All about money honey: Inside Salman Khan’s movie business

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April 18, 2015

MUMBAI: Salman Khan will not charge a single paisa for his upcoming Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, the idea being driven not so much by benevolence as business sense.

Bollywood actor – Salman Khan

April 18, 2015

MUMBAI: Salman Khan will not charge a single paisa for his upcoming Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, the idea being driven not so much by benevolence as business sense.

Bollywood actor – Salman Khan

A huge pay cheque for the star could dent chances of profits, given producers Rajshri have no claim over their own film's satellite TV rights. Salman has already committed exclusive rights of all his starrers till 2017 to Star India in a reported 500-crore deal.

Translated, that means Salman has already pocketed `500 crore for all the films he does between January 2013, when he signed the Star deal, and 2017. Considering Prem Ratan… is Sooraj Barjatya patented couch potato-friendly fare, the producers have lost out a sizeable sum they could have made if they owned its satellite rights. It seems judicious on the superstar's part to forgo the pay cheque. The case perhaps indicates the shape of things to come for Bollywood economics. Star prices have shot through the roof. An average top star reportedly settles for nothing below `30 crore per film, which means nearly 40 per cent (if not more) of a typical biggie's budget goes in bearing price tag of the hero. Random recall reveals how several big films – think Salman's Jai Ho last year or Akshay Kumar's critically acclaimed Baby earlier this year – have underperformed owing to bloated budgets. High budget saw the producer in question demanding (and getting) a steep price per territory from distributors of these films. In turn however, despite good ticket sales the distributor could not collect enough to record profits.

Filmaking will only become riskier trade unless star fees are curbed. In fact a couple of years ago, star prices went so much out of control a corporate studio had to cancel several projects they had planned within that financial year. The catch is, asking a star to lower his price is nothing short of triggering off an ego trip. That is where sops such as satellite rights, profit sharing or roping in the star in question as co-producer help.

Besides Jai Ho, Salman could have become cautious recalling Kick, his other release last year. Trade analysts widely felt the blockbuster could have seen bigger profits if it was budgeted right and in turn sold at lower prices. Salman's decision to be satisfied with satellite rights of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo as pay cheque means the film's budget won't be disturbed. Chastened by Baby, Akshay Kumar seems to have picked up the cue, too. He has agreed to profit sharing for his next project over a traditional hefty pay cheque.

Akshay is actually doing what Aamir Khan popularised a while back. For his 2009 release 3 Idiots, Aamir reportedly did not charge any fee. He opted for profit sharing – namely he would get a pre decided percentage of the film's profit upon release, assuming it became a hit.

Considering 3 Idiots scaled `300 crore, the chunk coming Aamir's way was awesome. Almost all top stars are preferring to co-produce films they work in. Shah Rukh Khan's last two releases – Chennai Express and Happy New Year – are instances. It is the simplest way to take home all that your film earns. The truth is out there. Budget is the real star. More than hero, heroine, script or direction, it is a film's budget that fails when it flops.


Courtesy: Mail Today

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