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SRK's 'Raees' vs Salman's 'Sultan': To clash or not to clash?

The exhibitors and trade analysts are anxious about the mega clash between two Khan starrers...

Last year, two big films— Shah Rukh Khan starrer 'Dilwale' and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 'Bajirao Mastani' clashed at the box office and it affected the collection of both films. Trade analysts believe that if makers of the two films had avoided coming together, the films would have performed way better.

Also read: An ego battle? 'Dilwale' vs 'Bajirao Mastani' clash gets dirty

A still from Raees
A still from 'Raees'

This year, Shah Rukh Khan’s 'Raees' is all set to clash with Salman Khan’s 'Sultan' on Eid. Recently it was reported that SRK has said that it would only be logical to shift Raees’s release date and avoid clashing with Sultan. (Read more)

A still from Sultan
A still from 'Sultan'

Struggle for screens
The trade believes that both films — 'Raees and Sultan', if released on same date, will not get enough number of screens. Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of PVR says, “The demand for Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan films is so high that if both of them release together, Indian exhibitors will not be able to give adequate space to them. The demand will be higher than the supply. It will also be extremely difficult for the makers of the two films to get as many number of screens as they would have desired. Also, from the business perspective, it would be beneficial for cinema owners if both films release in different weeks.”

Gianchandani also states that it won’t be a tough task for either of the films to shift dates. “For a Salman or a Shah Rukh starrer, choosing another Friday won’t be a problem as irrespective of holidays, people do catch up on their films.”

Upper hand for 'Sultan'
A Maharashtra based screen exhibitor, on the condition of anonymity, asserts that the Salman Khan starrer will perform better if a clash is to happen. “Yash Raj Films which is distributing Sultan will ensure that they get maximum number of shows. They have a strong standing in the Indian film circle. Also, exhibitors are still unaware as to who will distribute Raees,” he says.

 Another film exhibitor-distributor also explains that YRF has already started pitching deals to get maximum number of screens for the Salman-starrer. “While getting screens and shows for Fan, which is also produced by YRF, they (the makers) have started pitching deals in a way that Sultan also gets maximum screens and shows during Eid. In the coming days, there will be a lot of pressure on exhibitors from distributors of both films as far as allotting number of screens is concerned. But, if a clash happens, Shah Rukh’s film, might lose the battle as Salman’s film will eventually get more number of screens and shows,” he elaborates.

Akshaye Rathi, a film exhibitor, too believes it is logical to avoid releasing their film together. He says, “Both the film stars are the biggest names of the industry and it will only become difficult for them to get enough audience in limited number of screens and shows.”

Single screens vs multiplexes
It is also said that during the clash, Shah Rukh Khan will rule the multiplexes while Salman will be the single screen star. Arun Mehra, a single screen exhibitor in Bengal, says, “Shah Rukh has a strong multiplex audience base and Salman, although has started attracting multiplex audience with his last few releases, is still known as the king of single screens. In a clash situation, Salman’s film will do well in single screens and Shah Rukh’s film perform better in multiplexes. It would be better that if the films don’t release together so that both films perform better.”

Fight till the last moment
Exhibitors are also expecting a fight for screens and shows between the makers of both the films if a clash is not avoided. “The negotiations to allot X number of screens to both the films will take a lot of time. It will go on till the last day before the release of the film. So such uncertainty should be avoided. Both the films are highly anticipated and will do well even if the release dates are changed,” says CEO and Director of Carnival Cinemas, Mr P.V. Sunil.

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