And so it begins. The temperature outside dips in this January freeze but the box office is heating up as the Tamil film industry gears up for the release of two highly anticipated films, Varisu starring Vijay and Thunivu starring Ajith. This is not the first time that the two superstars have released their films on the same day. In their illustrious career spanning three decades, the two have faced off a dozen times, with their last box-office “clash” taking place in 2014 when Ajith’s “Veeram” and Vijay’s “Jilla” hit theatres on the same day.
While Thunivu will release worldwide tomorrow along with its Telugu dubbed version, Thegimpu, only the Tamil version of Varisu will be released tomorrow, with the Telugu dubbed version getting postponed to 14th January earlier this week. The main area of contention between the two films remains Tamil Nadu, with Varisu being a much bigger seller in other regions. That said, Thunivu has put up a strong fight outside Tamil Nadu as well, recording the best pre-sales numbers ever for Ajith there.
Speaking of pre-sales, both films are posting bumper numbers in Tamil Nadu. The combined sales of both films are nearing Rs. 30 crores mark in the state for opening day. The final numbers for the day can hit Rs. 40 crores mark which will be the biggest single day ever, bettering the previous best of Rs. 35 crores last year by another Vijay starrer “Beast”. At the time of writing, Thunivu leads the sales for the first day, but Varisu has better sales for the following days, it not only fulfil the shortfall of the first day but has managed to get ahead of Thunivu for the overall five-days weekend.
The above phenomenon can be largely attributed to the better distribution put forward by team Thunivu. The number of cinemas and shows for both Varisu and Thunivu are not too apart but Thunivu has managed to get better collecting cinemas and bigger screens by seating, building a bigger capacity than Varisu. Since the opening day is essentially sold out for both films in most centres, the excess demand is getting spilled over to the following days and here Varisu is outperforming Thunivu considerably with Sunday sales being 30 per cent higher than Thunivu. That doesn’t mean that Varisu will collect higher than Thunivu on Sunday as by then it will be the word of mouth that will be pushing sales than stardom or hype.
Pongal is a huge period for the box office in Tamil Nadu. In 2019, the clash between Rajinikanth’s “Petta” and Ajith’s “Viswasam” yielded over Rs. 230 crores at the Tamil Nadu box office, which was more than 50 per cent higher than the then-biggest grosser in the state Baahubali 2. In fact, the combined sum of Petta and Viswasam even exceeds the current biggest grosser Ponniyin Selvan. The hope here will be that both films get good reception and combined box office of the two probably go as high as Rs. 300 crores.
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