This December will witness multiple ‘Clash of the Titans’ at the domestic box office. Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal will be locking horns with Vicky Kaushal’s Sam Bahadur on December 1. Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi’s Merry Christmas is all set to clash with Sidharth Malhotra’s Yodha on December 8. And, in what is being touted as one of the biggest clashes ever, Shah Rukh Khan’s Dunki and Prabhas’ Salaar will hit the big screens on December 22.
While the audience is excited to see which star’s film rakes in the biggest moolah, it seems like friendships within showbiz have turned sour due to the clashes. Earlier this year, Karan Johar seemed upset with Merry Christmas releasing on the same date as his film Yodha – December 15. He penned a cryptic note expressing his displeasure that stated, “Clashing on a date without the courtesy of a phone call is hopefully not the way forward for the studios and producers… If we don’t stand united in these tough and challenging theatrical days then calling us a fraternity is futile.” But minutes after trade analyst Taran Adarsh revealed that the release date of Merry Christmas has been preponed to December 8, Johar shared a post stating that Yodha would also release on the same day.
With stakes too high and the fear that the gross revenues of all these biggies will be negatively impacted due to their shared release dates and little breathing space, film trade gurus exclusively tell News18 Showsha that these clashes aren’t ‘a good idea at all’ and should be averted at all costs.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan explains what might ensue and points out, “This won’t be in the favour of the industry. Films tend to eat up the business of each other’s competitors by 25-30 percent. I don’t know why the makers are in such a hurry to release their films in an environment where their films are clashing.”
Dishing out a solution, he adds, “They could have spaced out the releases. There are open windows in January and February next year. All the big-ticket films should come together and plan their releases accordingly so that each one of them can perform to the best of their potential.”
Producer and film business expert Girish Johar feels that these clashes are not fair for the movie-going audience. Shedding light on the same, he opines, “We’ve seen in the past that big films releasing on the same holiday weekend have been able to survive, more or less, but unnecessary clashes benefit no one. All the films coming in December are expensive productions. At the end of the day, the disposable income in the hands of the audience are limited. At the most, they can watch two films.”
Speaking about how that can relegate other films to the background, he further continues, “But if there so many releases, it will be difficult for them. An audience may be ready to watch an average film in theatres but because of so many options available, they’ll fall out of line. If they depend on word-of-mouth, two out of three films will fade out.”
Adarsh is particularly worried about Dunki and Salaar locking horns with one another. “We’ve seen clashes happening in the past also. But the thing is Dunki vs Salaar are two giant, event films and they’re definitely going to cut into each other’s business. Shah Rukh Khan is the biggest star today after Pathaan and Jawan. Prabhas has a huge fan following in south but we can’t undermine Shah Rukh Khan in south today. Even overseas, he’s leading by leaps and bounds.”
Talking about how this clash may impact the pre-release buzz of both the films, he goes on to elaborate, “Before the release, there will be a lot of negativity among fans. Both the fan groups will be fighting with each other. Few days before the release, distributors will be hassled with the shows and the screens of both the films. Salaar and Dunki will both demand for bigger a chunk of the pie. For the industry, it’s not a healthy sign. But since we live in a democracy, we can’t say anything.”
For Johar, not only the clash but also the limited window between multiple big-budget bonanzas will come in the way of clean hits. “For two films that have the potential to earn about Rs 700 crores, releasing them together isn’t the right thing. If Dunki and Salaar released on separate days, they would have been able to extract the maximum juice out of their revenues. For two biggies – whose markets are the same – to release on the same day will slash each other’s business by 10-15%. It’s not going be a happy clash. It could have been avoided,” he says, resonating with Adarsh.
Mohan however has a slightly different concern. He believes that all the films releasing in December ‘look very promising and have the potential to make money at the box office’ and that’s exactly why it wouldn’t be fair to have a competitor coming at them even before they get the chance to recover their budgets completely.
“You never know which one will appeal to the audience and which one won’t. But clashes shouldn’t happen especially at a time when normalcy has just resumed and people are coming back to the cinemas in good numbers. We’ve seen how most films have fared well in recent times. Three films, so far, have touched Rs 500 crore mark. That’s why makers should space out each film,” he tells us.