The Force Awakens’ collects Rs5m in Pakistan



The lightsabers are out once again. More than a decade after audiences last boarded the Death Star, fans of Star Wars once again flocked to cinemas to set off on a journey to a galaxy far, far away. With the previous weekend having seen Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale and Deepika Padukone’s Bajirao Mastani go head-to-head; the latest instalment in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, was going to need some ‘force’ to pin down its Bollywood competitors.

Having released over the long weekend, the movie ended up recording modest returns on its opening day in Pakistan. While initial collections amounted to Rs5 million, Distribution Club executive director Abid Rasheed explained that despite a “modest first day,” the movie is bound to pick up.

“Dilwale has been a resounding success in Pakistan and it is increasingly difficult for any film to compete against it. Despite an average opening day, The Force Awakens is bound to pick up in the coming few days, mainly due to positive word-of-mouth,” Rasheed told local media. “Star Wars has done better in Karachi in comparison to Lahore. The multiplexes in Karachi, such as Nueplex, are doing better business,” he added.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened on 51 screens in Pakistani cinemas. Expecting the movie to earn in the whereabouts of Rs8 million both on Saturday and Sunday, the distributors of the movie are already eyeing an opening weekend of Rs21 million, which would be a major success considering Dilwale’s sweeping run at the box office.

Where Star Wars: The Force Awakens was expected to perform reasonably better in multiplexes, it was going to be difficult for the film to replicate its success in single-screen cinemas. Farrukh Rauf, director of Capri Cinema, spoke about the film’s low turnout, saying, “We ran two shows at 3pm and 11pm but both of them hardly had occupancy over 25%.”

Interestingly, multiplexes such as Atrium Cinemas also saw low occupancy due to audiences going for the SRK-starrer. Managing director of Mandviwalla Entertainment, Nadeem Mandviwalla, elaborated on the reason for the movie’s performance, noting, “Historically, there are some popular English franchises that have never done well in Pakistan, such as The Hunger Games and The Hobbit. Star Wars is also one of them.”