“Bahubali” – Greed and Fear?

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Is it justified for the makers of “Bahubali” to sell the movie rights based on the collection figures of “Atharintiki Daaredi”?

As we go into the week which will see the release of much-awaited blockbuster “Bahubali”, it is relevant to note that valuations for this movie have touched a new high.  Last heard that producer Dil Raju bought the entire distribution rights for the film for Nizam territory for a whopping Rs.25 crores. This is very high because the last record for Nizam touched Rs.24 crores for “Atharintiki Daaredi”. While the expectations were sky-high for “Bahubali”, what is arguable is whether “AD” valuation should be a benchmark for “BB”.

 

 [pullquote position=”right”]A good film that goes on to become a blockbuster ultimately leaves a lot of money on the table for everybody – producers, exhibitors and the distributors. Can Bahubali with inflated valuations bring in profits for all the involved parties? [/pullquote]
Why is “Atharintiki Daaredi” different and why should its collections not be seen as a benchmark?
 
Many reasons. One, “AD” got released amidst turmoil on the bifurcation of the undivided Andhra Pradesh into two states. Most films before and after “AD” flopped but “AD” stood like a solid rock amidst uncertainty on how the film industry will weather the crisis of state bifurcation. The content and the emotional appeal of the film made everybody flock to the theatres and make the film a blockbuster.

 

Two, the film saw unprecedented repeat audience – a factor that never gets talked about in all inflated valuations. Out of Rs.24 crores collections, at least Rs.8-9 crores would have come from repeat audiences, not first-time audiences. The original price of Nizam territory got bid for around Rs.14 crores for “AD” and so the final collection made a super profit of Rs.10 crores for the distributors of the film. But if you  leave no juice for the distributors for “Bahubali”, you are either betting that all the people will see it once or the movie has enough in its stable to attract new audiences and even repeat audiences. But the fact to note is that a film will only become a superhit not just because of the fan base or the movie’s content and popularity but also repeat audiences and new audiences.

 

From the blitzkrieg of publicity since the teasers of  “Bahubali”, definitely expectations are high that this is a different film where many native and non-native movie-lovers will be driven to the theatres to watch the film. But the lesson to note here is that, if you hitch-hike your expectations on the basis of the last valuation of another blockbuster, it may not always be in the best interest of the Trade and Business of Tollywood. Recent misses of some of the hyped-up films from Superstar Rajinikanth, director Shankar and Kamal Hassan have only shown that. A good film that goes on to become a blockbuster ultimately leaves a lot of money on the table for everybody – producers, exhibitors and the distributors. Lets hope “Bahubali” belongs to the exception, even if the valuations got stretched.

 

S.Sridhar

 

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