The whole world knows how Rajini's Sivaji was grabbed for distribution & theatrical rights by people when it came up for sale. It went on to create records for the prices at which territories were grabbed by the distributors just by watching Sivaji's stills. The trailor was also not ready when Sivaji's rights came up for sale.
Compare this with the way Kamal's Dasavataram is being pushed for sale - still there are no takers for most of the territories and wherever it is sold has also gone for much less than expectations - and you will know WHO IS KING at the Box Office.
On 28th May, 2008, Behindwoods posted a news under the heading “Dasavataram rates slashed” saying “as a means to draw more crowds to Dasavataram and generate good business at the C centres, a hefty amount has been reduced there. This strategy has been viewed as a positive trend by the trade pundits.”
Around the same time Sify.com also published a news item saying Dasavataram release has been postponed from June 6th to June 12th. As of now, even this date has been changed to June 13th. I hope the producers will be able to stick to at least this date.
Sify reported the reason for the delay in release as due to delay in printing of the film rolls as told by the producer of Dasa. The producer also mentioned that Dasa’s prints are being done at Adlabs in Mumbai, which has the state of the art printing lab in India.
I hope all of you may remember how the producer tried to justify the date of June 6th as sooooo sacrosanct in saying that it is one of the most auspicious days & all. At that point of time, the producer was trying to avoid any date upto 1st June due to the then ongoing IPL matches against which Dasa’s opening would have surely bombed. He had to find a reason other than IPL so he had then chosen “auspicious day” to justify June 6th.
Now, he is harping on “delay in printing of the film roll” & that too from a state of the art studio. It can be called as “Kaadhula Poo”. Printing of a film roll nowadays will take the standard amount of time only. What is required is to give the order for so many NUMBER OF PRINTS. Though the producer says Dasa will release with 1000 prints, I have doubts on this claim, based on a harmonious reading of all the above news, whether he has enough takers for Dasa in the first place, at least as of now. That’s why I feel the truth is no printing order has been given for printing Dasa film because the producer himself doesn’t know, at this point in time, how many prints will be needed because Dasa is still to be sold in so many territories.
Dasa has been produced at a cost of about Rs. 60 crore and marketed at another Rs. 20 Core. They have already spent around Rs. 10 core for the audio release bash and budgeted another Rs. 6 core for pre-release promotion & balance for other promotional activities. Assuming the producers will expect about 25% return on investment, Dasa has to be sold for at least Rs. 100 core at the first level distribution. My guess, based on above reports, is that Dasa is struggling even to recover its production cost of Rs. 60 core.
There was an interesting news story recently that Ayngaran has purchased its overseas rights. They have not mentioned about the price. I am sure, knowing the producer’s nature, he would have gone to town if only Dasa has been sold for exorbitant rates. Again my guess here is Dasa would not even have fetched what Kuruvi would have got for its overseas rights. To put things in perspective, Ayngaran and the producers were not seeing eye-to-eye till recently. And suddenly now for Ayngaran to agree to the producer’s unreasonable demands & pay any price for Dasa’s overseas rights is un-realistic.
So, it makes the producer’s task even more difficult for him to sell Dasa in local market. Now, local market has to fetch him truly exorbitant rates in order to compensate for the reduced rate at which Dasa has been sold in overseas market and still generate an overall Rs. 100 core. In this scenario, please go back to the first news of this post which mentions the producer of Dasa had slashed his rates at C centres. Does it make sense now? So, Dasa is struggling to sell itself in all markets – whether overseas or local A, B or C centres – there are no takers for Dasa at the price at which the producer wants it to be bought. Unless Dasa is sold in all territories or at least most of the territories, how can the producer know how many prints are needed for screening and also to fix a firm date for its release?
So, this is the reason why Dasavataram’s release is kept postponed from one week to the next. Unless Dasa’s business is completed, definitely not to the satisfaction of the producer, even the June 13 date may not be sacrosanct. A stage may come when the producers themselves will be forced to release Dasa on their own which will make them take the gamble of their life. But, as things stand today, this scenario can’t also be ruled out.
However, there is a catch to this. Recently Oscar Academy, which gives away the world famous annual Oscar Awards in Hollywood, has slapped a legal notice on Dasa’s producers for unauthorised using of their name & logo for his production company which is in the same movie business as their organization & asked him to compensate them. That’s why, overnight, the producer has changed his production company’s name as Aaskar Films & also changed the logo. But, it can at best be a temporary reprieve for Dasa. Whatever the producer earned so far all these years by using the famous name & logo is still in dispute. Because of this development too, there could be trouble for the producer when Dasa gets released.
As against this, let us spare a thought to AVM Productions & the way they stuck to their job of marketing Sivaji. AVM marketed Sivaji without any fanfare. Even though there were some protests from some of the distributors about the way Sivaji was marketed on outright basis, finally, within a couple of days, those distributors relented & came back to the negotiating table & purchased it outright. The reason was AVM stood their ground & refused to budge. Their USP was Rajinikanth – the Mass Puller. Because of Rajini films’ opening & crowd pulling ability, AVM could stand their ground firmly to the black-mailing tactics adopted by a few distributors. Finally, the distributors had no other way but to buy Sivaji on AVM’s terms.
What one has to understand is it is Rajini & Rajini’s films alone which has this capacity. No other actor, howsoever many roles he may play in the movie, has this capacity to sell his movies, purely based on his crowd pulling strength.
So, it’s futile to compare Rajini with any other “actor’, when it comes to Box Office.
Rajini means Box Office Baadshaw. Others can only pull Rickshaw.