Election fever shakes Bollywood: Kalki 2898 AD and Baby John pushed back; release dates likely to be shuffled

The industry is looking forward to the release of two big films this Eid – Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and Maidaan. Once these films are released on April 10, small films will try their luck for the next three weeks. The exhibition sector wasn’t worried as Kalki 2898 AD was scheduled to hit theatres on May 9. Over the last few days, there have been reports that it might not make it on the said date. And now, it has come to light that the other biggie that was going to come in May, Baby John, might also not be released on May 31.

Kalki 2898 AD stars Prabhas, Deepika Padukone, Kamal Haasan, Disha Patani and Amitabh Bachchan in a cameo. It is a futuristic film directed by Nag Ashwin and carries tremendous hype due to the casting, premise and scale. As per reports, the makers are planning to push the film due to the Lok Sabha elections on May 13 in the home state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is also being speculated that Kalki 2898 AD, most probably, will now be released on May 30 or 31.

Bollywood Hungama has now learned that even Baby John’s makers are looking for a new date. It stars Varun Dhawan, Keerthy Suresh, Wamiqa Gabbi and Jackie Shroff. It is directed by Kalees and is backed by Atlee and Priya Atlee’s A For Apple Studios, Murad Khetani’s Cine1 Studios and Jyoti Deshpande of Jio Studios. It is the remake of Atlee’s 2016 directorial Theri, starring Vijay, Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Amy Jackson.

A source told Bollywood Hungama, “The makers are clear that they don’t want to clash with any film or come one week before or after any biggie. They are closely monitoring not just the release plans of Kalki 2898 AD but also Kamal Haasan’s much-awaited flick, Indian 2. Its makers have announced that the film will be released in cinemas in June 2024. They haven’t given the date though. Similarly, Ajay Devgn-Tabu’s Auron Mein Kahan Dum Tha might also come around this same or in June. Hence, the producers of Baby John will take a decision once these films state their release dates.”

The source also added, “If none of the above films arrives on or around May 31, Baby John will arrive on the original date, as planned.”

The exhibition sector, meanwhile, is hoping that both the films or at least one of them makes it in May in cinemas. An exhibitor told on condition of anonymity, “It’ll become difficult for us if Kalki 2898 AD and Baby John both get postponed since there’s no other biggie in May.”

Apart from these two biggies, the Hindi films scheduled to release in May are Vikrant Massey-starrer The Sabarmati Report on May 3, Rajkummar Rao-starrer Srikanth on May 10, Shreyas Talpade-starrer Kartam Bhugtam on May 17 and Chhota Bheem And The Curse Of Damyaan and Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Bhaiyya Ji on May 24. The Hollywood releases next month are The Fall Guy on May 3, Kingdom Of The Planet of The Apes and Garfield on May 10 and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga on May 23.

The exhibitor, however, said, “These films look promising but we are not sure if they’ll attract moviegoers to cinemas in hordes. Last year, too, May seemed dry. But we sailed through thanks to the success of The Kerala Story, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 and Fast X. We hope some film also springs a surprise in May, in the absence of Kalki 2898 AD and Baby John.”

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