Rajinikanth vs T-Rex on 8 June — Will Kaala, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom eat into each other's business?

Devansh Sharma

May 07, 2018 16:37:47 IST

If it came down to a good ol' fight between Rajinikanth and a T-Rex, Thalaiva may pull off a convincing win. But only in a Rajinikanth movie. Things work a little differently in reality.

This June will see two box office behemoths lock horns at the box office. A couple of weeks ago, Dhanush announced that his father-in-law Rajinikanth-starrer gangster flick Kaala will release on 7 June. It was originally scheduled to release on 27 April but was pushed owing to the Tamil Nadu theatre strike. It was then speculated to release on 15 June and clash with Salman Khan's Race 3 on Eid, but the makers wisely pulled it a week ahead to 7 June.

Rajinikanth vs T-Rex on 8 June — Will Kaala, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom eat into each others business?

Rajinikanth in a still from Kaala

However, as per Universal Pictures' announcement on Monday, Rajinikanth has another devil, or dozens of them, to worry about. JA Bayona's monster film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which was slated to release worldwide on 22 June, will now release in India two weeks earlier on 8 June, merely a day after Kaala.

While it does not spell doom for either films, as both have substantial fan bases that may not overlap, the clash is sure to affect the ambitious plans of both the potential blockbusters. Kaala, though originally made in Tamil, has also been dubbed in Hindi and Telugu. The trend of releasing in these three languages picked up pace after the record-shattering box office success of SS Rajamouli's war epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.

Clearly, the makers of the Rajinikanth-starrer do not want it to be only a Tamil Nadu affair. For the same purpose, they have roped in Bollywood faces like Nana Patekar, Anjali Patil and Huma Qureshi in key roles. In fact, Rajinikanth's films have done tremendous business overseas, particularly in North America, Japan and Malaysia. It also enjoys commendable pre-release buzz as its satellite rights have been sold reportedly for Rs 75 lakhs.

But on the other side of the squared circle is a franchise film. Rajinikanth would know that a franchise film enjoys an edge over a standalone film given the goodwill of its predecessor (The Tamil superstar's much-anticipated 2.0, the sequel of his 2010 blockbuster Enthiraan, screams the power of a franchise film).

Add to that, the legacy and popularity of the Jurassic franchise in India. Steven Speilberg's Jurassic Park released in 1994 and not only opened Indian economy to Hollywood offerings but also the hitherto closed doors of Indian audiences to the immersive world of fantasy fiction.

As Karishma Upadhyay writes in a Firstpost article, "It was believed that Hollywood appealed to a very niche movie-going audience in India but that scenario changed significantly on 15 April 1994 when Steven Speilberg’s Jurassic Park roared into life in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. This was the first time the Indian audience experienced a mega budget, computer-generated Hollywood marvel in a local language. And that contributed to the film’s remarkable 25-week run at the box office. In the 24 years since, Hollywood has gone local with a vengeance."

Given that it is Jurassic Park's 25th anniversary this year, accompanied by the fact that Jeff Goldblum will reprise his much-loved role of Dr Ian Malcolm, will only ensure that fans of the franchise flock to the theatres. Jurassic films' impact extends to other recreational platforms too, as dinosaur tourism is huge in India. Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park in Gandhinagar, Gujarat has come to be known as the 'Jurassic Park of India'.

A still from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. YouTube

A still from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The reboot of Jurassic Park, Jurassic World that released in 2015, is a testimony to the fact that the dinosaur film, unlike the dinosaurs themselves, have stood the test of time. It earned Rs 147 crore in India and ranks among the top five Hollywood films in India.

Avengers: Infinity War, which recently raced past Jurassic World at the Indian box office, has refused to slow down. It recorded the biggest opening of the year, next only to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's period drama Padmaavat (that released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu). Thus, Indian makers are now wary of releasing their films around the same time that a Hollywood summer blockbuster like Deadpool 2 or Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom releases.

For Rajinikanth, the stakes are even higher. Since the soon-to-turn-politician seems to have adopted a youth-oriented approach for promoting Kaala, he needs them to watch his film. But now that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom releases around the same time, nostalgia may compel the youth to turn to the Hollywood film than the home-bred Kaala. Today's youth is the same demographic that witnessed Jurassic Park as teenagers or children.

However, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom may not benefit completely by turning up in India two weeks early, instead of enjoying a competition-free release on 22 June. Pitted against Kaala, it may lose its South Indian fan base to the superstar's film, since he is no less than an idol of worship in the South states.

Recently, Hollywood films are being dubbed in regional languages more than ever before. For instance, Telugu superstar Rana Daggubati was signed to dub for super-villain Thanos in Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War, cashing in on his antagonist's role of Bhallaladeva in Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. Clearly, Universal Pictures will ape Marvel and try to establish a stronghold in the South states. But it will be a Tyrannosaurus-sized task to beat Rajinikanth on his home turf.

All images from YouTube.

Updated Date: May 07, 2018 16:37:47 IST

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