The wait is finally ending, and the Indian audience will soon be able to see some of their most loved and anticipated films on the silver screen. While Universal Pictures recently announced that F9 would be releasing on August 19, the makers of Bell Bottom would be out on the same day. With the Akshay Kumar starrer is one of the biggest Bollywood films, Fast And Furious 9 is the latest instalment in the F&F franchise.
While this box office clash is one of the biggest to happen in a long, long time, a section of trade analysts and exhibitors are concerned about the clash. While some say one should move their date, others add that a clash is inevitable. Read on to know all they had to say.
As reported by Bollywood Hungama, an exhibitor (on condition of anonymity) said, “Is it the only release week available in the whole year? Are the rest of the Fridays already occupied? Bell Bottom can release a week before or after.” Atul Mohan – a trade analyst – also stated that such a scenario should not arise. He said, “They should avoid the clash. Does the public have the capacity to watch two films in the same week? Do they have time and money to invest in two big films releasing on the same day?”
While that’s what an exhibitor and trade analysis had to say, Vishek Chauhan, a cinema owner in Bihar, said, “The clash is not viable and both films are highly awaited. Bell Bottom is a huge Hindi film starring a superstar. In the larger interest of the trade, one of the films should move. And I think Fast & Furious 9 should do that as it’s a Hollywood film which has already been released. It’s relatively smaller and also it’ll not stand a chance against Akshay Kumar. Although I understand that it’s out on VOD (video on demand) since July 30; maybe they can come on August 13.”
Vishek also noted that it’s still unknown how many cinema halls will be open, and most states are allowing them to run at 50% occupancy. He said, “So with presumably 50% screens opening at 50% occupancy, if you are going to release two big films, the business gets divided and will suffer. This will not do justice to the potential of either Bell Bottom or F9.” Another thing he stated is that the clash is not happening on a big holiday. He remarked, “It’s not like Christmas or Diwali is on August 19. So why is this desperation to bring both the films on that day? Hence, one film should move.”
While the above are in favour of a change, Taran Adarsh has a different point of view. The film critic/trade analyst said clashes are inevitable, and it can’t be avoided it in today’s times. He added, “On one hand, you have Fast & Furious 9, which is a huge brand. And on the other hand, you have Akshay Kumar bringing the first big Hindi film for release when the cinemas reopen. It’s something to look forward to but for me, most importantly; it’s a wait-and-watch situation as to how many people come into cinema halls.” Adding that he doesn’t see Bell Bottom and F9 releasing on the same day as a clash, he stated that the situation could have been worse had one more film joined in the clash.
While this is what trade analysts have to say, an industry insider informed the portal that the pressure seems to be on F9 to move. Adding that pre-poning the film’s release is not feasible as the studio will want a three-week promotional period, the insider added that other Hollywood films are also releasing every week. This source also added that Universal decided to release F9 on August 19 even before Maharashtra and West Bengal had allowed cinemas to open. The insider also said, “Also, we need to understand that the guidelines from the Maharashtra government have not come in. Hence, no one is celebrating yet as there’s a fear that the government might add some clause which would prove unfair to the cinema business.”
The insider, meanwhile, sighed, “I wish Maharashtra and Delhi had opened earlier. Then maybe Fast & Furious 9 would have been scheduled for a release on August 13. Or maybe, Akshay Kumar could have taken the date as Independence Day also falls in the week. Imagine, if clashes are happening right now, what will happen later when normalcy would kick in. So many Hindi and English films are awaiting release. Not just Hindi vs English films but two big Hollywood films or two big Bollywood films would also come on the same day. Clashes ki aadat daalni padegi.”
Which film are you likely to watch in theatres on August 19 – Bell Bottom or F9?