With people dancing on the streets and setting off firecrackers, the jubilant scenes wouldn’t have been out of place in an Indian movie.
In fact, they were the real-life celebrations of thousands of cinema fans in South India as they welcomed the latest film release by one of the country’s biggest superstars.
“Jailer,” a Tamil-language action thriller by celebrated actor Rajinikanth, has taken the region by storm since hitting cinemas Thursday and is already expected to set box office records.
The film is the first in two years to feature the actor, who enjoys a demigod-like status among his fans, and so great has the anticipation been that some companies have given their staff a day off to watch it.
The Kerala-based education company Redbooks Abroad gifted its staff free tickets to the first showing, saying in a memo seen by CNN that it was a “day to relax, rejoice, and immerse yourselves in the magic of the silverscreen.”
“We hope that this day off and movie experience will bring joy, relaxation, and renewed energy to you all. Let us cherish this moment and create memories together,” it said in the memo.
Another company, Le Hive, based in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, said they were giving staff half a day off to “avoid sudden sick leaves.”
The companies’ actions are just one aspect of the feverish expectations surrounding the release, which local news channels have spared no detail in covering, running live blogs, interviewing fans and filming scenes outside theaters.
The film collected about $5 million at the box office on Thursday, based on early estimates, making it the highest opening for a Tamil-language film in 2023 so far, according to local reports.
The movie begins showing in Fiji cinemas this Friday.
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