Its common knowledge by now that come December 18, we will witness a clash on the big screen with the Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon starrer Dilwale going head on with the Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone-Priyanka Chopra starrer Bajirao Mastani. However, while most have been claiming that both films, featuring big names will fare well at the box office, we wonder whether releasing Bajirao Mastani a week later would have earned the makers that extra moolah?
Though the postponement in the release of Bajorao Mastani would mean clashing with yet another giant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens; we list down a few points why this one-week delay would have just worked better for its makers.
Lesser competition: First of all, it's the obvious reason of facing relatively lesser competition from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SWTFA) especially considering the fact that while the film does enjoy a massive fan following overseas, within India, there are just a handful of diehard fans who are anxiously awaiting its release. On the other hand, when compared to Dilwale, the film that features one of the biggest names in Indian cinema: Shah Rukh Khan, whose fan following is quite literally second to none. In essence, translating to a lion's share audience opting to watch Dilwale over Bajirao Mastani, for the simple reason of reminiscing the Jodi of SRK and Kajol from the days gone by.
Limited wallet share of audience: Another simple reason why both the films (Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani) would fare better is the limited wallet share of the audience films enjoy. In fact, in today's day and age, where watching a film with your family could easily amount to Rs. 1000/- per person on a weekend, in any metro/ multiplex, the audience is hard pressed to shell out that extra buck, thus resulting in a conscious decision being made on which film to watch. Now, faced with the options of either watching Shah Rukh Khan who has consistently delivered hits or watching Ranveer and Deepika paly out their love story on the big screen, we guess it will be the SRK starrer Dilwale that promises to be a complete family entertainer that would garner a major chunk the audience wallets.
On the other hand, releasing Bajirao Mastani a week later, would ensure the film a better collection considering that major portions of the audience has already watched Dilwale and are ready for their next Bollywood outing. Here, SWTFA would stand little to no chance since most people within the India market are hardly aware of the previous films in the Star Wars' franchise.
Festive weekend: Film producers are always looking for that festive, extended weekend around which they can time the release of their films so as to maximize footfalls in theatres and ensure better collections. By selecting a date prior to a festive, more often than not, we have seen films post decent yet lower collection figures in the past. For example, a Salman Khan film that releases on or after Eid fares better at the box office to one that releases before the festival.
In the case of Bajirao Mastani, pushing the release date to December 25 would have ensured that the film enjoys an extended holiday weekend, coupled with a more or less uninterrupted run till New Year, maximizing not just the collections but also the film's longevity in screens.
Better screen count: Another factor that would have benefitted Bajirao Mastani would be the number of screens the makers would eventually be able to acquire. Let's take for example: A total of 9000 screens across India, from which after deducting those that will be serving regional releases we are left will approximately 6500 screens, from these Dilwale that essentially features bigger names would obviously retain approx. 4000 screens (a comparatively lower number when compared to SRK's earlier release Happy New Year that seen a release across 5000+ screens) leaving the remaining 2500 screens for Bajirao Mastani.
However, releasing Bajirao Mastani a week later would have entailed Dilwale that has enjoyed a week's uninterrupted run, downsizing on total number of screens giving Bajirao Mastani a chance to acquire a better screen count and eventually better collections.
Territorial related content: Last, but, by far not the least, is the film's content. When today, we see films with good content working at the box office and those with a lack of the same being dissed, Bajirao Mastani, that more or less deals with the life of a Maratha warrior seems restricted as compared to Dilwale that caters to a wider audience base. In fact, while Bajirao Mastani will in most likelihood appeal to those residing in or belonging to a specific territorial zone, Dilwale that isn't based on any one community or individual enjoys a wider target audience base. In this case, releasing Bajirao Mastani a week later would have ensured that despite the rather focused content, the film is bound to fare better as compared to SWTFA that enjoys an even smaller core target audience.
All in all, while opting for a release date may just about make or break a film, we definitely can't wait to witness the clash of the two biggies on the big screen.