Trade gurus weigh up the side effects of a Shah Rukh Khan's 'Raees' clashing with Hrithik Roshan's 'Kaabil' at the box office in January 2017
The much dreaded clash of the Khans — Salman Khan's 'Sultan' versus Shah Rukh Khan's 'Raees' — at the box office this Eid may have been averted, but the relief among exhibitors and distributors was short-lived. With the release date of SRK's film being moved to January 26, 2017, it will now collide with Hrithik Roshan-starrer 'Kaabil'. Trade folk can, however, take heart from the fact that it won't be a three cornered contest as feared earlier — Ajay Devgn has apparently pushed back 'Baadshaho' by a few weeks.
Shah Rukh Khan
So, now, in the SRK-Hrithik battle, who has a better chance of dominating the BO? Trade experts feel it's too early to jump to conclusions. "Both films have big names and their respective makers will try to bag more screens and shows than the other, but they will eventually affect each other's collections. They might get a fair number of screens and shows in multiplexes, but they will eat into each other's business in single screen theatres," says trade pundit Taran Adarsh.
Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi believes content will determine the films' fate at the ticket counters. "In today's time, the audience prefers content over stars. No one expected Bajirao Mastani to be such a massive hit when it released alongside Shah Rukh's 'Dilwale' last December. So, until the promos of the film are out, it cannot be said which film will fare better. Producers of both films will ensure extensive promotion too," he adds.
Trade analyst Komal Nahta believes the pre-release buzz will be crucial in projecting a film's opening business. "Only when the trailers, songs and promos of both films are released, can we sense which film may become the audience's first choice. Nothing can be predicted now. The better movie will eventually garner a bigger response at the box office," says Nahta.