This weekend, another clash awaits audiences. The box office will see Vikrant Rona lock horns with the multi-starrer Ek Villain Returns. The Kannada film led by superstar Kichcha Sudeep is releasing pan-India, much like recent South Indian films have, and hopes to draw audiences into the cinemas the way KGF 2, RRR, and Pushpa have done in the last few months. On the other hand, Ek Villain Returns brings back the magic of Mohit Suri on the big screen with John Abraham, Arjun Kapoor, Tara Sutaria, and Disha Patani shouldering the film.
Trade analysts weighed in on both releases and shared a common opinion that while Vikrant Rona will have fireworks at the Kannada box office, Ek Villain Returns might cause a hurdle in the film’s way in the Hindi belt.
“It has generated decent to good buzz with the highest buzz being in Karnataka. However, the film could pick more buzz in other South Indian states as the weekend grows on. Like Pushpa, which had a slow start in states outside Andhra Pradesh and Telangana but picked up strongly thanks to word of mouth, Vikrant Rona also could have a similar run if the word of mouth is good,” trade analyst Ramesh Bala explained.
He predicted that Vikrant Rona could score 20 crores gross in Karnataka alone while it could open somewhere between Rs 2 to 5 crores collectively on Day 1.
In the Hindi belt, trade analyst Atul Mohan believes Ek Villain Returns could open bigger than Vikrant Rona. The film is supported by Salman Khan in Hindi. “There is some kind of advantage that Salman Khan brings to the movie with his role as a presenter but I don’t see it benefit the film on the whole. While Sudeep is a big name in the Kannada film industry, the Hindi belt is still not fully familiar with his name. If the content is extraordinary, the film could pick,” he said, adding that he predicts Vikrant Rona to open somewhere between Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.5 crore in Hindi.
Meanwhile, producer and film business expert Girish Johar is optimistic about Ek Villain Returns. “Ek Villain is a franchise, a branded film and returning after eight years. The first one was a super hit film, the second one also has very good traction in the Hindi belt. All the names attached to it are very good in terms of attracting attention at the box office. John Abraham has a huge fan following and Arjun Kapoor also has a good following behind. Tara and Disha are the GenNext girls who have a great presence on screen. I am hoping for a good start for Ek Villain Return. It has the glitz and glamour that a whodunnit film needs, the run time is also just 2 hours 8 minutes which would add an advantage for the film,” he said.
“I’ll be happy if the film has a start of Rs 6 to 8 crore which would be a very good start,” he added.