“Film is such a collaborative medium,” once said Daryl Hannah, Hollywood actress. She might have meant her co-actors and the crew. But there is more meaning to it. Filmmaking is not only a difficult art, but also a complex business. We know films as an entertainment medium and as a money spinner when it comes to the box office (or otherwise in some cases). But there are more sources of revenue for a film other than just the box office. So, in this article Behindwoods explores the other sources of revenue for films from what is called the ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ or IPR in filmmaking.
Any property, movable or immovable, can be protected legally from being stolen. A film involves a lot of such physical and intangible intellects that face the threat of being stolen or pirated. That’s where copyrights, trademarks, privacy rights and publicity rights come into act.
A film with a big star cast and high expectations gets back huge sum or sometimes more than what was put in, through selling rights, even before it hits the screens. When we say rights it involves audio rights, distribution rights (domestic and overseas), digital rights, satellite rights, mobile rights, terrestrial rights, IPTV and internet rights and many more. These rights play a very important role in the performance of a film, as a product.
As mentioned before, these rights sometimes get sold for very high prices. Let’s take some instances of big stars, in whose films these intellectual properties have been big revenue generators.
Superstar Rajinikanth, arguably one of the biggest stars in India, not only draws his own fans, but also has the ability to attract all classes of people. His films are always very big grossers. Considering the fact that he has fans all across the globe, the rights of his films get acquired for very high amounts.
His blockbuster Chandramukhi’s rights were sold for around 20 crores, Sivaji for more than 30 crores and Enthiran saw a revenue of Rs 45 crores from satellite, overseas and audio rights alone. Its music rights were sold to Think Music for a massive Rs 7 crores, which is still the highest for Tamil films.
Similarly, Ajith too has a very big fan base in Tamil Nadu. He also has a very steep and upward growth rate, when it comes to profits from sale of various rights. While Aasal garnered 10 crores altogether, Billa 2, made at a budget of 35 crores, earned around 43 crores including its TN distribution rights. The film received about 17 crores from other peripheral rights alone.
Generally, the films that involve names like director Shankar, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Mani Ratnam, actor Vijay, AR Rahman etc. go for big numbers. The satellite rights of Shankar’s Nanban alone were sold for Rs 12 crores to Vijay TV, which is still one of the highest for a Tamil movie. Similarly the satellite rights of Vijay starrer Thuppakki and Rajini’s Kochadaiyaan have gone to the hands of Jaya TV for mammoth rates. The audio rights of Neethane En Ponvasantham have been acquired by Sony Music, which are the highest in the film’s composer, Isaignani Ilayaraja’s career. The price is rumored to be in the range of 2-2.5 crores.
There are remake rights and prequel/sequel rights, which are big revenue generators too. But they are only sold after a film performs well at the box office. The Dirty Picture and Kahaani are the hot remake deals in India now.
On the whole, filmmaking is not just shooting and acting. Film is a very huge property, owned by many and is surely a collaborative business.
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