Mahesh Babu is the most popular Telugu actor in the international markets especially in the USA, but trade details of his recent movies show that the superstar is overpriced overseas.
Ever since Mahesh Babu made his acting debut, his popularity has grown bigger in the USA with each of his release. The success of Dookudu and Businessman not only grew his fanbase multifold in the country, but also raised the price of the overseas rights of his next movie Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (SVSC), which fetched Rs 6 crore for its producer and returned Rs 7.20 crore for its distributors.
Mahesh Babu's 2014 films Aagadu and 1: Nenokkadine got decent prices and inturn earned good profit shares for their distributors. The USA-based banner Mythri Movie Makers bankrolled his 2015 Srimanthudu and the makers increased the prices of its overseas rights to Rs 8 crore. Besides recovering their investment, the movie fetched a huge profits of Rs 6.80 crore to its distributors.
Then there was 85 percent rise in the price of his 2016 film Brahmotsavam, which has reportedly earned Rs 13.20 crore from the sale of its international theatrical rights. But unfortunately, the movie failed to strike a chord with the audience. As a result, the film incurred a huge loss of Rs 7.70 crore.
After seeing this dismal response, the people in T-Town expected that the price of his next film will go down. But instead of decreasing, the makers of his 2017 movie Spyder hiked its price by nearly 100 percent. The reason was that it was a bilingual movie, which marked Mahesh Babu's debut in Kollywood.
Spyder earned Rs 15.50 crore from the sale of its theatrical rights for the USA and Rs 7 crore from its rights for the other international markets. The movie fetched a total of Rs 22.50 crore from its overseas rights. However, the film became biggest disaster in the career of Mahesh Babu, as it just returned Rs 6.50 crore for its distributors, who reportedly suffered a huge loss of Rs 18 crore.
The makers of his 2018 movie Bharat Ane Nenu played it safe by reducing its price and sold its international rights for Rs 18.20 crore. When compared to all his previous films, this movie made record breaking collection at the overseas box office. But it still ended up incurring losses of Rs 2.30 crore to its distributors, as it only returned Rs 16.50 crore to them.
There was huge hype for Maharshi and its makers reportedly quoted Rs 18 crore for its overseas rights. But when no distributor showed interest in it, they decided to reduce its price to Rs 16.50 crore, which was the earning of Mahesh Babu's last outing Bharat Ane Nenu. Yet there was reportedly none ready to buy its rights. Finally, they had to sell out it for Rs 14 crore to Great Indian Films.
Interestingly, Great Indian Films distributed Bharat Ane Nenu and it made a grand arrangements for Maharshi release. The movie had 2,500 premiere shows in the USA alone and it is highest number for an Indian film. Its tickets were priced at $20 for adults and $15 for kids, which were low, when compared to the prices of his previous movies, but yet they were higher to any other movies.
Considering its hype and screen count, the Vamshi Paidipally-directed movie was expected to open big and make superb collection on the following days. Maharshi received good response, but failed to land in the top five biggest openers of Mahesh Babu at the USA box office. The film got mixed response, which apparently took a toll on its collection in the country on the first day.
Maharshi collected $512,422 in the Wednesday premiers and $174,187 on Thursday, taking its total to $686,609 at the US box office. The movie is estiamted to have collected Rs 8 crore at the overseas box office on the first day and earned Rs 4 crore for its distributors. Its earnings appear to be lower, when compared to the business of his last five films.
The word of mouth affects its collection further at the overseas box office over the weekend. The movie may find it difficult to recover the investments of its international distributors. If it really happens, then it will be proved that the star power of Mahesh Babu is over rated in the foreign markets.
Here are trade details of Mahesh Babu's recent releases. The numbers mentioned above article and in the following table are based on various sources. They may not match with actual figures. All the numbers are in rupees and crore.
|7||Bharat Ane Nenu||2018||18.20||16.50|