A non-holiday Friday and the last day of Ramzan to boot. Yet, neither could stop the latest Salman Khan starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan from setting the cash registers ringing.

Multiplexes say they are seeing strong occupancy, which is expected to rise over the next few days.

But whether it will beat SS Rajamouli's Bahubali , which reportedly earned over ₹200 crore in the first five days, only the weekend will tell.

Early estimates by analysts say Bajrangi Bhaijaan may have earned ₹33-35 crore on the first day and could do about ₹80 crore in the first two days itself.

Though specific figures on the first-day collections were not available, trade analyst Komal Nahta said, “ Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a blockbuster. It can perhaps emerge as the biggest hit of Salman Khan’s career so far.”

Nahta said it is doing well at small centres, single-screen cinemas as well as in multiplexes.

The movie, directed by Kabir Khan and globally distributed by Eros International, was released across 4,500 screens in India and at over 700 screens abroad.

“It is looking to be a big weekend for the cinemas. We are expecting nearly 14 lakh admits over the weekend, which is one of the highest numbers for a weekend. Even the morning shows saw high occupancy of 80 per cent,” said PVR Cinemas’ CEO Gautam Dutta. Multiplexes and trade analysts say that Bajrangi Bhaijaan has struck a chord with family audiences and is seeing strong advance bookings.

Also, with no big movie release slated for the next two weeks, the movie is expected to see a strong run at the box office for the next few days.

“Word of mouth about the film is extremely strong. In a year, one sees strong advance booking only for five-six movies. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is one of the movies that is seeing really strong advance bookings and is expected to see high occupancies over the next few days,” said Devang Sampat, Business Head – Strategy, Cinépolis India

PV Sunil, CEO of Carnival Cinemas, said the movie is attracting families and across its screens the occupancy was about 80 per cent on the first day and expects the number to rise over the weekend.

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