It's well established that big stars such as Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan have favoured slots as far as release dates of their films are concerned.
So, while Salman, for the past many years, has taken over Eid, Shah Rukh dominates Diwali. Similarly, Aamir has given several hits on Christmas weekends over the years. But now, there's a twist in the tale with all the big festive periods getting mixed up.
In the latest instance, SRK's Dilwale has been announced as the Christmas release this year after it became clear that Aamir has no release lined up on this year's December 25 weekend. Interestingly, Shah Rukh's Raees is also scheduled to hit screens during next year's Eid.
"I don't think it (one big star coming on another star's favourable release weekend) matters much. A major star coming on any festive weekend will be a big draw at the box office. It's more of a coincidence that the three Khans have come to be associated with particular festive weekends. After all, SRK's Chennai Express was an Eid release and still broke records," says trade analyst Komal Nahta.
Even Akshay Kumar, who has released films around Independence Day multiple times in the past, will keep a date with the same weekend this year, but next year, Hrithik Roshan's film has already been slotted for the August 15 weekend.
"You always plan your releases for the correct time. And both the films - with the kind of scale they have - need to release on a big day," film-maker Karan Johar told HT Café earlier. KJo has his Akshay-starrer Brothers up for release on Independence Day while Salman-starrer Shuddhi slated to open on Diwali 2016.
Experts feel that festive weekends are equal to guaranteed business at the box office. "Any good film of a big star, releasing on a festive weekend stands to earn 15-20 per cent more than on any other regular date," says Nahta.
Adds exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi: "Films of big stars hitting theatres during major release windows such as Diwali, Christmas or Eid almost always optimise the business prospects."
Favourite release period: Eid
Past Eid releases: Wanted (2009), Dabangg (2010), Bodyguard (2011), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Kick (2014) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan slated to release around Eid this year.
* Salman's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is set to be the big Diwali release this year.
* Next year, Diwali will see the actor's Shuddhi, produced by Karan Johar.
Favourite release period: Christmas
Past Christmas releases: Taare Zameen Par (2007), Ghajini (2008), 3 Idiots (2009), Dhoom: 3 (2013) and PK (2014).
* Aamir will not release any film this year.
* Though, next year's Christmas slot has already been booked by the star for Danga.
Shah Rukh Khan
Favourite release period: Diwali
Past Diwali releases: Baazigar (1993), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Don (2006), Om Shanti Om (2006) and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012).
* SRK's Dilwale is scheduled to hit the theatres on Christmas this year.
* Next year, his Raees is slotted to release during the Eid period.
Favourite release period: Independence Day
Past I-Day releases: Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara (2013) and Entertainment (2014).
What's up next:
* Hrithik Roshan's next, Mohenjo Daro, is slated to release during the Independence Day weekend next year.
* Akshay's next, Brothers, is already slated to be this year's Independence Day release.