Baahubali: The Conclusion, the most expensive Indian film ever, hit movie theatres on Friday. The producers have spent Rs 450 crore to make the two-part series, with the second installment coming nearly two years after the first movie. This puts it in the league of big-budget Hollywood movies like the 2007 blockbuster fantasy war film 300.
And with big risks come bigger returns – the producers expect to gross Rs 1,000 crore worldwide, breaking a few records on the way.
Advance bookings for Baahubali: The Conclusion, which has been released in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, has already overshadowed Tamil superstar Rajnikanth's last movie Kabali, leaving cinema halls houseful for the long weekend.
The concluding part of the mythological drama has already earned around Rs 19 crore in pre-sales in the US, according to Great India Films, the movie’s distributor in the US. Indian ticketing portal Bookmyshow has already sold over a crore tickets within 24 hours of accepting bookings across various states in India.
The movie has a big legacy to live up to. The first part had garnered over Rs 650 crore, becoming the third-highest grosser ever after Bajrangi Bhaijaan and PK.
Sreedhar Pillai, an independent trade analyst tracking box office collections for large productions, said the biggest contributor for such a success is its release in four languages, which gives the movie a wider reach.
Bharti Airtel Ltd., Nestle India Ltd. and McDonald’s have joined Baahubali as brand partners. Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and ARKA Mediaworks jointly hold rights of the movie.
Amazon Prime video has exclusively released an animated version of the movie and a three-part novel series is also in the works in partnership with Amazon Kindle.
The Baahubali team recently set up a virtual reality zone at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York to give visitors an experience of the sets.
But the real million-dollar question is: Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali?
(This story was originally published on The Bloomberg Quint)