If worldwide box-office figures for the handful of major films released theatrically during the pandemic are anything to go by, they unquestionably indicate the audience’s disproportionate preference for big-budget, star-studded tent-polers with strong commercial appeal. While that might be a good omen for productions that can be slotted in such a category, it also implies that the more under-the-radar projects will have to work considerably towards their marketing and time of release. This is especially true for the diverse slate of long in the pipeline projects from Pakistan’s nascent film industry. The good news is that there are plenty of promising big-ticket films that can potentially shatter box-office figures and contribute towards a potentially historic cumulative haul for the year. Here we take a look at 5 such pickings from Pakistan and Hollywood with the potential to attract a torrent of audience footfalls to the theaters.
Note: All box-office figures reported are unverified official numbers
1. London Nahi Jaunga
LNJ is the follow-up to ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi,’ which grossed well over PKR 500 million globally in 2017, emerging as the biggest hit of the year. Naturally, expectations are high from this Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat, and Kubra Khan starrer given that it brings back the original film’s combination of director Nadeem Baig, writer Khaleel-ur-Rehman and producer Six Sigma Plus. The USP this time will be its British setting, coupled with fresh comic gags from newer cast members such as Gohar Rasheed. Last we heard, the UK spell of the film was still pending, however, Humayun Saeed is known to wrap his projects well on schedule and if things stay on track, LNJ might see an Eid-ul-Azha release this year. Expect box-office fireworks if that happens.
2. The Batman
This reboot of DC comics’ iconic Batman franchise will see Robert Pattison donning the cape and cowl, taking his cue from director Matt Reeves, who is known for his dark and gritty, yet very mainstream style of filmmaking. If reports are anything to go by, ‘The Batman’ features a noir aesthetic and there will be a whole army of allies and villains, such as Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Paul Dano as Riddler, to mention a few, joining the masked avenger in his adventures in Gotham. The franchise has a crazy following in the country, therefore an outcome similar to ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ just might be on the cards.
3. The Legend of Maula Jutt
This highly anticipated action-drama will see director Bilal Lashari back in action, whose thriller ‘Waar’ broke records in 2013, grossing over 200 million from the domestic market alone. Lashari brings his trademark edgy style to this noirish take on the 1979 Punjabi blockbuster, and the project has the potential to appeal to the whole spectrum of audience from the upper-scale urban one all the way to the smaller towns. While star Fawad Khan’s Pakistani theatrical pull remains untested, TLMJ also features Hamza Ali Abbasi and Mahira Khan who have consistently proven their credentials at the ticket counters.
4. Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad
Filmwala Pictures has teamed up with star Fahad Mustafa to deliver winners such as ‘Na Maloom Afraad’ and ‘Actor in Law’ and QAZ is expected to join the club. The action-comedy will see Fahad Mustafa back with another tongue-in-cheek character, while his onscreen female counterpart Mahira Khan will be adding more pizzazz. The well-received teaser showcased some larger-than-life action sequences, which should help draw in the audiences to the cinemas when it releases (as announced officially) on Eid-ul-Azha this year.
Star Shaan Shahid is an industry stalwart who has seen a surprising box-office drought of sorts since ‘Waar.’ Unsurprisingly, he is leaving no stone unturned to make sure that his upcoming venture ‘Zarrar,’ which he also directs, emerges a box-office winner. The trailer showcased some nicely shot action sequences, and that coupled with its patriotic theme should enable it to sail past the victory mark at the box office. While ‘Zarrar’ has the potential to surprise with a large box-office haul, the final verdict rests with the audience.
Which films do you expect to do extraordinarily well this year? Let us know in the comments below!