Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom faces Superstar's Kaala at the box office
For the first time ever an international biggie clashes with Superstar's film at the box office. Kaala was initially scheduled to release on April 27
In the recent past, no hero has dared to take on a Rajinikanth film. This time too, no hero is. Dinosaurs are. Universal Pictures' Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has somehow managed to cross paths with Rajini and Ranjith’s eagerly awaited film, which was earlier scheduled to hit the screens on April 27, but got moved to June 7 due to the Kollywood strike. The latest instalment in the Jurassic World franchise was originally meant for a 22 June release but was advanced to June 7. Both films are getting released in multiple languages.
The buzz around Kaala has been rather muted, with the producers choosing to keep promotions low-key. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, on the other hand, is riding on the rich legacy of its franchise. The last sequel, Jurassic World (2015), ranked among the top five all-time Hollywood hits in India.
In terms of screen count, the two films are pretty much even. While Kaala has bagged around 2,300 screens in India, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will play in about 2,000 screens. However, the situation is different in Tamil Nadu, with Fallen Kingdom getting a release only in 150-200 screens in comparison to Kaala, which will be screened in over 500 screens. While the occupancy in advance bookings was about 90 percent for Kaala, it was just over 45 percent for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Still, could the latter pose a significant threat to Rajini's film? We asked theatre owners across Chennai.
Rakesh, owner of Vetri Theatres, is confident that there won't be any negative impact as he feels the target audience of the two films are quite different. He also feels that this clash is less significant than the one avoided: Between Avengers: Infinity War and Kaala would have been. "If Kaala had been released on April 27 (the day Infinity War was released), the revenue of both films would have been really affected," he says, adding that Jurassic World's release alongside Kaala could actually be a blessing in disguise for theatre owners. "We can't be screening the same film on all our screens, especially after the opening weekend. And in the unfortunate case of Kaala not managing to get a positive word of mouth, a big film like Jurassic World will serve as a good back-up." If anything, Rakesh feels that it is Jurassic World that might take a toll in terms of revenue, as none of the single screens will be willing to show the film.
Nikhilesh Surya, the owner of Rohini Cinemas, says that the clash is over-hyped, as Jurassic World is no match for Kaala, at least in Tamil Nadu. "The masses will definitely prefer Kaala over Jurassic World." He feels the dinosaur film, at least in its dubbed versions, would have fared better if it had released a week earlier or later. "The bookings for Jurassic World are only 30 to 40 percent of what we expected. The multiplexes will not allot major screens to the film. We are playing the film on our smallest screen and it will remain the same at least for the first four days."
SPI cinemas is however optimistic about the fate of both films. "A Rajnikanth film is a festival, whereas Jurassic Park is a huge part of our childhood. And there are a fair number of non-Tamil speaking audiences, who would prefer to watch Jurassic World, at least until subtitles are made available for Kaala. We think both films will do well," a spokesperson said.