There are rumours that around the Christmas season, Shah Rukh Khan’s Dunki and Prabhas’ Salaar will compete at the box office.
The fraternity is divided on the possibility of a battle of the beasts at the box office over the Christmas holiday, with Prabhas’ Salaar and Shah Rukh Khan’s Dunki anticipated to square off.
Trade insiders have stated that Salaar Part 1: Ceasefire, directed by KGF hitmaker Prashanth Neel, will be released on December 22, which was originally set aside for Rajkumar Hirani’s Dunki. An official announcement is still needed.
With Pathaan, Gadar 2, OMG 2, and Jawan, Hindi films have had a terrific year, breaking the pandemic crisis-induced slump on the big screen. Because the two films are from different genres, some people are convinced that the collision won’t have much of an influence, but others believe it will have an effect on business.
Many believe that there is no reason to take the risk and expose oneself to losses at a time when the industry has finally begun to stand on its own. Conflicts aren’t always beneficial when it comes to major launches, says trade expert Taran Adarsh, because there is a lot at stake. There are significant stars in these projects. If Salaar creators do forward with this fight, it will worry the distribution community and exhibitors, further separating the audience and screens. Both sides would be engaged in a challenging competition for the best exposure, which has a tinge of negativity.
With the sequel to the superhero movie Aquaman also coming out at the same time, there is a three-way conflict. Project K, starring Prabhas, will debut in January of 2019. Two Prabhas films cannot be released back-to-back in a four-week period. In addition, it is not permitted to arrive on that day due to Salaar’s economic conditions. It won’t be an easy journey for Salaar, according to industry veteran and producer Girish Johar. “You can’t be a film with a huge budget and be the third option in the critical market. If they are released simultaneously, both films will have a minimum 20% drop in box office receipts. The possibility will be affected. To prevent a conflict, it makes sense to do so.
High ticket prices are another factor supporting the calls to prevent the conflict, with industry experts stating that “families won’t watch two films in a week. Their monthly budget will suffer greatly as a result.
Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi explains the difficulty faced by exhibitors by pointing out that a conflict reduces each project’s earnings by at least 100 crore. “They deserve the broadest release across the country, which will not happen if they clash,” he argues. It will come down to choose one over the other for single screens, which are more common in the south. We don’t want the conflict to end Bollywood’s winning streak or jeopardise Prashanth Neel’s successful career.
The CEO of Cinepolis, Devang Sampat, believes that having more than two major blockbusters release on the same day will result in some cannibalization. “India is a country that is largely under-screened, and having three mega-blockbusters will eat into each other’s pie, increasing the potential to hamper the good box office business report card thus far,” he says.
BOLLYWOOD CAN’T BE STOPPED
Given Shah Rukh Khan’s success thus far in 2023, many people are optimistic that Dunki will be able to dispel the excitement around Salaar. Shah Rukh Khan will be the first choice of the exhibitors, according to industry expert Atul Mohan. This is mainly because Prabhas has a poor track record and has delivered back-to-back duds with Radhe Shyam and Adipurush. Nobody at the show will choose Salaar over Dunki. After Jawan, Shah Rukh developed a new fan base in the south, which will benefit Dunki even more. Additionally, SRK announced the release date first, so it would be unfair to ask him to push, claims Mohan.
PRABHAS IS EXPECTING TO REBOUND
Contrary to SRK’s two straight hits, Prabhas is waiting for the chance to bounce back following the failure of Adipurush, which is why many are certain that Salaar shouldn’t be delayed.
Ramesh Bala, a trade specialist, claims that Prabhas would benefit from the genre and has nothing to be afraid of. Dunki is anticipated to be a sentimental drama with social commentary, whereas Salaar is a pure action movie from the KGF universe. With the large producers and the support of the entire South, Prabhas has the advantage. Dunki may not be successful in the south market, he speculates.
An imitation of 2018?
The production company has previously released its action flick concurrently with a Shah Rukh Khan movie. They released KGF part 1 and Zero at the same time back in 2018. The movie KGF, starring Yash, took first place at the time’s box office, grossing over 204 crore in the domestic market. Zero by Aanand L. Rai ended up being a dud.