Pakistani cinema is seeing rapid growth recently with every year gross business picking up well. Last year we saw a record PKR 1.9+ bn boxoffice gross by Pakistani films but this gross cruised past PKR 5.25bn when Indian and English films were included. Eid ul Azha last year saw three releases and the combined gross was a record PKR 950 million business at the boxoffice.
This year again we have three local films lined up for release but the stakes are higher than the last year as the budgets of Parey Hut Love and Superstar are hefty. When we compare the star casts then male leads of the films releasing this year are no where close to last year’s. Last year we saw Humayun Saeed and Hamza Ali Abbasi on silver screens and both are arguably the biggest boxoffice stars in Pakistan. Furthermore, last year brand value was much bigger with the release of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2.
When it comes to boxoffice star power, it is always measured by the boxoffice initials and the advance sales. And in those terms Mahira Khan stands out and is probably miles ahead of other female stars. If we go back and see the films she has done, if they hadn’t featured Mahira Khan then they would have been a boxoffice underperformer. Bin Roye even though featured Humayun Saeed but that film completely capitalized on the star power of Mahira Khan and its worldwide gross stands ahead of big commercial films like Yalghaar, Na Maloom Afraad 2 and many others. Also, Bin Roye became the first Pakistani film in drama genre to hit 100 million mark in Pakistan.
Moving on, Ho Mann Jahaan despite being a non eid release turned out to be a major hit with massive business in both domestic and overseas markets. The film became first Pakistani film to release on non Eid and hit 100 million and 150 million marks. The film had new male stars but it was Mahira Khan’s star power which made it a crazy hit.
Next came Verna, even though Verna couldn’t do enough in lifetime but film’s opening business was very solid. It was a dark social drama and it is always extremely tough to pull off a dark social drama at boxoffice. Despite coming in a dull period at boxoffice i.e. November, Verna still had managed opening weekend of over PKR 30 million which is on par with commercial non holiday releases.
Verna was followed by 7 Din Mohabbat In and the film had a tough competition with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on Eid ul Fitr. Jurassic World is easily among top three biggest film brands in Pakistan after Fast & Furious and Avengers. 7 Din Mohabbat In had released on Eid opposite Jurassic World and despite having average response to promos and songs, 7 Din Mohabbat In opened bigger than Jurassic World. Every film of Mahira Khan has taken staggering start and that too without the star support from any male lead, that speaks about how big star power she holds.
Now coming towards Superstar, the film is already leading in advance sales over other two releases and the film will probably lead this Eid ul Azha. Once again it will be due to the star power of Mahira Khan. One film which would have changed the whole equation of boxoffice in Pakistan was Raees. Raees couldn’t see release in Pakistan and if that film had released then every opening record would have been with Mahira Khan.