Batla House, Mission Mangal and Saaho to lock horns at the box office

With an increasing number of players exploiting the film-making market, the inevitable locking horns of movies at the box office has become an accepted norm. However, come August 15, three big-budget offering in Akshay Kumar's Mission Mangal, John Abraham's Batla House and Prabhas' Saaho, are set to cash in on the holiday weekend.

"It is suicidal," says trade analyst Amod Mehra without mincing words. He points to the budget of each film when highlighting how detrimental the clash will be for the producers. "Saaho's budget is over R200 crore, and Mission Mangal and Batla House also are made on over R100 crore each. It is economically unhealthy for three big movies to clash." If put to test, he sees a clear winner in Saaho, courtesy the pan-India fan following that leading man Prabhas enjoys.

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John Abraham

"Saaho is an international release and cuts into mainstream Hindi cinema as well. It's a win-win situation for them to release it on August 15. They will make the maximum money via the Tamil and Telugu versions, and overseas. Not only was Prabhas appreciated in Baahubali, but the teaser of Saaho has created buzz." Mehra is certain that despite making official announcements, the makers of Mission Mangal or Batla House will revisit their dates. "Anyway, Akshay is a bigger star than John, so it makes sense that John's movie be moved."

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Trade analyst Taran Adarsh echoes Mehra's opinion when stating that the clash of the big-budget films is not in favour of the industry's economics. "The screens and shows will be reduced drastically. It's a loss for the film industry and doesn't benefit anybody. The audience is not inclined to watching three films over a week, even if it is a big holiday. They will choose the best one, and the other two will suffer. The makers should sit across the table and decide on another release date," he says. While filmmakers have been nonchalant about locking horns with other filmmakers over the years, trade analyst Atul Mohan says the trend has never been fruitful for the industry. "When two big movies clash, we struggle. With three of them coming together, the business will be further divided. Prabhas, John and Akshay have their separate fan-base. We fight for screens and show-time because everyone wants [prime time]."

Prabhas

Batla House distributor Kumar Mangat Pathak says his team doesn't plan to revisit their dates. "We are coming on August 15 — no change. The profit margin may get reduced but if the producer and distributor have decided on the release date, it's fine. One can acquire lots of screens and shows during the Independence Day weekend."mid-day reached out to the distributors of Mission Mangal and Saaho, but they didn't respond till the time of going to press.

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