Bollywood filmmakers often vie to release their big-ticket ventures during festive periods in order to maximise returns. So, it wasn’t unusual that the Christmas slot this year was blocked by two biggies — Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani and Imtiaz Ali’s next.
However, according to rumours, the release of both the films has now been moved to 2016. Aamir Khan, whose films have always worked during Christmas, is unlikely to have a release this year, which leaves the ‘coveted’ slot up for grabs.
Although the latest buzz suggests that director Rohit Shetty has already decided to grab the festive weekend for his next, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Varun Dhawan and Kajol, experts also insist that there is "no chance at all " that the festive slot will not see big releases even if the original releases move their dates.
"After Diwali, Christmas is possibly the biggest release period for Hindi films. So, there’s no chance that film-makers would let it go sans any release. It comes with the longest weekend since the holidays extend up to New Year’s Eve celebrations," says trade expert Amod Mehra.
According to industry statistics, usually a festive weekend gives a fillip of almost 30 per cent to a film’s collections. "The Christmas slot will be filled quickly. When over 400 films jostle for a release date in 52 weeks, how can a big weekend go without a big film?" says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi.
While the Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone-starrer is apparently moving since the shooting is far from complete, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika’s next is being moved since Ranbir already has a release in November this year.
"It’s a huge weekend especially keeping overseas markets in mind. Christmas comes with a vacation of 8-10 days abroad. So, a big film starring any big Khan has a clear 10-day to mint money at the box office," adds trade expert Komal Nahta.
OTHER MONEY-MAKER PERIODS
Eid-ul-Fitr: Salman Khan, who has an enviable track record during Eid, will again be seen in his home production, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, during the festive period.
Independence Day: Originally, Shah Rukh Khan’s next was releasing during this period, but a few days back, producer Aditya Chopra offered the slot to friend Karan Johar for his Hindi remake of Hollywood hit, Warrior (2011).
Gandhi Jayanti: Earlier, Johar’s next (the Warrior remake) was set to release during the slot, but now it will occupied by Akshay Kumar’s next production, to be directed by Prabhudheva.
Dussehra: The Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer biopic of Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni is scheduled to hit the theatres on this day.
Diwali: Salman’s upcoming venture with film-maker Sooraj Barjatya is slotted to release during the festival of lights.