Antim - The Final Truth, the gangster drama starring Salman Khan and Aayush Sharma in the lead, came out on November 26. As expected the movie, which was a remake of the Marathi film Mulshi Pattern and was directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, released to very mixed reviews. Now bad reviews hardly matters for a Salman Khan movie, right? But what is shocking is the box office collections for the film during the opening weekend. Antim Box Office Collection Day 3: Salman Khan and Aayush Sharma’s Film Sees Growth, Collects Rs 18.61 Crore.

Salman Khan films, no matter how bad (or in other words, how Race 3!), has often taken off to a flying start at the box office. At least, a double figure opening day collection that goes beyond Rs 20 crore is guaranteed based on how much Salman's movies have performed in the last 10 years, most of them turning All Time Blockbusters. Even his 'flop' movies like Race 3, Tubelight and Dabangg 3 have had a good opening weekend, and went on to earn more than Rs 100 crore at the box office.

Antim, however, was an 'exception'. For one, its opening day collection was about Rs 5.03 crore. On Saturday and Sunday, the movie performed better, earning a total on Rs 18.61 crore in the first weekend. And yet, for a Salman movie, this is very low. In fact last time a Salman Khan film that earned lower opening weekend collections was way back in 2009, when Vipul Shah's London Dreams, co-starring Ajay Devgn, earned about Rs 14.60 crore. So Antim is now Salman's lowest earning opening weekend grosser in 12 years! (Have not considered Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, because it was primarily an OTT release)

So what happened here? Contrary to what his detractors might say, Salman Khan ka time gaya nahi and he still enjoys a very large and loyal fanbase, but for Antim, there are several factors that played individually and or in unison, played in getting the collections not upto to mark of a Bhai film. Here are some of them:

50% Occupancy in Maharashtra

Ranveer Singh, Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar in Sooryavanshi

Maharashtra is clearly a major market for a Salman Khan movie, and therefore, seating capacity being about 50% did hurt Antim's earnings. Antim, a remake of a Marathi film, is also a very much localised movie, even though Salman plays a Sikh cop. The setting and most of the characters are very Maharashtrian, so the state was a key region for the film to perform well. However, some can point out that 50% seating argument won't hold much water since Sooryavanshi that came a couple of weeks before, earned Rs 77 crore in the opening weekend. While we do agree with this argument, it also brings us to our next point... Sooryavanshi Box Office Collection Day 22: Akshay Kumar’s Film Mints A Total Of Rs 185.64 Crore!

Satyameva Jayate 2

John Abraham in Satyameva Jayate 2

Sooryavanshi had two weeks solely for itself, as it was the only major Bollywood release, till Bunty Aur Babli 2 arrived afterwards (and flopped). Antim had major competition at box office in John Abraham's Satyameva Jayate 2. Granted SMJ2 received worse reviews and performed worse than Antim, but it had more hype and was a sequel to a hit movie. And there is no denying that SMJ2 ate into Antim's collections. Also Sooryavanshi continues to hold its sway at the theatres, so there's that. Satyameva Jayate 2 Movie Review: Three John Abraham's Get Crammed Into This Terrible Migraine-Packed Masala Movie!

Promotional Buzz was Average

Salman Khan and Aayush Sharma in Antim

Marketing matters a lot to a Hindi movies these days. Sooryavanshi was marketed well, SMJ2 was also marketed well. Antim's marketing was very much fractured, releasing its trailer a bit late, the songs didn't catch much buzz, and in the end, even Salman Khan stop doing PR for the film and left it to the fans. It was very important for Antim to create a major pre-release hype, even if it starred Salman, considering it was not a sole Friday release.

The Pre-Release (Mis?)Conceptions

Salman Khan in Antim

From the beginning there was this buzz that Antim is not a Salman Khan movie, but an Aayush Sharma starrer. There were rumours that Salman only has an extended cameo in the movie. There were also reports that to increase the viability and the visibility of Antim, Salman's role has been expanded to be the parallel lead. The posters and trailers focussed more on Salman, and the superstar even clarified on The Kapil Sharma Show that his role isn't a cameo. But the buzz refused to leave the minds than Antim isn't a Salman movie, and to think of it, the buzz was right! Antim Movie Review: Salman Khan’s Attempt To Take a Backseat for Aayush Sharma Proves Futile in This Tiring Vaastav Revisit

Antim isn't a Usual Salman Khan Movie

Salman Khan and Aayush Sharma in Antim

Check out all the major Salman Khan releases of the last few years, and all of them revolved around his character, occasionally to the fault (see Sultan). In case of Antim, while Salman Khan is definitely one of the two leads, and had a major presence, including a few fight scenes and some mass dialogues, Antim predominantly belongs to his brother-in-law Aayush Sharma. The movie is really about his character Rahuliya, and Salman's cop is merely a supporting part seeing the rise and fall of this young man, while also factoring into both. So Antim does stand apart from Bhai's all recent releases, and in fact, in the writer's opinions, is better than all Salman releases that came after Tiger Zinda Hai. In fact, I would also have the gumption to say that Salman Khan's expanded role takes the focus away from Rahul's far more interesting character arc (even if it bears closely similarities to Sanjay Dutt's Vaastav) and is a reason for bringing the film down. So were the Bhai fans okay with Antim being a Salman Khan-starrer but not a typical Salman Khan movie?

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 29, 2021 07:33 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website