Promo of Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil, which is touted for 25th January release, is already out. On the other hand Shahrukh Khan’s Raees, which is eyeing the same date, may also see a promo unveiling soon. As things seem today, there won’t be any change in release plans by Excel. While this could well lead to the biggest clash of 2017 right at the onset, industry at large is not really seeing this as a step in the right direction.
“Time and again the example which is given is – ‘Dil and Ghayal clashed too and did very well so it can happen again’. People do not understand though that this was more than 25 years back. Back then films could afford to come together and still do well since there wasn’t a concept of the first weekend actually getting around 40%-50% of the lifetime business. Also, pirated copies were not available to be picked or downloaded in the same evening. Why do we forget that ever since then, countless films have lost money whenever they have clashed with each other,” says an exhibitor.
Another example given is Gadar v/s Lagaan but all said and done, latter did just 50% business of the Sunny Deol starrer.
“Why go so far back in time, just look at the recent Diwali releases Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay,” says a trade expert, “Both films lost money due to the clash. Period. We are looking at the Karan Johar film to fold up under 115 crore. On the other hand Shivaay will just about touch 100 crore. Don’t you think both films would have earned more if not for the clash? 215 crore coming in from two of the biggest films of the year and that too over the Diwali weekend is just not done! Still, we fail to learn our lesson.”
Situation was something similar last year as well when Bajirao Mastani and Dilwale came face to face. Released at the best time of the year, considering the festive season of Christmas followed by New Year celebrations with no other film for competition, it was Bajirao Mastani which galloped ahead at a great pace, though Dilwale lagged behind eventually.
“Bollywood has a potential of fetching 300 crore at the Box Office on a holiday release. We are talking about the best case scenario, looking at the fact that only three films have achieved this feat so far – PK, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan. Let’s say Raees and Kaabil are two of the best films to come out of Bollywood. If they come together, we are looking at best 150 crore for each one of them. Now wouldn’t these films have fetched 20-30 crore more if they would have arrived solo? In fact if any of these two films is not good then we are looking at the business curtailed to 110 crore. That’s not healthy,” the expert adds.
In case of 26th January, what makes it all the more baffling to see a clash in the making is the fact that eventually, it is not really a golden release period.
“You have only one extra holiday, Thursday (26th January), as post that collections would fall on Friday, which is a working day. Then a regular weekend begins. So basically for benefit of one holiday, we are looking at a scenario where two biggies are willing to clash for eight days! Instead, why not arrive solo and reap in all the benefits of at least an entirely open weekend,” rues an insider.
Still, Excel is maintaining its stance to arrive on the same date even though Rakesh Roshan had announced Kaabil first. “Rakesh Roshan would have been open to the idea of moving the date around had he not announced it first. After all, there is 13th and 20th January open too. However, traditionally he doesn’t change his dates after announcing,” says a close associate of the filmmaker, “He tried to explain this to Shahrukh Khan when he met him a few weeks back but situation has been status quo ever since. He hasn’t spoken to the actor again.”
When we tried contacting Rakesh Roshan to hear from him the latest on the clash, all he said was, “Clashes are not good for anyone. If you are not healthy, you go to the doctor and get well. However, when you clash and lose revenue, you lose it forever. You don’t get it back ever!”
With the promo unveiling of Raees being planned soon, one awaits the release date that is eventually announced. Rest assured, if the clash eventually takes place, Bollywood in general would definitely lose a substantial part of moolah that could have potentially come in.