Both films released in close to 3,000 screens each in India, in a pre-Christmas face-off. Dilwale took a massive opening over Bajirao on the release day, but the latter has managed to sustain better after the release weekend. Suniel Wadhwa, independent distributor and box-office analyst, says, “Bajirao Mastani’s domestic national box office collection was Rs 84 crore, with solid weekdays showing a drop of 15 per cent compared to weekend box office. Dilwale saw a drop of 36 per cent compared to the weekend numbers.”
Trade pundits say Bhansali’s film will fetch close to Rs 180 crore at the domestic box office, while Dilwale is expected to touch the Rs 160-crore mark. Bajirao collected Rs 30 crore abroad in the first weekend, almost half of Dilwale’s collection of Rs 57 crore. Box-office analysts expect Dilwale to continue to do better abroad. The Shah Rukh Khan-starrer has also fetched better revenues from sale of satellite rights, music rights, and in-film branding.
Eros, co-producer and distributor for Bajirao, has sold the satellite rights to the film for an estimated Rs 35 crore. Dilwale’s satellite rights have fetched Red Chillies Entertainments Rs 60 crore, according to box-office analyst Wadhwa.
Another distributor reveals that while the studios may milk a profit, thanks to ancillary revenue streams, the distributors and sub-distributors are looking at losses. “In some territories, the movies are pre-sold. This means the distributor for that region buys the film from the producers and goes about distributing it. In other words, the producer/studio is absolved of the risk, while the territory distributor in question carries the entire risk. As we can see from the weekday collections of Dilwale especially, it may not have been a great deal for the medium to small distributors, and while the producers may make their buck, these people will end up losing money,” he says. Both movies will face competition on the premium screens with the release of Star Wars – The Force Awakens on Friday (Christmas).
While the clientele for the movies may be different, it would mean the reduction of at least one to two screens per multiplex, which will impact footfalls for the two Bollywood movies.