Salman Khan character dying in the end not working at the box office is an age old sentiment that has been used by the trade owing to many films that didn't work, cementing that superstition.
There has been incidents infact multiple incidents where the distributors/exhibitors complaining about the same.
But that argument is strictly for the trade & not true always.
Kyon Ki - it was heavily depressing & completely stayed opposite to Diwali festive sentiment. Even Salman Khan had firmly said the climax won't work at all with the audience. The exact thing happened.
Hello Brother - it was sheer madness. The failure had nothing to do with Salman's character dying but the fact about Arbaaz Khan being the lead actor who gets the girl or to say entire film it is Rani who falls for Arbaaz. You don't sell a movie that way.
Baabul - was outdated. Plus it had the same complaint as Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa. After Preity's death film stops moving. Same happened with Baabul. Rani-John was a terrible pair & the chemistry between Rani-Salman as well as Salman-BigB was far better than what John could bring. Plus it was the film being preachy that backfired
Adding to the sentiment, how would you feel buying the ticket to watch Salman Khan & his character dying right in the middle of the movie!
Heroes - well it's a better film. He still gets reborn as his son in the end as in Veer. Here it was more about film being low key. It was only after Heroes he vowed not to accept shorter duration roles for friends & family. Ofcourse MAMK too.
Lucky? - Salman doesn't die here..
Other films where his character dies, not naming Suryavanshi & Karan Arjun..
- Yeh Majhdhaar - Film was horrible anyways.
- Phir Milenge - It was not just film being non-commercial, no fan would accept their favorite in such a role. No fan of Big B, Srk, Aamir to the likes of Ayushmann would accept their favorite in such role.
- Veergati - he dies in the end but then film was way too violent for the audience. It did deserve a bit better anyways.
- Veer - no need to dwell into the reasons.
Those repeated failures analysis have often led to the trade firmly believing that Salman characters death does not go well with his audience. So they avoid writing that. And if you look post Veer (only coz Salman wrote it), Salman's character doesn't need to die. Simply teasing it does wonders... See how they tease his death in Bajrangi.. or even teasing him getting hurt as in Bodyguard, Jai Ho got more whistles. Plus why unnecessarily kill a character? It is not the 80s or 90s.
To defend Srk..
Baazigar & Darr were written in that way. Imagine Srk character not dying in them? Wouldn't serve any purpose. The Kannada remake of Baazigar had the lead hero Upendra not die in the end. Totally messed the film.
Anjaam had Srk in a negative role. Audience / trade did feel he was being repetitive in doing such roles. Again his character dying was the way it was written. The film was not accepted at the box office. .
Army was a Sridevi film.
Dil Se flopping had nothing to do with the characters dying.
Hey Ram too was not Srk's film.
Devdas, KHNH - his character was written to die. That is how the story was.
Fan - see how fans / audience felt about it. The whole thing was unnecessary.
Just because Srk dying in the end has resulted in few films succeeding doesn't mean audience are willing to accept him that way. It has to be blended well within the story. If that doesn't happen then you will see bunch of disappointed viewers walking out the theater like it happened with Fan & Raees.
If Srk's character has been clearly marketed as extended special appearance who dies then it wouldn't backfire. Shakti The Power, Army, Hey Ram had clearly promoted that point. Make Srk die unnecessarily & see what happens. Or sell a film in Srk's name & kill his character mid-way, see what happens. The result will always be negative.