Petta and Viswasam, with Rajini and Ajith in the lead respectively, will be clashing at the box-office this Pongal. Both films will take on a massive opening in Tamil Nadu, although the number of screens will get divided between the two. As trade pundits have predicted, this may affect the box-office collections and end up hurting the makers.
The Tamil film industry, in recent times, has been keen to avoid box-office clashes when it comes to big budget films. Some have grumbled about the favourable treatment meted out to certain stars and production houses, with their films being allowed a one week or even two week free run in theatres. This, they say, is unfair, when smaller films get crowded dates at the box-office and are unable to sustain.
Regardless of what the industry thinks, fans always get excited by a box-office clash and are keen to compare which actor's film managed to score. Here's a look at some of the biggest box-office clashes in the Tamil film industry since the 2000s.
2000: Thenali Vs Priyamanavale: Kamal Haasan's hilarious comedy about a Sri Lankan Tamil man who is afraid of everything, and Vijay's romance drama with Simran released for Deepavali. Both films did well at the box office. Jyothika, Jayaram, and Devayani were also part of Thenali.
2001: Kasi Vs Nandha Vs Aalavandhan Vs Shahjahan: Can you imagine a Vijay, Vikram, Suriya AND Kamal Haasan film releasing in the same weekend? This happened during the big Deepavali weekend in 2001.
Interestingly, Vikram played a visually impaired man in Kasi, Suriya played a young man who comes back to his family from a juvenile home in Nandha, and Kamal played twins – one an army commando and another a psychopath – in Aalavandhan. Shahjahan was about a man who helps lovers unite – not exactly original but it did well at the box-office nevertheless. Though Kamal's film flopped, it has since become a cult favourite.
2002: Villain Vs Bagavathi: Ajith and Vijay released their films for Deepavali this year. Both films were action dramas that catered to the masses. Ajith played identical twins in Villain, with one of the siblings having an learning disability. Both films did well at the box-office.
2003: Anjaneya Vs Pithamagan Vs Thirumalai: While Anjaneya had Ajith in the lead and Thirumalai had Vijay, Pithamagan had Vikram and Suriya in the lead. All three films released for Deepavali. Pithamagan walked away with the critical acclaim, with the other two following the staid formula format.
2006: Thirupaachi Vs Devadhayai Kanden: Vijay's action film went against Dhanush's romance drama on Pongal day this year. While Thirupaachi was a superhit, Dhanush's film was an average grosser. Dhanush and Vijay's films have clashed several times - Sivakasi Vs Adhu Oru Kanaa Kaalam, Villu Vs Padikkathavan and so on.
2007: Azhagiya Tamizh Magan Vs Vel Vs Polladhavan: All three were action films with their own distinct flavour, and they released for Deepavali this year. ATM did not do so well when compared to other Vijay films. Vel (Suriya) and Polladhavan, on the other hand, were successful at the box-office, with the latter marking the first collaboration of Vetrimaaran and Dhanush.
2011: Velayudham Vs 7aam Arrivu: Vijay and Suriya clashed at the box-office for Deepavali. While Velayudham was about an ordinary man who becomes a vigilante superhero, 7aam Arrivu was a fantasy/sci-fi film directed by Murugadoss. Both films did well at the box-office though it's difficult to say which one was ahead in terms of profit, considering the Tamil industry seldom puts out actual figures officially. Velayudham is widely believed to have made more money, considering 7aam Arrivu also had a higher budget.
2014: Jilla Vs Veeram: The rivalry between Vijay and Ajith fans is legendary, so one can imagine the fever pitch excitement when these two films clashed for Pongal. Vijay's Jilla, directed by RT Neason, also had Mohanlal in the cast. The film was about a reluctant police officer and went on to become a big hit. Veeram, directed by Siva, was set in a village and had Ajith playing elder brother to four others. Both films did well at the box-office although it's hard to pick a winner between the two.
2015: Thoongavanam Vs Vedalam: The remake of a French film, Thoongavanam had Kamal playing an IRS officer along with Trisha. Vedalam was a Baasha-type story about a gangster (played by Ajith) who disguises himself as a soft-spoken man. Thoongavanam received good reviews while Vedalam was a more fan-pleasing kind of film. Both films did well at the box-office. Ajith and Kamal have clashed earlier at the box-office. Their first clash was in 1994 when Nammavar and Pavithra released for Deepavali. But at this point, Ajith was still establishing himself in the industry. Their next clash was in 2000 - Hey Ram and Mugavaree - and then in 2002 with Pammal K Sammandham and Red.
2018: Thaana Serntha Koottam Vs Sketch: Pongal last year saw Suriya and Vikram clashing at the box-office. The former's film was a heist comedy while the latter's was an action flick. While TSK, the remake of Akshay Kumar's Special 26 did average business, Sketch sank at the box-office thanks to its unimaginative plot.