Baahubali 2 will soon grace the screens. And Baahubali 2 is on the lips of every cinemagoer. No matter how hard you suppress the fact, cinema is a mixture of economics and art fused together. For the same, we've had tiny films that ran into packed houses, and ambitious projects that turned out to be damp squibs. Economically speaking, SS Rajamouli's Baahubali 2 is very important for the Indian film industry, so that it is able to scale new heights. When Baahubali: The Beginning was released in 2015, it not only won international acclaim for its visual experience but opened new avenues in terms of marketing.
With two weeks left for the release of Baahubali: The Conclusion (Baahubali 2, if you will), the expectations it has among the audiences is huge and rightly so. We delve deeper. We take a closer look at Baahubali 2's marketing strategy that has helped gain a cult following for the film, catapulting it into the league of some Hollywood films.
Recently, reports were doing the rounds that Baahubali yielded zero profits for the producers despite raking in more than Rs 650 crore at the box office, globally.
BAAHUBALI 2 IS A HIT EVEN BEFORE RELEASE
However, when IndiaToday.in spoke to Sreedhar Pillai, an independent trade analyst, he said that Baahubali 2 has struck gold for the producers even before its release. Although he admitted that the numbers aren't clear.
Speaking about Baahubali's marketing team, Sreedhar said, "It started when Baahubali released in 2015. When Karan Johar acquired the rights of Baahubali, it became the first dubbed film to earn Rs 100 crore at the box office. From then on, the kind of marketing and promotions it has been able to achieve is something brilliant."
BAAHUBALI BEYOND THE BIG SCREEN
The Baahubali franchise will be remembered for its unique way of promotions. They have a book, TV series, virtual reality films and games coming up. For the first time in India, Rajamouli and his team showcased a 360-degree trailer at the Baahubali 2 trailer launch. Reports said that the team has partnered with Nestle, biscuit company Britannia, Chinese mobile company Oppo, jewellery house Amrapali and there's a lot more in the pipeline.
"Baahubali has a pan-Indian audience from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. It has the biggest market in India and US as well. And no film has been able to achieve that. When good content is blended with good marketing, it becomes a mega-hit and Baahubali bears testimony to that," said Sreedhar.
HUGE SCREEN-COUNT FOR BAAHUBALI 2
Baahubali 2 will release in over 6,500 screens across India. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, the film is expected to release in over 600 plus screens.
Much like Baahubali, when superstar Rajinikanth's Kabali released last year, it had a dream run at the box office. But the unknown fact is that the film incurred loss for the distributors. When asked if Baahubali 2 would face a similar situation, Pillai said, "Sometimes greed plays a pivotal role in the business. You know how much you can squeeze from the market. But what happens when the ticket prices are sold for thrice the price? The problem is that they don't analyse these factors before buying the rights."
We got in touch with Diamond Babu, the PRO for the Tamil version of Baahubali 2. He didn't divulge any details about the film under strict guidelines from Rajamouli.
BREAKING LANGUAGE BARRIERS
On the other hand, Nikkil Murugan, one of the prominent PROs in Tamil cinema, had interesting things to say. Drawing examples from Rajamouli's Eega, Nikkil said that the success is because of the director's vision and that Baahubali is one of best examples of how to present a story to the masses.
He also believes that Baahubali broke the language barriers, at least down South. "Malayalam film Premam ran for a year in Chennai. On Sunday, theatres were empty because most people attended the Baahubali 2 Tamil audio launch. No matter the neighbour is good or bad, we would still like him/her," added Nikkil.
A representative from Sathyam Cinemas, one of the largest multiplex chains in Chennai, admitted that Baahubali fetched them money. But didn't have anything to share regarding the profit details.
PROFIT EVEN BEFORE RELEASE
Made on a lavish budget of Rs 250 crore, Baahubali is touted to have earned more than Rs 500 crore even before its release through its satellite and distribution rights. As per the trade estimates, Baahubali 2 is likely to gross Rs 1000 crore since the trailer has received an overwhelming response from fans, garnering more than 100 million views on YouTube.
TIE-UPS, CONTESTS, PROMOTIONS
The Baahubali 2 team is leaving no stone unturned as far as promoting the film is concerned. The production houses of the different versions of Baahubali have tied up with media houses for promotion of the film, keeping with the trend that recent films have been following. In addition to that, there are contests lined up as part of Baahubali 2's promotions. Keeping viewers actively interested in Baahubali 2 has been a key part of the marketing machinery of Baahubali 2. The Rise of Sivagami book launch in Delhi, for example, was an open event that saw participation from fans in addition to the media.
Directed by SS Rajamouli, Baahubali 2 takes the story forward from where Baahubali: The Beginning ended. Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah, Sathyaraj and Ramya Krishnan star in pivotal roles in this instalment of Baahubali too. The film is slated to release on April 28 this year.