Like film, like collections. The box-office performance of Salman Khan’s Dabangg 3 has not been impressive, much like the film. It opened lower than expected at Rs. 24.50 crore. No doubt, there was tension in different parts of the country due to protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act but that didn’t adversely affect the collections so much that the first day should have closed at just Rs. 24.50 crore. No doubt, Friday, December 20 wasn’t a public or a festival holiday but the first day of the second sequel of Dabangg should not have closed at only Rs. 24.50 crore. The film was dubbed in three languages — Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. The Kannada dubbing was because the film starred Kichcha Sudeepa in the main villain’s role. For the uninitiated, Kichcha Sudeepa is a big name in Kannada cinema.

If the first day’s total was disappointing, the second day’s collections were even more so. Saturday, when collections of all star-cast films usually show a jump over the previous day, saw collections of Dabangg 3 actually taking a downward slide. The day closed at Rs. 23.75 crore. Point to note is that the unrest on Saturday over the CAA was a little less than on Friday, yet collections fell. Frankly, the decline in collections on Saturday was enough proof — if proof was required after the below-the-mark opening — that the film had not won the audience’s love. The film’s box-office performance on Sunday was better but the jump wasn’t as much as it ought to have been. The day closed at Rs. 30.50 crore. In this way, the first weekend closed at Rs. 78.75 crore. Had the film found appreciation, the first weekend would’ve closed at not less than Rs. 100 crore.

In the case of films starring Salman Khan, Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan, the question is never about whether their starrers would break even. For, these heroes have reached a stage in their careers where whatever they touch turns to gold. The question is about how much will the business of their films be. So, while Dabangg 3 is a profitable fare, having fetched profits even before it came to the cinemas, its run at the cinemas will be quite a letdown. The question in the trade now is not whether the film will touch the Rs. 200-crore mark or not, it is whether the third in the Dabangg series will be able to do as much as the first part did in year 2010, and the second part did in year 2012. And that’s not a very happy predicament. In other words, the question that now begs an answer is: will Dabangg 3 cross the Rs. 150-crore mark?