When we talk about the cinematic craze in India, the spotlight undeniably falls on the fervor surrounding southern movies. This latest wave is exemplified by Shivaraj Kumar’s multi-language epic, ‘Ghost,’ and Vijaya Thalapathy’s ‘Leo.’ While ‘Ghost’ is scheduled for a midnight release at 12:15 AM, ‘Leo’ will grace the screens in Bengaluru at the early hour of 3:45 AM on October 19th. Initial indicators point towards ‘Leo,’ starring Vijay, stealing the limelight and stirring up fan excitement that might even surpass the buzz created by Rajinikanth’s recent ‘Jailer.’
Even before its official release, ‘Leo’ has amassed a staggering amount of revenue from regions beyond Tamil Nadu. According to media reports, ‘Leo’ is poised to make a whopping 100 crore rupees on its very first day of release.
Adding to the excitement is the festive spirit of Dasara. Theatres have lined up a stellar selection of films for the week, including ‘Leo’ in Tamil, ‘Ghost’ in Kannada, Balayya’s ‘Bhagavanth Kesari,’ and Ravi Teja’s ‘Tiger Nageswara Rao’ in Telugu. However, it’s noteworthy that ‘Leo’ is securing more screens in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana compared to the local language releases.
One contributing factor to the unprecedented demand for the early morning screening of ‘Leo’ in Bengaluru is the absence of early morning shows in Tamil Nadu. With both the Kannada and Tamil versions releasing simultaneously, the Kannada version will be showcased in twelve theaters, while the Tamil version will be shown in over 105 screens.
According to BookMyShow, Bengaluru theaters alone will host more than 190 shows between 4 AM and 7 AM on October 19, a clear domination over the number of ‘Jailer’ screenings. The anticipation for ‘Leo’ is such that tickets for the early morning show were selling for over a thousand rupees each. Business Today reported that over 70,000 tickets have already been sold for this weekend alone in Bengaluru.
It’s worth noting that ‘Jailer’ initially didn’t secure many Kannada screens last month. However, the surge in fan interest prompted distributors to increase the number of Kannada screenings, but the initial momentum was somewhat lost. A notable boost for ‘Jailer’ was the cameo appearance of actor Shivraj Kumar, which contributed to the surge in Kannada showings. Ultimately, distributors acquired the Karnataka release of ‘Jailer’ for nearly 8 crore rupees and reaped a staggering 36 crore rupees in returns.
Rajinikanth’s unparalleled pan-India fan base worked in favor of ‘Jailer,’ but Vijay’s following mainly consists of Tamil film enthusiasts. This brings up the intriguing question of how his dubbed versions will be received. The film has attracted even more attention with the news of his political entry and alleged disputes with Udhayanidhi Stalin over film distribution rights.
So, can ‘Leo’ eclipse the success of ‘Jailer’? Can it compete with the combined might of ‘Ghost,’ ‘Bhagavanth Kesari,’ and ‘Tiger Nageswara Rao’? The answer to these questions is mere hours away.