Two of Bollywood's most powerful actors, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, were set to clash at the box-office this July, but a recent turn of events have caused a shift in that narrative.
Late on Tuesday evening, Shah Rukh Khan, along with his producers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment, released an official statement saying they're postponing the release of Raees to next year, as opposed to the July release that was originally planned alongside Salman Khan-starrer Sultan.
Salman Khan in 'Sultan'
“It was not an easy decision to move the film. We understand that this film is highly anticipated. However, a movie of such magnitude requires the appropriate showcasing and therefore, we have decided to shift our release date to 26 January 2017," the statement said.
Could it be Fan's underwhelming performance at the box-office that has led to Excel postponing the release of Raees? As per trade analyst Taran Adarsh, the film saw a massive decline in its second week, slumping by more than 80 per cent. Keeping in mind its big budget, reportedly ₹105 crore, counting print and publicity costs, Fan's box-office figures are far below expectations, considering the film hasn't even managed to cross the coveted ₹100-crore mark domestically.
#Fan decline in biz...— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) April 25, 2016
Weekend 1: ₹ 52.35 cr
Weekend 2: ₹ 7.75 cr
Decline in biz: 85.20%
#Fan declines substantially in Weekend 2. [Week 2] Fri 1.70 cr, Sat 2.65 cr, Sun 3.40 cr. Total: ₹ 79.25 cr. India biz.— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) April 25, 2016
In the past, Khan has never opted out of a box-office clash, and while that has largely worked in his favour, it backfired last year when Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani overtook Rohit Shetty's Dilwale, both of which hit theatres a week before Christmas.
This year, all the major festive slots have already been booked. Karan Johar has a Diwali release planned for his Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-Ranbir Kapoor-Anushka Sharma-starrer Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, a film that is set to clash with Ajay Devgn's Shivaay; Akshay Kumar has locked Independence Day for Rustom, and Aamir Khan has cornered Christmas for Dangal.
This gridlock has likely left Shah Rukh with no other alternative but to lock the first available holiday weekend in 2017, a slot that is already being eyed by a number of other filmmakers, who may now have to rethink their release strategy.
Meanwhile, Salman Khan (probably) be like:
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