Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor in Saaho
Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor in SaahoTwitter

Prabhas's highly-talked about movie Saaho has opened to good response at the USA box office in the premiere shows on Thursday, but failed to beat the collection records of Baahubali 1 and 2.

The success of Baahubali film series had generated a massive hype for Saaho and its promos had doubled the curiosity and expectations of the viewers. The distributors made huge plans for its release in a bid to cash in on Prabhas mania in USA. They also held premiere shows in a large number of screens across the country. Sujeeth's movie witnessed superb response in the preview shows.

As per early trends, Saaho has collected $820,000 at the USA box office in the premiere shows on Thursday and it might cross $1 million mark, when the final figures are revealed. The movie has beaten the record of Maharshi to become the biggest opener of 2019 in the country.

Jeevi tweeted, "#Saaho collects $915,224 from 317 locations in USA for premieres with per location average of $2,897. With no offers. Top Telugu US premiere no:1. BB2: unknown
2. Agnyatavasi: $1.5M, 3. BB1: $1.36M, 4. KN150: $1. 29M, 5. Spyder: $1M, 6. #Saaho: $915k
7. AS: $797k, 8. RS: $706k:

Here are the list of top 5 biggest Tollywood openers of the year in the country.

Rank Movie Release Gross
1 Saaho August 30 $820,000
2 Maharshi May 8 $511,000
3 NTR: Kathanayakudu January 8 $442,998
4 Dear Comrade July 26 $273,000
5 F2 - Fun and Frustration January 11 $251,263

However, many expected Saaho to beat the collection records of Prabhas' previous outings Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali: The Conclusion, but it has failed big time. Its collection is not even 1/3 of Baahubali 2's business. The movie has ended up becoming sixth biggest opener of all time in the country.

Rank Movie Release Collection
1 Baahubali 2 28 April 2017 $3.5 million
2 Agnyaathavaasi 10 January 2018 $1.514 million
3 Baahubali 10 July 2015 $1.395 million
4 Khaidi No.150 11 January 2017 $1.295 million
5 SPYder 27 September 2017 $1.005 million
6 Saaho 30 August 2019 $0.820 million
7 Bharat Ane Nenu 20 April 2018 $0.800 million
8 Aravindha Sametha 11 October 2018 $0.797 million
9 Rangasthalam 30 March 2018 $0.707 million
10 Sardaar 8 April 2016 $0.616 million

Phars Film Co LLC, which is not well versed with the dynamics of Telugu Films, purchased the overseas theatrical rights of Saaho for a whopping amount of Rs 42 crore. It has released the film in the USA through Yash Raj Films, which is another equally clueless distribution house in the country. YRF made poor planning for its release, which resulted in average advance booking especially for its Hindi and Tamil versions.

The USA has a large number of Telugu population and Telugu versions should have had more screens. But YRF allotted more screens for its Hindi version than Telugu. Considering the average performance of Tamil films, the distributors should have cut down the number of the screens for its Tamil version and allotted them to Telugu version.

In a bid to recover their investments as early as possible, the distributors priced the ticket at $20/$25 for its Hindi and Tamil versions and this strategy backfired big time. The Telugu filmgoers are used to such prices in the USA, but they were too much for many Hindi and Tamil viewers in the country. Hence, these versions registered poor advance booking for its premiere shows of Saaho, while the Telugu version was going great.

Yash Raj Films also failed to make proper arrangements for its screening in some areas in the USA. Hours before its premieres, some fans of Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor criticised the distributors for their poor planning. Here are some of their tweets.

Revanth® @revanthbandari7

Saaho Advance In USA has been average so far! Hindi and Tamil are just Poor only Telugu is good that too not great Why release in Tamil in Overseas ?? #Saaho Instead shld have released in Telugu in More@screens Ticket Prices are normal when compared to other Telugu Biggies

Shaitanya.v @belovedchaitu

What's happening with #Saaho in Nashville, TN , USA ? Booked tickets for today's show at 5.30 PM and now the management says they don't have satellite code to play the movie . This is insane . Fans are frustrated here . @UV_Creations @WeekendCinemaUS @sujeethsign

Giantsfan @GiantsfanA1

#Saaho USA hindi premiers Probably having content delay - #Regal #Commerce & few other #NJ locations removed the Hindi showtimes now .

Manuprabhas @manuprabhaas

#Saaho Most useless planning for #Saaho premier show's in USA by @PharsFilm They don't even know how to organize the show's, in prime time they allocated more Hindi show's than Telugu such a worst planning

Leo @Leo46138207

Please increase telugu screens in USA and limited to tamil screens... @yrf @UV_Creations .. Most of the people are telugu..#SaahoUSA #Saaho