Tomorrow, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be playing everywhere in the world with the exception of a handful of markets including China and India. The former is currently in the December blackout period which means Middle Kingdom movies are front and center (Star Wars bows January 9). In India, Friday ushers in not one, but two starry local productions. Understood to be taking a majority of the screens is superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale, a reteam with his Chennai Express helmer Rohit Shetty (see trailer above). The second film is Bajirao Mastani, starring Quantico‘s Priyanka Chopra, SRK’s Chennai and Happy New Year co-star Deepika Padukone, and Ranveer Singh. That’s a lot of Bollywood power at the box office.
Bajirao Mastani is being handled by Eros International. SRK’s own Red Chillies produced Dilwale and Disney-owned UTV is distributing offshore. Both films will see release outside India this frame where Bollywood stars have massive followings. But they’ll have to contend with the Force, and each other.
Dilwale, a romantic musical action comedy, is particularly notable because it puts SRK, arguably the industry’s best-known global hitmaker, into a release period that has been reserved the past few years for Aamir Khan. His PK last year went out on December 19 and became the biggest ever Bollywood movie with over $110M worldwide. The record bested his own milestones set the year before with Dhoom 3 (now the No. 3 B’wd movie ever globally, after being surpassed by Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan this year).
SRK’s Chennai Express, is currently the No. 4 worldwide Bollywood grosser at about $63M. So, Dilwale, on an estimated budget of about $20M, could see the icon best himself. Dilwale also reteams SRK with his My Name Is Khan co-star from 2010, Kajol. This is the 7th time the pair — an audience-favorite onscreen couple — have worked together. While they are expected to dominate within India, they risk losing some market share to the period war/action/romance drama Bajirao Mastani. Nevertheless, expect to see Dilwale and Bajirao on the international charts come Sunday when I’ll report on weekend numbers.
In the meantime, below is the Bajirao Mastani trailer, and a music video for Dilwale that is reportedly the most expensive ever made for a Bollywood movie at $900K.