When bhai goes missing in action, will Eid box office be the same?

The three Khans of the film industry had divided release dates among themselves: Shah Rukh got Diwali, Salman got Eid, and Aamir got Christmas (AP/Reliance Group)
The three Khans of the film industry had divided release dates among themselves: Shah Rukh got Diwali, Salman got Eid, and Aamir got Christmas (AP/Reliance Group)


  • The lack of a blockbuster release is likely to keep box office collections muter

NEW DELHI : The Eid weekend is here, but there’s no Salman Khan. The absence of this tried-and-tested combo, plus a general fall in audience flow into theatres after covid, have subdued the chances of a blockbuster Eid weekend for both moviegoers and the industry this year.

Over the years, Eid weekends have seen several Khan blockbusters such as Sultan (2016), Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), Kick (2014), Ek Tha Tiger (2012) and Bodyguard (2011) that made 20-30 crore on their respective opening days when released pre-covid.

Comparatively, the two movies slated for Eid release in 2024, action movie Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and sports drama Maidaan, are together expected to make 25-30 crore on day one.

Independent exhibitor Vishek Chauhan expects both movies to struggle to make a mark even though they are thematically different. “There isn’t a real clash between the two films because they belong to completely different genres and sensibilities, and should make for good counterprogramming to each other. That said, both should make for a tough sell this Eid."

While the two films target different demographics—Bade Miyan Chote Miyan is an action drama about two soldiers teaming up to counter anti-national forces, and Maidaan is a sports biography of legendary football coach Syed Abdul Rahim alias Rahim Saab—neither has been able to generate adequate buzz even for what is seen as a hugely lucrative period for film business.

Maidaan seems poised to cater to upmarket, multiplex audiences, but drama as a genre hasn’t found much draw in cinemas post-covid and has largely moved to OTT, trade experts point out.

On the other hand, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’s lead stars Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff have had a poor run lately, with disasters such as Mission Raniganj, Selfiee, Ram Setu, Raksha Bandhan, Ganapath and Heropanti 2 between the two of them. Plus, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan is different from the 1998 hit comedy, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda, which it is supposed to be a reboot of; the 2024 version is neither a comedy nor does it boast a hit soundtrack.

According to Devang Sampat, managing director, Cinepolis India, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan is likely to attract a larger mass audience, especially in non-metro areas, while Maidaan may resonate more with the urban audience. “Anticipated advances for both films should reflect this, with Bade Miyan Chote Miyan leading in non-metro regions and Maidaan potentially having stronger advances in metro areas," he said.

On the other hand, Ashish Saksena, chief operating office, cinemas, BookMyShow, said both films are expected to generate buzz across major metropolitan cities, particularly Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, where audiences eagerly anticipate new releases, especially during festive weekends.

The footfalls in non-metro markets will increase after release and north India is likely to see larger viewership for both movies compared to the south market, with the north traditionally exhibiting stronger box office numbers for Hindi films, Saksena added.

Another factor working against a big Eid weekend is that the theatre-going experience has taken a hit since the pandemic, and viewers do not troop in unless content on offer is truly compelling. Sometimes, even that isn't enough.

Independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said there has been a 20-30% drop in box office collections post-covid, and festive weekends cannot be compared to those four or five years ago since audiences have moved on to other platforms and have too much content to choose from. “People are saturated with content and, regardless of big star or content-driven films, there is no sense of exclusivity since everything will be available at home," Pillai explained.

That said, some industry experts remain hopeful given that there is no competition from international languages and a long festive weekend is on the cards.

“Ample screens are available to accommodate them, and past clashes between big films have shown that they usually receive the desired showcasing despite competition," said Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, executive director, PVR INOX Ltd. “Moreover, there are no major Hollywood or regional releases competing with them. Holiday weekends typically yield strong box office numbers, and Eid weekends historically witness robust business. However, the success of any film ultimately hinges on content quality."

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