In March 2018, director SS Rajamouli, fresh off the global success of Baahubali: The Conclusion, announced his next movie with Ram Charan and Jr NTR in the lead roles. The movie at that point had no official title. So the filmmakers tentatively named the project RRR, denoting the initials of the three superstar collaborators. The temporary title, however, became so widely popular with the audience that it got risky to give the movie another name. So the filmmakers stuck with RRR and came up with an alternative abbreviation for it, which nobody remembers.
The official abbreviation of Raama Roudra Rushitam but for fans, it still stands for Rajamouli, Ram Charan and NTR. It demonstrates an important trend. Unlike other filmmakers, Rajamouli doesn’t have to agonise over coming up with a fancy, catchy and appropriate title for his movies. He can simply call his next movie just ‘R’ and cinephiles would still lose their minds over it.
And that is the kind of stardom and reputation that is all set to give RRR the biggest opening that we have ever seen in recent times. Baahubali 2 had set a new box office benchmark for Indian cinema and it remains unbeaten even six years later. If the buzz is anything to go by, then RRR is set to create a whole new opening record this Friday. “I am expecting around Rs 150 crore gross opening from all languages, all formats, just in India,” said Girish Johar, producer and business trade expert.
The number of screens that RRR will be releasing in India is hard to accurately pinpoint as the filmmakers were continuing to add more screens at the time of writing this piece. The conservative estimations of the trade predict at least the movie to be shown on a minimum of 5000 screens across the country on Friday.
The screen count of the movie in the northern belt is expected to be around 2000. The Kashmir Files is still going strong and may have an impact on RRR’s release. And the combined screen strength of the Telugu states is around 1800. Of which at least 95 per cent will show RRR. At least 60 per cent of the 1200-odd screens will run the magnum opus of Rajamouli in Tamil Nadu, and the movie will be screened on over 500 screens in Kerala. In Karnataka, the film’s screen share was impacted as late movie star Puneeth Rajkumar’s last movie James has retained most of the screens in its second week. According to reports, RRR will be screened in about 400 screens in the state. Several single screens in Bengaluru are running early morning shows to cash in on the craze around the movie while reports suggest midnight premieres may also take place in the city.
There are also reports of the Telangana government allowing midnight shows for RRR. An official confirmation is awaited.
A newspaper ad in Kerala today has claimed that the filmmakers will release the movie on 10,000 plus screens worldwide. If it’s true, RRR will break the opening day screen count record of Baahubali 2, which was released on nearly 9000 screens worldwide.
The film has recorded strong advance bookings in the Telugu states and Kerala. However, the bookings in other parts of the country are not similar. “Compared to Baahubali (The Conclusion), the craze is a bit low for RRR in Tamil Nadu. But, usually, such films gain traction by good word of mouth. So, only after the release, we can rightly predict which way the film’s headed. Even Baahubali 1 opening was rather low,” said Tirupur Subramaniam, the president of the exhibitors’ association.
The Hindi belt, where Rajamouli and the team aggressively promoted the movie, also reflects the mood of Tamil Nadu, where bookings are good but not Baahubali-good. “This (RRR) is an absolute mass entertainer. And the mass entertainers don’t have huge advances but they will have huge current bookings (walk-in audiences),” he said Akshaye Rathi, a film exhibitor and distributor.
He added, “I think the film will collect a bare minimum of about Rs 20 crore (on opening day) in Hindi alone.”
— ForumKeralam (@Forumkeralam2) March 23, 2022
Rs 100 crore gross in Telugu states alone?
RRR is also set to widely benefit from the revised ticket rates in Andhra Pradesh. There is also permission for the theatres to have five shows every day, besides charging Rs 70 beyond the ticket prices stipulated by the AP government. The ticket prices in Telangana are also on the higher side for this movie. Each ticket across single screens is likely to cost upwards of Rs 200. And in multiplexes, the prices are set to go up above Rs 400.
“Early fan shows at 5 am on Day 1 are being priced at ₹500-₹1000 and have been taken over by fans paying house-full grosses upfront for the same. Many Unimaginable Records are loading in Telugu States on Day 1 (sic),” tweeted AndhraBoxOffice.com.
RRR has also done a record business from the sales of premiere tickets in America. According to producers, the advance for the premiere alone is pegged at over $2.5 million, which is more than Rs 19 crore.
The trade expects RRR to gross more than Rs 100 crore from its ticket sales on its opening day in the Telugu states alone. The film will release in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi in 2D and 3D format on March 25.