Reproduced from Times of India
The lacklustre performance of the much-hyped `Sardaar Gabbar Singh` at the box-office has been a big blow to the Telugu film industry, with all stakeholders witnessing first-hand the downside of the spurt in big-budget films.
If reports are to be believed, the film was made with a budget of Rs 70 crore and distributors may have paid as much as Rs 100 crore to get distribution rights. However, indicating the extent of loss incurred, sources suggest that the amount recovered by them could be less than 25 per cent. The film is still in the first week of its release.
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While distributors will be among the hardest hit, exhibitors will also have to incur huge losses. The extent of the loss each theatre owner will have to bear will depend on the nature of agreements signed between distributors and exhibitors.
Expecting the film to be a major success, it is learnt that many ex hibitors and distributors signed profit-sharing agreements. To get the film from distributors, exhibitors had to pay huge amounts in advance. For example, an exhibitor was reportedly asked to pay Rs 40 lakh to screen the film in his theatre and the profits were to be shared as per the agreed ratio. However, even though the exhibitor paid a part of the amount, he now has no intention of paying the rest.
Telangana Telugu Film Distributors Association secretary T Venkatakrishna said, “We do not have authentic figures as yet to say what the losses are. What is known for a fact is that both distributors and exhibitors have suffered losses.“ Addressing the issue of how losses could be shared in the present situation, an exhibitor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “We usually do not get into legal tangles.Everyone in the trade is aware the film is not doing well. So we come to an understanding about how to tide over the crisis.“
While stating that this is not the first time a big-budget film has taken a beating at the box-office, M Vijendar Reddy, former president of Telangana Film Chamber of Commerce, said, “Sometimes, the distributors offset the losses for exhibitors by promising to give them their next film for a lesser price.“
However, even if exhibitors and and distributors are able to sort outstanding payment issues, the larger impact of a big budget film not doing well will be felt across the industry .Chadalavada Srinivasa Rao, chairman, Telugu Chalanachitra Parirakshana Samithi (Telugu Films Protection Committee), said, “Distributors suffering losses means a big blow especially to small-budget films.They will not even have the money to buy small budget films for distribution now.“
The movie was made by Sunil Lulla of Eros International, Sharath Marar and Pawan Kalyan himself.The story and screenplay for the film were provided by Pawan Kalyan who also plays the main lead. With the film being too full of Pawan Kalyan and also being touted to be a drag, audiences gave a thumbs-down to the film even though die-hard fans of the actor may beg to differ.
If the final figures indicate that the film is a major debacle, there have been precedents of actors returning back part of their remuneration to the producers. That benefit will percolate down to distributors and exhibitors. There has, however, been no word from Pawan Kalyan whether he would be willing to do this. There is also no clarity on the remuneration the role he played in the film.