By Varada Bhat
Keen to milk the success of their first films several producer-directors are hoping to make hay in 2012-13, with over 25 sequels hitting the big screen. Trade analysts point out that an investment of around Rs 400-450 crore has already been made on these movies so far.
Among them are Yash Raj Film’s Dhoom 3, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Munnabhai 3, Eros International’s Housefull 2, Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish 3, Rohit Shetty and Shree Asathavinyak Cinevision’s Golmaal 4, Shemaroo’s Dedh Isqhiya, Arbaaz Khan’s Dabaang 2, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures’s Tanu weds Manu2, UTV Motion Pictures’ Race 2 and Balaji’s Kya Super Hain Hum, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai 2 and Shootout at Wadala, a sequel to Shootout at Lokhandwala.
Hiren Gada, Director, Shemaroo Entertainment, says the sequels take a brand — in this case, the film - forward. “You have an existing brand that has entertained people in the past and therefore you are building on the equity of that brand and taking the franchise forward. You know that you will have viewers flocking to the theatres from day one”, says Gada, who is working with Vishal Bharadwaj to make a sequel to Isqhiya.
Analysts believe sequels are also a risk-mitigation strategy for most film-makers. Jehil Thakkar, head of media and entertainment, KPMG, points out that a few of the sequels like Don2, Golmaal Returns or Dhoom 2 have been more successful than the originals.
According to data from Box Office India, a website that maintains box office rankings, Dhoom 2 was a blockbuster doing business worth Rs 146.78 crore, in comparison to Dhoom, which earned Rs 72.47 crore. Similarly, Farhan Akthar’s Don, which was released in 2006, made Rs 51 crore while the second edition made around Rs 107 crore. Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal in 2006 made Rs 41.25 crore, Golmaal Returns made Rs 51.77 crore (2008) and Golmaal 3 (2010) Rs 107.56 crore.
With the first movie, the brand and audience are established and the film-maker just needs to build on it. Sequels are also easier to sell to distributors and tap other revenues which ensure a faster breakeven for any producer.
For instance, even before Dabaang 2 and Krish 2 went on the floors, their satellite rights were sold for a whopping Rs 40-45 crore.
Milan Luthria , who set the cash registers ringing with Once upon a time In Mumbai in 2010, has been working on a sequel which will release during the second half of 2012. “Sequels of popular movies are almost a guaranteed business because it is sure to generate repeat viewership for characters that people have already loved,” he says.
“It’s a step-by-step process, where the filmmakers make a conscious effort of delivering a hit and tap all modes to make it a successful brand, as there is a recall value of the original and old star casts connect well,” says an industry official.
For instance, Krish 2 which releases in 2013, has already put in plans for merchandises like toys, Tshirts, bags, bottles, and is also in talks with several players for building games around the movie.
“The trend is here to stay,” says Gada, “as almost every production house that churned out a major blockbuster in the last few years is planning a sequel. ”
However, opinion is divided whether it’s roses all the way. While Luthria says there is a 60-70 per cent chance of sequels becoming a hit, others say comparisons with the original can also make things difficult. For instance, Bheja Fry 2 bombed at the box office though the original had critical and commercial success. The gamble in making a sequel is living up to the expectations of audiences based on the first film, as a badly made sequel can destroy the aura of the first film, and sink without a trace.