The rivalry between Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn just got hotter! While Devgn has been screaming himself hoarse saying he is in not in a mood to counter anybody (read Yash Chopra’s film) if they try to curb the number of screens for showing his film Son Of Sardar, there’s not much he can do about it. And now the actor is apparently doing a serious re-think about pre-poning or postponing the film’s release as he doesn’t have much choice.
Apparently, Yash Chopra’s untitled next, starring Devgn’s arch rival, Shah Rukh Khan, will now be releasing on Diwali with maximum number of screens according to a three-film release deal tie-up that the production house, Yash Chopra Films has done with the leading distributors of the country. This leaves Devgn no option but to release his film either before or after Yash Chopra’s film. The production house’s strategy of pre-booking maximum screens in theatres across the country has worked.
Says a trade source, “Whatever Aditya Chopra does, he does it with conviction, which includes tying up the loose ends. Initially Ajay wasn’t bothered about releasing SOS along with Yash Chopra’s film as he felt the exhibitors were sensible enough to decide which film to release and where as they can’t let their business suffer. But what Ajay didn’t know then was that Aditya Chopra and his marketing team in a smart move had already done the needful to ensure the maximum release of Yash Chopra’s film on Diwali.
In a strategic move the distributors were told they would be given Ek Tha Tiger (super hot even before its release) and Dhoom 3 (starring Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif, Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra) only if they booked maximum number of screens for the YR film (SRK-Katrina-Anushka Sharma). The distributors knowing they would be getting huge business agreed immediately. A SOS wasn’t as important to them as an Aamir Khan or a Salman Khan film which would ensure more than 100 crore business (ETT has already done over 160 crores till now).”
According to the trade source, “While many people close to Ajay had advised him not to release SOS on Diwali along with Yash Chopra’s film, he had been adamant right from day one that nothing could make him budge. But now he’s apparently he has no choice but to postpone or pre-pone the release date of SOS as getting limited number of screens will hamper the box office business of SOS. Ajay wants the film to do more than 100 crore at the BO but it’s not possible with the few screens that will be available. He has no choice but to bow down to the dictates of YRF. Right now Ajay is figuring out which dates would be workable for SOS’s release post or before Diwali ensuring maximum audience.”
When quizzed about three-film deal tie-up with the distributors, Rafiq Gangjee from Yash Raj Films, doesn’t deny it. He says, “Yash Chopra’s next film, releasing this Diwali, is one of the most eagerly awaited film, given that he is directing a movie after a gap of eight years, with a fresh pairing of SRK and Katrina along with Anushka. Added to this, is the music of A. R. Rahman and the lyrics of Gulzar. With all of this, most exhibitors, who have shared a tremendous rapport with the banner and our own distribution network for over 40 years, are more than willing to showcase Yashji’s film without reservations. While we are looking at an extensive release worldwide, it is much too early to put a number to the anticipated screens. This only gets finalised much closer to the movie release date.”
Is YRF aware that Ajay Devgn whose film also releases on the same day (November 13) is planning to postpone his release as he’s not getting the number of screens he wants for his film Son Of Sardar because Mr. Chopra’s film has got maximum screens? “No we are not aware of any release date changes for any reason.”Aditya Chopra Ajay Devgn Shah Rukh Khan Son Of Sardar Yash Chopra