Dilwale or Bajirao Mastani: Who will win the box office battle on Friday?

It will be different battle for onscreen Bajirao as he takes on the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan on December 18 at the box-office. While SRK has always had an upper hand over his opponents at the box-office, it remains to be seen if history will repeat itself again or be rewritten for the first time ever by Bajirao Mastani. We analyse:

Bajirao has taken over single screen theatres:

Screen numbers will matter for the first three days. More the number of screens, greater will be the footfalls and larger the box-office collections. Buzz is Eros has booked a majority of single screen theatres across the country as part of a deal inked while distributing Salman Khan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ during Eid this year. Veteran distributor Ramesh Sippy agrees, “For the moment, the balance is titled slightly in favour of ‘Bajirao Mastani’ since they have single screens with them.”

Multiplex profit greater than single screens: The contribution of single screen profits may not exactly outnumber multiplexes and with ‘Dilwale’ set to open in a big way in multiplexes especially in PVR which is also distributing the film, business will be divided. Explains distributor Anil Thadani, “Today the business of multiplexes are superior as compared to single screen theatres. They may have signed single screens but there are other cinemas in the circuit. The single screen agreement stays true only in the cities where there is a monopoly. However, in the interiors like Akola, Solapur or Lucknow, there are screens available to screen Dilwale as not everything has been signed up.”

PVR as distributors of Dilwale may not make a huge dent: Call it Shah Rukh Khan’s masterstroke of getting PVR cinemas to distribute Dilwale. However, experts feel it won’t matter much because, as exhibitors PVR will have to screen both films (Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani). When we had quizzed PVR boss Ajay Bijli, the multiplex owner agreed that both Bajirao as well as Dilwale are big films for them indicating that there wouldn’t be much difference in the screen space sharing. “It won’t make much difference because if there are 12 shows of Dilwale there will be atleast eight of Bajirao (Mastani),” said Sippy. Agrees Thadani, “PVR is a multiplex holder and as an exhibitor, you will have to support all films. They will have to accommodate both films.” Overseas SRK is the king: There is no denying that SRK has a large fan base outside India particularly in the Gulf countries as well as in Pakistan. Infact, the actor had – through a televised message – requested his Pakistani fans to support his movie. His Dubai leg of promotions whipped up a desert storm. There would be no denying that fans will flock in first to watch Dilwale.