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Exclusive Interview with Baahubali 2 US Distributors

Exclusive Interview with Baahubali 2 US Distributors

Rajamouli's graphical fantasy drama "Baahubali The Conclusion" created history in North America as it has officially become the highest grossing Indian film at the US box-office. It grossed 13 million dollars as of today.

It is set to haul more millions of dollars from this weekend, as demand for the movie is still huge.

Agreed that the Rajamouli's epic imagination is the reason behind this craze but one must also appreciate Great India Films, the movie's North America distributor, for promoting the movie aggressively and releasing it in record number of screens for an Indian movie.

The massive release, smart marketing and generating great buzz have helped the movie to beat all existing records. Bouquets came for this achievement, but they also received brickbats for high-ticket prices.

In this exclusive interview, the distributors have opened up on all matters pertaining to "Baahubali 2" in USA.

Even as they are busy scheduling the screens for the second week, the Great India Films team has answered all questions.

How are you enjoying the success of Baahubali 2?
We are very happy and thoroughly enjoying the great success. We got international recognition, especially in Hollywood market.

Everyone thought you overpaid the producers for grabbing the rights. How confident were you on the film?
We were 200% confident that this film would make wonders at box-office. Our confidence proved to be right. 

You seem to have spent lot of money on promotion and for wide release?
We wanted to reach wider audience and we are seeing the results now. We have spent lot of money on promotion and also incurred lot of expenses due to wider release.

There was some backlash about high-ticket prices. What do you have to say about that?
Great India Films always priced their films at affordable prices.

In fact we lost out to competition on many high budget films because we did not calculate higher ticket prices in our revenue.

"Baahubali 2" standard format was priced less than few high-budgeted Telugu and Tamil films. Only the IMAX was $40 on premieres because we have higher costs. And remember that people had choice of lower price tickets too.

The backlash was by jealous people who did not want "Baahubali 2" to be a blockbuster. Many people understood the unnecessary propaganda about ticket prices.

We do not support higher ticket pricing at all. One day it is going to kill the box-office. But if there are any special formats like IMAX or 3D etc there will be surcharge. It is like going in first class vs Economy class.

Are you planning any success celebrations with crew or cast?
No. Crew/cast is relaxing and enjoying the success with their family members. We don't want to trouble them. However, we plan to celebrate success with our exhibitors and family friends in few key locations.

What are your next projects?
We still have tons of work with "Baahubali 2". We have increased 60 other runs from week 2. We are releasing Malayalam language version of "Bahubali 2" from May 12th. We will announce our next projects soon.

In how many theaters (exact number) you have screened for premieres. Number of screens for each language and what is the exact collection of Premiere shows for each language. 
About 425 unique theaters and over 1000 screens were allotted. We don't know the premiere numbers because they got rolled into Friday numbers. 

What is the total revenue from IMax screens?
We are waiting for IMAX report. We will have it by next week as IMAX run is ending today. 

Tell us total collection so far with break-up of each language version. 
Don't have exact numbers but the ratio goes like this - 65% from Telugu version, 20% is from Hindi and 15% is from Tamil version.

Give us comparative study of your expenditure on the film - cost of buying the rights, promotional cost, prints, etc and returns on the investment so far.
We haven't seen the breakeven yet. Cost including expenditure is about $7.5 million. 

Have you really entered into profits now or yet to enter?
Not yet but we will be entering into it in one or two days.

Will you bringing Prabhas or Rajamouli to the screens or promotions in USA next week?
Prabhas is taking rest now as he needs to begin his next movie "Saaho" and we are busy with release of Malayalam and future week schedules of "Baahubali 2".

How do you feel delivering a biggest Indian blockbuster beating even lifetime gross of Dangal?
Very happy and excited as well. 

Never in the history had a Telugu film caught the imagination of all Indians in USA. What do you feel the reason for it?
Movie has right ingredients, promotion, and support from many people. 

Were you under stress before the release as you bought for whopping amount?
We were a bit stressed in terms of schedules and execution. But the huge success has made us forget about it.

What was the strategy you implemented to make it a biggest release for a Telugu/Hindi film?
We spent lot of days researching the collections and markets of previous films and selected theaters and languages that we need to play in the theaters based on this research and looks like it paid off. 

What would be the final gross of this movie?
We are expecting about 17 to 18 million US dollars.

What are your next movies? Will you also be going for bigger releases for Tollywood big movies? 
We will announce soon. 

Why do you think USA market has grown exponentially for Telugu movies in the recent years? Even a small film like 'Pelli Choopulu' collected 1.2 million dollars?
Market has grown because of many new people coming to US but we have to be careful in bringing right films to US. Majority of films that Tollywood churns out don't wok here in US market. Many films don't even recover the costs of prints or digital fees.  

Anything you want to say to the readers?
Yes. We thank everyone from the bottom of our heart for the support and making Baahubali 2 the number 1 Indian film in North America (#2 is Dangaal).

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