Not only did Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (PRDP) bring some much needed festive cheer to the Indian box office, it also brought a sigh of relief for Vijay Singh-led Fox Star Studios, the co-producer for the film. Having netted Rs 173 crore (after tax) in the first week (November 12 to November 19), the film has helped the studio recover money not only on this project, but some of its unsuccessful projects earlier this year reveals Singh.
Fox Star Studios, a joint venture between Fox Pictures and Star India, produces movies through the co-production and independent development model. This year, it had four big releases — Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet, Mohit Suri’s Humari Adhuri Kahaani, Vikas Bahl’s Shaandaar and, of course, Barjatya’s PRDP. While the Salman Khan-starrer opened to record-breaking collections, the previous three failed to catch the fancy of the audiences. All four movies are co-productions where Fox Star provided the distribution and marketing might.
“I have been an advocate of having a mixed bag in terms of projects. It’s the film business. No one can predict a hit or a flop. So the best one can do is hedge the risks and then put in your best while making the film,” says Singh, CEO of Fox Star Studios. He adds, “The run that PRDP has had in the country and abroad has been phenomenal. There had not been a family drama in a long time and that helped bring audiences to the cinema halls. We have seen bulk booking for eight to 10 seats at a time as a norm in the first week. At one property, 300 seats were booked by one community.”
The film has cost approximately Rs 110 crore, with the budget shared between Barjatya’s Rajshri Productions and Fox Star Studios. With international revenues being healthy, the film is expected to make money for both the co-producers. While all of Fox Star’s losses from the previous projects may not be recovered, PRDP has at least helped them start swimming to safer shores. The studio has also made revenues from brand associations in and around the film, which will further expand the revenue kitty. The expected media value from 14 brand associations is around Rs 30 crore, while music rights are expected to fetch another Rs 6-8 crore.
The studio also released the film in two South Indian languages — Tamil (Mei Maranthaayo Anbe) and Telugu (Prema Leela). The two versions have added approximately Rs 3 crore to the revenue bucket. “The Telugu version has done well. The Tamil version did not do as well as we would have wanted, but that’s a risk every producer takes with experimenting. We will continue to dub our tent-pole films in regional languages depending on where we see potential to expands the box office,” says Singh.
PRDP, which marked the return of the actor-director duo of Khan and Barjatya has another week of clear run at the box office since no major movies released on November 20.
Next Friday, November 27, it will face tough competition from Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. All eyes are now on the movie’s lifetime collection and whether it will breach the Rs 200 crore mark at the domestic box office.