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Bollywood Business Talk

Clash of the Titans: Who won? Who lost?

By Taran Adarsh, December 21, 2015 - 09:10 IST


The results are out in the open. The grand clash [DILWALE versus BAJIRAO MASTANI] has turned the spotlight on a pertinent reality. Clashing with another biggie can prove to be disadvantageous. Right from the division of screens to the division of shows [multiplexes and single screens, both] to the division of footfalls at cineplexes during the all-important opening weekend, the business calculations can go awry when the business gets divided. In addition, negativity, bitterness and the game of one-upmanship creeps in as the release date draws nearer. The 'fan war' that erupts on social networking sites is another thorny issue, but let's not venture into that zone.

It's often said that two good films can co-exist even if they clash on the same date. There are a number of instances that prove this statement credible. The super-success of BAAHUBALI and BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN earlier this year [released in quick succession, not on the same day] clearly indicates the fact that the audience is willing to dig into their wallets if the content is solid. However, the stakes are very high these days and if the film doesn't perform to its optimum capacity in the opening weekend, the word spreads faster than fire and not just the overenthusiastic media, even the aam aadmi, who's well aware of the day-wise data of films in this day and age, promptly labels the film a fiasco. Either you score in the opening weekend or return to the pavilion, that's the harsh reality.

Talking of DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI, besides the face off, the business of these two biggies also got curtailed thanks to the protests in various cities, which resulted in the cancellation of shows and which in turn meant a loss of a couple of crores to these two films. Also, had DILWALE arrived solo, the numbers would've been much more than what they are right now. Ditto for BAJIRAO MASTANI, which is an expensive film and which faced tough competition from DILWALE not just in India, but also in key international markets. Sanjay Leela Bhansali enjoys tremendous following Overseas, but you cannot ignore the fact that SRK is the Pied Piper as far as the diaspora is concerned.

The silver lining is, the two films are being liked by their target audience. Furthermore, the genres are diverse, hence, in all likelihood, DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI can rake in the moolah and cement their status in days to come. The multiple holidays ahead [Christmas and New Year] and the fact that there's no major Hindi film hitting the marquee till 8 January 2016 should boost the ticket sales of these two mammoth ventures. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, which is generating huge revenues internationally, is scheduled to release next Friday. It will be interesting to see how the epic space film behaves at the Indian box-office and whether or not DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI would face the heat from the new entrant.

Monday is akin to a crucial examination for all films, after the weekend results are out and DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI will have to stand tall from Monday to Wednesday. Thursday evening onwards [24 December], right till Sunday [27 December], the business will again shoot upwards and get a further boost, yet again, from Thursday [31 December] till Sunday [3 January 2016], which clearly indicates that the two films have ample time to garner big numbers till the Amitabh Bachchan - Farhan Akhtar starrer WAZIR arrives in theatres on 8 January 2016.

The all-important question is, do DILWALE and BAJIRAO MASTANI have legs to maintain the momentum for three weeks? With Aamir Khan and Salman Khan gallantly marching into Rs 300 cr Club with PK and BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, respectively [India biz], SRK will have to surpass his biggest grosser so far CHENNAI EXPRESS [approx Rs 228 cr; India biz] and speed past Rs 300 cr mark to compete with his contemporaries. On the other hand, BAJIRAO MASTANI has a colossal budget and its investors, who must be on Cloud Nine after the incredible critical acclaim that the well-made historical has garnered, will now be hoping that it rakes in huge profits at the box-office too.

The decisive phase has commenced. Let's wait and watch which film reaches the winning post first. Or will both emerge champions?

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