HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Chennai Express makers keep distributors waiting

Shalvi Mangaokar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 22, 2013
First Published: 15:49 IST(22/6/2013) | Last Updated: 17:38 IST(22/6/2013)

Although director Rohit Shetty’s upcoming action-comedy film is being touted as one of the most-anticipated movies of this year, the makers seem to be in no hurry to monetise the buzz. There’s just about a month-and-a-half left for the film’s release and the producers are still keeping a host of distributors waiting.

Now, we’ve been informed by well-placed trade sources that the Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer will only be sold after the film’s music launch that is tentatively scheduled to take place on July 3.

Trade analyst Amod Mehra says, “There’s already a lot of buzz around the film, and once the music launches, they (makers) could even hike their price.” Ask trade expert Taran Adarsh whether he expects them to follow this route and he says, “It’s the combination of SRK and Rohit coming together on Eid. And if the music does well, it would just be the cherry on top for them. There could be a price hike, too.” 

Co-produced by Red Chillies Entertainment and UTV Motion Pictures, Chennai Express will hit theatres on August 8.

When contacted, Gaurav Verma, director — India theatrical distribution, studios, Disney UTV says, “There is excitement around the film, (and) not just among distributors. We have offers for various territories, which we are evaluating. We will take a call in the next few weeks.” Sources from the unit confirmed that further developments regarding the film’s sale will only take place after the music launch. A source close to UTV says that they have made no quotations so far. 

When is a film usually sold to distributors?
Film exhibitor and distributor Akshaye Rathi explains, “Ideally, a week to 10 days is the minimum time needed by the distributor to book screens. In that time, the exhibitor can also comfortably make advance bookings.” According to him, an increase in the gap between the sale and the release only gives the distributor more time to promote the film. “Things were better back in the day when films were sold to distributors before they were made or even while they were in production. The filmmakers used to keep the distributors in the loop about the production and songs etc. to reduce the degree of risk to a bare minimum. These days, it’s a gamble. Filmmakers like Rakesh Roshan still do it the old way and this practice has earned them a lot of loyalty among distributors in the country,” says Rathi.

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