Come Aug 9 and three superstars - Shah Rukh Khan, Vijay and Pawan Kalyan - from the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu film worlds - are set to battle it out at the southern box office. The outcome is likely to be phenomenal, say industry experts.
Shah Rukh-starrer "Chennai Express", which has a heavy southern flavour, Vijay's Tamil political drama "Thalaivaa" and Pawan Kalyan's Telugu family drama "Attarintiki Daaredhi" are releasing on the same day.
"This is probably the first time in Indian cinema that films of superstars from different languages are going to vie for the top spot at the box office. It's tough to predict the winner because expectations are riding high on all the three films," trade analyst Trinath, told IANS.
The tough competition will especially be tough in the overseas market, he said.
"'Chennai Express' will have a wide overseas release. I was told it's being released in countries like Morocco, Israel and even Germany, while 'Thalaivaa' and 'Attarintiki Daaredhi' will predominantly target countries such as the US, Britain and Australia," he added.
But, the first week of August will also see the release of Hollywood biggies such as Disney's "Planes", Neill Blompamp's "Elysium" and Thor Freudenthal's "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters".
"It's going to be neck-to-neck competition for these films. 'Chennai Express' has already got maximum number of screens in most countries. Pawan Kalyan has great market in the US and his films usually have good openings here," an international distributor of Indian films, told IANS.
Trinath believes it's the box office opening that will make the difference for the three big-ticket films.
"We don't know yet the number of theatres 'Chennai Express' is being released, while 'Thalaivaa' and 'Attarintiki Daaredhi' are expected to release in over 1,000 screens worldwide individually. All the three actors are known for having blockbuster openings and therefore, that will be the deciding factor," he said.
Vijay's last release "Thuppakki" minted Rs 65.32 crores worldwide in its first week run at the box-office. The film, which was reportedly made on a budget of Rs. 70 crore, went on to collect over Rs. 100 crore in two weeks.
Pawan Kalyan's "Cameraman Ganga Tho Rambabu" raked in Rs. 52 crore worldwide in the first week, Shah Rukh's "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" collected a whopping Rs. 120 crore in the first six days upon its release in 2012.
Meanwhile, multiplexes in Chennai have opened bulk bookings for "Thalaivaa" and "Chennai Express" as well.