2018 will be a significant year for the South Indian box-office since a lot of high-budget, long-anticipated films are waiting in the queue to Hit Screens one by one. From Rajinikanth’s 2.0 to Pawan Kalyan’s Agnyaathavaasi, the year will also mark the comeback of Kamal Haasan, who has not had a single release in 2016 and 2017, with his eagerly-awaited thriller Vishwaroopam 2.
All eyes are on Superstar Rajinikanth’s 2.0 directed by Shankar and produced by Lyca Productions, which is made at a whopping budget of Rs. 450 crores. The entire industry is waiting to see whether 2.0 will break the records and box office benchmarks set by globe-trotting films like Aamir Khan’s Dangal and SS Rajamouli’s hurricane Baahubali: The Conclusion. The film was initially slated to hit screens on January 25th, 2018 for the Republic Day weekend, before it was postponed to April 27th, 2018. It must be noted that Baahubali 2 saw the light of the day on April 28th, 2017 and set colossal box-office records everywhere.
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2018 will be a rare year for Rajinikanth since Kaala is also scheduled for release after 2.0 hits screens. Sources say Kaala, which is Superstar’s second-time association with director Pa. Ranjith, is slated for August 2018 release. Vikram’s international spy thriller Dhruva Natchathiram is also slated for an August release, if everything goes well.
The first set of releases scheduled for the year 2018 will be the Pongal/Sankranti movies since it marks the beginning of the harvest season and draws a vast crowd to theaters because of the extended festival holidays.
In Tamil, nearly six films including Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam directed by Vignesh Shivan, Vikram’s Sketch directed by Vaalu director Vijay Chander, Prabhu Deva’s Gulaebaghavali, director Sundar C’s multi-starrer Kalakalappu 2, Vijaykanth’s son Shanmughapandian’s rural drama Madura Veeran and Vijay Sethupathi’s Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren are fighting for screens. However, trade sources suggest that at least three to four films will back out at the last minute due to non-availability of screens.
For Telugu film industry, the Sankranti clash will be between Pawan Kalyan’s Agnyaathavaasi and Balakrishna’s Jai Simha on January 10th and 12th respectively.
The next big release season will be the summer of 2018, which is towards the end of April. Besides, Rajinikanth’s 2.0, a host of notable Telugu films have already confirmed April 27th as the release date including director Vakkantham Vamsi’s Naa Peru Surya starring Allu Arjun and filmmaker Koratala Siva’s Bharath Ane Nenu starring Mahesh Babu.
Producers of Naa Peru Surya and Bharath Ane Nenu have already vehemently opposed the decision of the makers of 2.0 since they had informed the release date as April 27th for their respective films well in advance. Now, they have sought the intervention of exhibitors and producers association of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Meanwhile, the makers of 2.0 are quite confident about releasing the film on April 27th, 2018 and are planning to hold talks with the concerned parties to settle things amicably.
Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam 2, which is currently in the final leg of post-production, is also eyeing to hit screens in the first quarter of 2018. Earlier, there were reports that it could release on January 26th to target the Republic Day weekend. But, now the chances look slim.
Ramcharan and director Sukumar’s Rangasthalam, which was earlier scheduled for April-end release, advance its release date to avoid a clash with Naa Peru Suriya and Bharath Ane Nenu. Now, Rangasthalam is slated for March 30th release alongside Keerthy Suresh, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Dulquer Salmaan, Vijay Deverakonda and Shalin Pandey’s multi-starrer Mahanati.
Raghava Lawrence’s Kanchana 4, fourth part in the money-spinning Kanchana franchise, is also planning to hit screens for summer 2018 in May. The team is currently shooting the film round the clock on the outskirts of Chennai.
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Sivakarthikeyan’s untitled film with Ponram is planning for an August or September release, as per sources. The next huge festival date for Tamil films will be Diwali, for which three biggest movies are vying for release. Thala Ajith – director Siva’s Viswasam, which marks their fourth collaboration, Thalapathy Vijay – AR Murugadoss’ Thalapathy 62, which marks their third association, and Selvaraghavan – Suriya’s Suriya 36 have confirmed Diwali 2018 as the release date. It will be a giant clash at the box office.
There are also reports that Prabhas starrer Saaho directed by Run Raja Run fame filmmaker Sujeeth is also eyeing a Diwali 2018 release. Since the film is planning for a simultaneous release in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi, Saaho will most probably look out for another alternative instead of taking on three biggies in Tamil for Diwali.
Dhanush’s Vada Chennai and Enai Nokki Paayum Thota will also hit screens in 2018. Although no tentative release date plan is not available for Vada Chennai, Gautham Menon-directed Enai Nokki Paayum Thota is gearing up for a Valentine’s Day weekend release in February.
Considering the number of big film releases in 2018, the year is going to be exciting for all the participants in the business. With the arrival of new digital platforms, and the availability of films as early as 25 days from the release date, the shelf life of a movie’s runtime in theaters has reduced and 2018 will be keenly studied for how the business is going to perform over the next few years.
(Text by Surendhar MK)
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