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2.0, Manikarnika, Baaghi 2, Avengers — a four-way box office clash on 27 April 2018?

The delay in the release of Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth sci-fi thriller 2.0 is likely to affect the release dates for two other Hindi films and the big Hollywood franchise film, Avengers: Infinity War.

Mayur Lookhar

Twice delayed, Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth’s 2.0 is now slated to be released on 27 April 2018. The said date was earlier locked for two other prominent Hindi films — Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi and Tiger Shroff’s Baaghi 2. Add to this, the big ticket Hollywood film Avengers: Infinity War that is also scheduled to be released on the same day, a week before its US release. This essentially means there will be a scramble for theatre screens.

However, the probability of all four releasing on the same date is next to nil. The question, though, is who will budge and change the release plans.

“I’m pretty sure that there’ll be a maximum of two of these four films releasing that day. As of now, it would be premature to speculate as to the way these films would be released. We will have more clarity around February 2018,” said exhibitor Akshaye Rathi, who reckons that Disney will be flexible with the release date of Avengers: Infinity War.

“There have been enough changes in 2.0 [release date] and let's hope that they come on 27 April. There have been enough instances when big ticket Hollywood films have optimised their business by moving by a week or two to accommodate an Indian film. In 2012, we had The Amazing Spider-Man and Bol Bachchan clashing, but the former had preponed its India release by a week. It was a tricky week for we had other releases too — Jatt and Juliet, and SS Rajamouli film Eega. Sony Pictures had sensibly advanced  the release date of their film. I’m sure the team of Marvel and Disney will be at the drawing table trying to workout a plan B and plan C for Avengers’ release,” added Rathi.

Given that 2.0 features Hindi film star Akshay Kumar and south superstar Rajinikanth, it is probably the other three films that might have to alter their release date. However, an industry source is not convinced that this is how it would pan out.

“No Shankar (2.0 director) film has released without having a release date changed at least 4-5 times. His films are so VFX heavy that you target a certain date and closer to that date you realise that you are not ready.  It was a bizarre decision to have a grand music launch in Dubai and then you delay the release of your film. How do you justify that logically?  Till the day after it releases, I won’t believe for now that it will release on 27 April,” said the source.

The source also wasn’t confident about Ranaut’s Manikarnika making it in time.

“I believe a substantial portion of Manikarnika has been completed. However, I don’t think it will be ready by then. Though they haven’t locked it, I have heard that they are already looking at a release date in May,” the source informed.

Of the four films, it is Shroff’s Baaghi 2 that is least likely to enter into competition. “Baaghi is going to be ready to be released on that date. Mr Sajid Nadiadwala is a very practical person. If 2.0 is coming on 27 April, then Mr Nadiadwala will not struggle to find an alternative release date. It’s highly unlikely that Mr Nadiadwala will get into a fight for screens,” added the source.

The popular buzz is that 2.0 is made at an estimated budget of a whopping Rs400 crore. Ranaut’s Manikarnika, too, is said to be a big budget film and a clash would be suicidal for the two.

Let’s wait and watch how things eventually unfold.