Ahmad Ali Butt, Fahad Mustafa, Humayun Saeed and Vasay Chaudhry in ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2’. Image Credit: Supplied

As expected, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 opened big in theatres across Pakistan last month. But the kind of huge numbers this multi-starrer amassed was not quite predicted by trade pundits, especially given the competition. On the one hand, there was the ever dependable Nabeel Qureshi-directed Load Wedding, featuring the hit screen pair of Mehwish Hayat and Fahad Mustafa; and on the other hand, the mega-hyped ode to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Parwaaz Hai Junoon, which was touted to lead the box office by virtue of its high emotional quotient and jingoism.

The trend was set on day one itself, which was Eid Al Adha: as per Box Office Detail, an independent source of information on film business, JPNA 2 collected PKR32.3 million (Dh959,272), while the other two simultaneous releases managed in the range of PKR9 million to PKR17.9 million.

At the close of its second weekend, JPNA 2 has already crossed the PKR300 million figure, which is unheard of for a local film. Earlier, Bollywood’s Sultan (2016) and Sanju (2017) earned such numbers in the first two weeks.

Third-time film director Nadeem Baig and producers Humayun Saeed and ARY Network have a reason to celebrate big-time, as the sequel to their 2015 blockbuster is shattering records at the ticket windows. A lavish production, with an ensemble cast that includes Fahad Mustafa, Mawra Hocane, Kubra Khan, Ahmed Ali Butt, and Saeed himself, JPNA 2 is also an international success.

In the UK, in particular, this romantic caper with an India-Pakistan angle seems to repeat the success of the team’s last hit, Punjab Nahi Jaungi. According to British Film Institute (BFI)’s box office report for the weekend ending on August 26, JPNA 2 grossed PKR32 million, leaving behind Load Wedding and Bollywood’s Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi.

The movie had a 47-print release across the UK — widest for any Pakistani film — and the gamble paid off. Sunil Shah, the film’s international distributor from B4U Movies, says the amount earned in the first week is £279,029 (Dh1.32 million). Interestingly, Indian superstar Akshay Kumar’s mega-budgeted Gold and John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate too could merely collect £188,771 and £52,532, respectively. Additionally, the film’s collections so far, from the US, Canada, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Scandinavian countries take the tally to PKR340 million (approximately), which is a new record for a Pakistani feature film.