1144999 image 1468940566 118 640x480 - ‘Sultan’ makes Rs 300m on Pakistani box office
Sultan tells the story of an Indian wrestling couple based in Haryana. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Considering Sultan’s dominance over the box office ever since its release on Eid, one can assume Salman Khan to be the Brock Lesnar of the Indian subcontinent. With unprecedented collections in Pakistan over the last two weeks, the film has been taking its competitors to ‘Suplex City.’

Sultan had grossed Rs76 million on the first two days of Eid and approximately Rs40 million on the third day, making a total of Rs110 million. And so, it broke the three-day record of Nadeem Baig’s comedy hit Jawani Phir Nahi Ani, which collected Rs74.5 million last year.

According to Mohsin Yaseen, general manager of marketing at Cinepax, the attendance at cinemas has dropped 25%. “However, I think Sultan has already collected at least 28 crores,” he told The Express Tribune.

An official from Geo Films — which also happens to be the local distributor for the movie — confirmed that it has collected approximately Rs300 million, with more expected. “It’s still in the cinemas for the next few weeks and we are hoping it will touch at least Rs400 million,” he said.

Nonetheless, the attendance is naturally dwindling bit by bit, subsequently affecting the business. This is perhaps due to the film being pirated and played by local cable owners on television. Film exhibitor Nadeem Mandviwala of Mandviwala Entertainment agreed. “The attendance has been a 100% over the weekends but 7o% to 80% on weekdays, after the first nine days of Sultan’s release.” General Manager Super Cinemas Khorem Gultasab further confirmed this, adding that there had been a 30% decline. “The Eid frenzy goes away after a week or 10 days and then you have pirated versions of the film being played on TV,” he explained. “In fact, I was quite taken aback to see that Sultan was playing on TV the afternoon of Eid day! This definitely affects business.”

Of course, with a dwindling audience comes dwindling business and so, the number of shows being reduced in the theatres. Gultasab explained Sultan’s life cycle in layman terms, saying, “It was dominating over the last two weeks but now, the furore has calmed down a bit and other films now have a chance. Sultan had taken up almost all the shows during Eid time, which left the rest of the current releases with only one show or so per day.” According to him, recent releases such as Finding Dory, Secret Life of Pets and Ice Age may now have more of a chance.

Other films are yet to outpace Sultan’s success, though. Even with lesser business, the Ali Abbas Zafar directorial is performing better. However, with the aforementioned factors such as piracy and the release of upcoming films affecting its performance adversely, it is yet to be seen whether the film manages to break the all-time Pakistani record of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani, which is Rs465 million.

Sultan is a romantic sports drama depicting the story of Sultan Ali Khan, a fictional wrestling champion from the Indian state of Haryana whose career causes rifts in his personal life. The film also stars Randeep Hooda as Sultan’s coach and Anushka Sharma as his love interest.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2016.