INDIA — Sunny Leone's Bollywood film debut "Jism 2" opened in India today to strong ticket sales, but bad word-of-mouth and negative media reviews. Theater owners are now pondering how that will affect the erotic drama's weekend box office performance and overall legs.
"Jism 2" is currently playing on 1600 screens across India and 600 in Mumbai, where its morning showings reportedly packed in movie houses. "The opening was very good for 'Jism 2,'" Multimedia Combines told BoxOfficeIndia.com. "The morning shows clocked 80-90 percent occupancy."
The Pooja Bhatt-directed film also performed well this morning in Punjab and West Bengal, where representatives for Aum Moviez predicted a big first-day tally for the much buzzed-about release. However, as the day progressed and negative reviews started to find their way online, theater owners began to notice a drop in attendance.
Lakshya Movies in Punjab said, "It is doing really well now, but the bad reputation it is gaining among the audience will compromise its numbers over the weekend."
Film distributor Sahyog Films in Hyderabad echoed the chain's sentiment: "There has been a drop since the afternoon shows and the audience says the film is really bad."
"Jism 2" tells the story of Izna (Leone), an adult film star hired by the government as a "honey-trap" to seduce and capture a notorious assassin (Randeep Hooda). Things get complicated when she not only falls for the killer, but also for the intelligence officer ( Arunoday Singh) that hired her.
The film garnered major media buzz in India when Leone's involvement with the project was first announced in January, making it the country's most anticipated — and controversial — movie release of the year.
Despite a lengthy standoff with India's Censor Board of Film Certification and the legal motions put forth by conservative parties in attempts to prevent the movie's release due to the "adverse moral impact that [Leone's] presence would have on society," "Jism 2" premiered today with an adults-only 'A' certificate rating.
"Everyone is eager to watch Sunny Leone," Shri Rang Films summed up to BoxOfficeIndia. "But, to be honest, it’s not a good film and collections will dip during the evening shows.”