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Half-yearly report card

A look at how Kollywood has fared so far in 2015

June 27, 2015 07:13 pm | Updated 07:23 pm IST

A still from Kanchana-2

A still from Kanchana-2

Till June 26, there have been a record 107 Tamil releases this year. Out of this, 11 can be called hits, having made a profit for producers, while four recovered their cost of production. The first half has witnessed a 13 per cent hit rate. In comparison, last year saw a mere eight per cent.

Sreedhar Pillai

Highlights of the first half

* ‘Small is beautiful’ seems to be the key to success. If the returns from films such as Kaaka Muttai , 36 Vayadhinile and Demonte Colony are anything to go by, a new trend seems to have emerged. Niche films made on a tight budget (Rs. 2.5 cr. to Rs. 5 cr.) with no stars but with offbeat content have worked.

* Superstar-driven films, where the salary of the star is almost 50 to 55 per cent of the production cost ( Uttama Villain, Massu Engira Masilamani ) have not worked. The message is loud and clear; star salaries and star director remunerations have to come down if such films are to be successful.

* A film like Kanchana-2 (budgeted at Rs.18 cr., including Raghava Lawrence’s salary), became a blockbuster.

* Promotions are a must to create a buzz around the film to get an opening. Big-hero ventures and small films need to be promoted differently. Big stars too, like in Bollywood, should promote films to create hype.

* The satellite market has crashed. Due to the boom in production, there has been a glut of films. Television companies have stopped buying films, as they feel they are overpriced and the return from movies shown on television has declined over the years. The satellite rights of three of this year’s hits have not yet been sold.

* The overseas market for Tamil films, especially the U.S., Australia and Europe, has increased by 10 to 15 per cent. The phenomenal success of Mani Ratnam’s O Kadhal Kanmani in the U.S. is an eye-opener. At the same time, the once-profitable avenue of Telugu dubbing rights has considerably come down with the failure of big-hero films. The only Tamil film dubbed into Telugu that has done good business is Kanchana-2.

G. Dhananjayan, co-founder, BOFTA Film Academy, said: “The first half of the year has been pretty good as around 15 films of the 100-odd releases have been successful. This number is better than what we have seen in the past three years. In addition to horror comedies, the success of interesting, concept-based films augurs well for Tamil cinema. I hope the second half will be even better.”

The best thing to have happened was a niche film such as Kaaka Muttai turning out to be a blockbuster. The film was originally produced by Dhanush’s Wunderbar Films and Vetrimaaran’s Grass Root Films. They sold it for Rs. 2.5 crore to Fox Star Studios, which in turn spent another Rs. 2 crore on print and publicity to market the film. Kaaka Muttai grossed approximately Rs.15 crore in three weeks from India theatrical collections, with 80 per cent coming from TN alone.

The satellite television rights of Kaaka Muttai have been bagged by Vijay TV for a whopping amount.Fox Star is also planning to take it to Japan, South Korea and Thailand, hitherto unexplored markets for Tamil cinema. In the international market, since it has made the rounds in the festival circuit, the sky is the limit.

Top Nett box office collections worldwide in the first half of 2015

1. I (Tamil + Telugu + Hindi): 190 cr

2. Kanchana-2 (Tamil + Telugu): 98 cr

3. Yennai Arindhaal (Tamil + Telugu): 78 cr

4. Massu (Tamil + Telugu): 63 cr

5. Anegan (Tamil + Telugu): 49 cr

6. Kaaki Sattai (Tamil only): 47 cr

7. Uttama Villain (Tamil + Telugu): 38 cr

8. O Kadhal Kanmani (Tamil + Telugu): 33 cr

9. Komban (Tamil only): 31 cr

10. Romeo Juliet (Tamil Only): 22 cr

All box office figures are approximate, but are adequately indicative of the box office performance of the film.

Source: Compiled from conversations with producers, distributors and other trade sources, including tamilboxoffice1.com

Gross: Total amount from the theatrical ticket sales

Nett: Gross minus Entertainment Tax (various states have different rates)

Share: Nett minus the share given to theatre owners as per agreements

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