Colour of money

Experts explain why it's proving more profitable for filmmakers to make big-budget films like 'Ra.One'. Plus, a look at five other big-budget films made in recent times...

Every few years comes a film that surpasses its predecessors in terms of cost and content.

Even though only Shankar's Robot (Rs 150 crore) with Rajinikanth emerged a hit unlike other expensive films like Mani Ratnam's Raavan (Rs 100 crore) and Anurag Basu's Kites (Rs 110 crore) last year, the coming years will see more big-budget movies releasing in the theaters, starting with Shah Rukh Khan's RA.One this Diwali.

While there are other expensive films like Farhan Akhtar's Don 2, Rakesh Roshan's Krissh 3 and Rajnikanth's Rana coming up in the years ahead, veteran trade analyst Amod Mehra considers RA.One an exception. Despite the expenses on visual effects, he attributes it to competition among investors.

 He explains, "The market is very hot and there are only a handful of big stars like the three Khans Aamir, Salman, Shah Rukh and a proven combination like Rakesh-Hrithik Roshan. Besides, the top stars are doing one film a year. That's why investors are going to any extent to back films featuring these stars.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara did well in spite of being a multiplex movie. At the same time, people are banking on commercial cinema. For a film like Guzaarish, the going is tough."

Suniel Wadhwa of 52 Weeks Entertainment Inc reasons that the price of films like RA.One, Krissh 3, Don 2 and Rana is justified because of the content. "SRK's RA.One took a while to make, plus it's a super-hero film.

Naturally, you'll have the visual effects. Not to forget the 3D experience. That pushes up the cost of production," he says, adding that this doesn't matter given the movie will open in over 3500 screens during a festival like Diwali. "October 26 is a Wednesday, so it has a five-day weekend.

Shah Rukh Khan in Don 2 and Hrithik Roshan in Krrish

I think it will make Rs 90 crore in five days in India alone. Add SRK's growing overseas stature, dubbed versions in Tamil, Telugu and even German and the money that music and satellite rights have fetched, it won't be difficult to break even. I don't see how the film won't make a profit of about 15 percent," he reasons.

Apart from the existing avenues, filmmakers are also exploring newer ones to expand their market. "Like SRK tied up with Sony Play Station to develop a game for RA.One.

The producers of Don had come up with a game last time, and this time it's only going to get bigger and better. Rakesh Roshan pioneered merchandising in a big way with Krissh, so with his next film, there's going to be only more and nothing less," points out an industry veteran.

However, a corporate studio's head honcho maintains, "It will take another five years before these ventures can earn revenue for those associated with such big movies," he points out.  Mehra advises a certain degree of caution.

He says, "The big stars will bring in their loyal audiences in the multiplexes, while the action will lure the crowds in the single screens. RA.One, Krissh, Don 2, Rana � they all will have a good dose of action. So it's feasible for them. Films like Guzaarish need to rethink their strategy."

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