar is presented as a stylish don who lives life by his own rules. The film opens with some instant crowd-pleaser sequences. And the tone is set for an intense thriller.
The action sequences towards the second half are well shot and Rajinikanth's confrontation with Tony towards the end is sure to be greeted with loud whistling and cheers - as is with the action scenes in almost every Thalaiva film.
What may not work for the film
Rajinikanth films are known to be entertaining from start to finish. Unfortunately, Kabali fails to deliver on that front. The film bears the brunt of a weak script that also fails to establish an emotional connect with the viewers.
The film also suffers from editing issues. Some sequences are abrupt and jarring, while the film in itself is peppered with some glaring continuity issues.
Surprisingly, the film is also low on the Rajinikanth-isms that were expected of it. Despite being well choreographed and shot, the action sequences are misplaced in the plot.
The Hindi version of the film suffers from shoddy dubbing, a factor that is bound to turn viewers off.
Will Kabali do well at the Box Office?
The opening day and weekend numbers of Kabali are sure to set new records in terms of regional films. However, the film will have to prove itself from Monday, 25 July, when the audience word of mouth reveals itself.
The worldwide distribution rights of Kabali have been sold at Rs 165 crore. For the distributors, Kabali will have to prove its mettle at the Box Office to become Rajinikanth biggest hit yet - surpassing Robot, which currently holds the title.
The film will have to rake in over Rs 330 crore at the global Box Office just to break even. Robot was a blockbuster at distributors share of Rs 160 crore but Kabali will only recover Rs 165 crore.
The Hindi dub of Kabali has released across 1,000 screens. The lifetime collections of the film is bound to fall short of Baahubali: The Beginning (Rs 120 crore).
While the Rajini mania will definitely last the week, Kabali may not trend well at the Box Office. Like Lingaa before it, Kabali sadly looks like it may end up causing losses for the distributors.
While the Box Office run of Kabali appears to be dismal, producer Kalaippuli S Thanu is laughing all the way to the bank, as he has pre-sold the satellite and worldwide distribution rights of the Thalaiva-starrer at record prices.
Box Office Prediction for Kabali (Hindi):
Opening Day (22 July): Rs 4.50 core
Opening Weekend (23-24 July): Rs 18 crore
Lifetime collections: Rs 30 - 35 crore
The all-India (Hindi + Tamil + Telugu) opening day number of Kabali will be somewhere in between Rs 40 to Rs 42 crore. Only Rajinikanth could pull off such impressive opening numbers on what is otherwise a regular, working day in India.
-- Edited by Blassy Boben