Mirroring The Industry: What does the clash of Radhe, SMJ2, Bell Bottom, Fast and Furious, RRR & Maidaan mean?

Bollywood films set to compete against each other, with Hollywood as also the South Indian film industry in 2021. This is a good news for exhibitors, but a bad one for producer. Pinkvilla debates.
Mirroring The Industry: What does the clash of Radhe, SMJ2, Bell Bottom, Fast and Furious, RRR & Maidaan mean? Mirroring The Industry: What does the clash of Radhe, SMJ2, Bell Bottom, Fast and Furious, RRR & Maidaan mean?
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While the trade had always expected this, in January, Salman Khan “officially” announced that his upcoming action thriller, Radhe, will hit the big screen during the Eid 2021 weekend, thereby becoming the first major star to announce a release date. A couple of weeks later, the makers of John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate 2 as well reinstated their previous announcement confirming an Eid opening, thereby clashing with Radhe. For the next few weeks, the industry went in the silent mode with no announcements what so ever. However, the announcement by Yash Raj Films of their slate of releases has motivated and pushed the entire film industry to come ahead and make their release dates official.

And this in turn, as expected, has resulted in overcrowding at the box-office. Be it clashes between multiple Hindi films, or with the Southern Film industry or well, even the Hollywood biggies, the year going forward will see clashes and short box-office run on a regular basis. Hollywood franchise actioners like Fast and Furious and Mission Impossible will certainly stand tall against the Hindi counter parts, giving them a run for money. Same is the case with the Pan-India film, RRR. The next Bond 007 film too is most likely to clash with a Bollywood biggie in the month of November or December.

Hollywood franchise actioners like Fast and Furious and Mission Impossible will certainly stand tall against the Hindi counter parts, giving them a run for money.
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However, at present, the 12 confirmed clashes include –

  • Mumbai Saga and Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar (March 19)
  • Jayalithaa and Bunty Aur Babli 2 (April 23),
  • Radhe and Satyameva Jayate 2 (Eid),
  • Bell Bottom and Fast and Furious 9 (May 28),
  • 83 and Conjuring 3 (June 4),
  • SherShaah, Major and Top Gun (July 2),
  • Gangubai and Radhe Shyam (July 30)
  • Pushpa and Attack (Independence Day),
  • RRR and Maidaan (Dussehra),
  • Prithviraj and Jersey (Diwali),
  • Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Mission Impossible (November 19),
  • Laal Singh Chaddha and Spiderman 3 (December 17)

With more announcements in the offing, we expect this list to just keep increasing by the day. While this is definitely a great news for cinema owners and distributors, as clashes coupled with constant flow of releases would result in more footfalls. And given the pandemic scenario, the flow of releases would even cultivate the cinema going habit for the audience again, with so much content in the platter. The audience would be spoilt for choice, and in the clash scenario, the better of the two films would sustain with the other one sinking without a trace.

While this is definitely a great news for cinema owners and distributors, as clashes coupled with constant flow of releases would result in more footfalls
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The clash and jam-packed release calendar scenario has also given the exhibition sector an upper hand with respect to negotiations, as every producer and distributor would now want better showcasing, which means, they might have to settle for the terms given in by the exhibitors and cinema associations. The scenario was diametrically different two weeks back, with cinema owners on the backfoot bending on to the demands of producers, however, once YRF settled in for the conventional release terms, minus the VPF, the exhibition sector got the confidence of bouncing back and get their business rolling.

However, this isn’t really good news for producers in particular. While many have held on to their films for a year, adding onto the overhead costs, the clash and jam-packed calendar would result in a rather short run at the box-office. With multiple choices in the offing, the audience would rather watch a product that lives onto the expectations, than trying to visit a substandard product.  Even a good film might not do as well as it would have owing to the competition and no clear window. It’s difficult for any feature film to get a clear window at the box-office this year, given the backlog of releases from 2020 (Bollywood, Hollywood and South) as also the fresh content in the offing. Basically, the week-on-week flow of releases is sure to take a dent of at-least 15% on box-office collection of every single film, and direct clashes can take that percent to almost 35 to 40% for the films. In terms of business, though individual films might not earn 300 or 350 crore, the cumulative box-office collections of Bollywood for 2021 might turn out to be massive, thanks to the constant flow of releases.

While many producers have held on to their films for a year, adding onto the overhead costs, the clash and jam-packed calendar would result in a rather short run at the box-office
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But well, this is just an off year and the release calendar will be back to being neat from 2022, as the producers would have got done with their backlog and the number of films in production would be back to the 2019 levels. The reduction in film count is directly proportionate to the clear window and reduced clashes era. The only feature film this year, which might really get a rather free run is the Rohit Shetty directed, Sooryavanshi, featuring Akshay Kumar in lead, if it eventually makes it to the April 2 slot. While the theatrical terms of release have been settled, the makers now await for the present surge of Covid cases in Maharashtra to take a backseat, before making an official announcement of the release. It’s easily one of the biggest films of 2021, being among the first to arrive, it’s looking to get the advantage of a clear run of at-least 2 weeks, as things stand today. However, the delay in announcement might just result in some other films grabbing the dates of April 9 and April 16, as there are multiple films that are waiting for team Sooryavanshi to make the move and churn out their strategies accordingly.

Also Read| Mirroring The Industry: Is social media the reason why Bollywood hasn’t found a SUPERSTAR post Hrithik Roshan?

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