@Greek God With right films he will open. Kabali did open like a storm & so did even Lingaa. Kaala didn't open because of several negative factors and overall the film didn't generate that much pre-release buzz. Before Kaala, he did make some unfavorable comments that also gave negative publicity to his political stand.
2.0 too had enough negative response pre-release. Despite that it collected so much. Petta released too soon. 3 movies in 7 months is not ideal for such a big superstar. And hardly over a month gap between 2.0 & Petta. It was expected to not get the gigantic response but Viswasam taking lead at home was surprising.
Like I said, let Rajini stick to one film a year or one film for 2 years, the buzz could be generated like anything. Too much Rajini hampers that excitement. Afterall he did prepare his audience like that post 1995 where he had two films which took him to all time height in terms of superstardom - Baashha & Muthu. After then, he did limited work,
1997 - Arunachalam [Not a big hit]
1999 - Padyappa [All time Hit]
2002 - Baba [Disaster]
2005 - Chandramukhi [All time Hit. ran for two years.]
2007 - Sivaji The Boss [All time grosser.]
2008 - Kuselan / Kathanayakudu [Disaster - Not main lead. Srk played his role in Billu.]
2010 - Endhiran [All time grosser.]
2014 - Kochadaiiyaan & Lingaa [Disasters]
2016 - Kabali
2018 - Kaala & 2.0 [Nov 29th]
2019 - Petta [10th Jan]