In the first look launch press conference of his upcoming film KRRISH 3 the film's leading man Hrithik Roshan was asked a question by a media person about where he sees himself vis-a-vis his contemporaries and competitors in the trade. The questioner was probably talking about the other Bollywood stars Hrithik has to compete with in terms of their popularity and market value.
However, he took the question differently and talked at length about Hollywood blockbusters and franchises around super hero characters that have been doing very well in the domestic market of India and are released widely in multiple Indian languages to cater to diverse Indian audiences. He said that KRRISH 3 will be competing with those super hero films across the globe since we cannot run away and hide from facing the challenge thrown by them. He particularly referred to THE AVENGERS, Disney/Marvel's blockbuster, which saw the coming together of all super hero characters of Marvel. The film helped Disney recoup its mounting losses and went on to collect a whopping $1.5 billion (More than Rs.9,000 crores), to become the third top earner in the history of the global box-office after AVATAR ($2.8 billion) and TITANIC ($2.2 billion).
Hrithik sounded confident that homemade KRRISH 3 would succeed in matching the technical standards of films like THE AVENGERS. He was proud of the fact that all the state of the art CGI and animation work has been executed by Indian technicians and CGI wizards. If that's correct, it is no less than a miracle given the budgetary constraint KRRISH 3 had to deal with in comparison with the production budget of THE AVENGERS. According to the grapevine in circulation KRRISH 3 has cost about Rs.100 crores ($20 millions) to the Roshans, making it the most expensively made Bollywood movie. However, from Hollywood standards it's a low budget independent film. THE AVENGERS was made at the cost of Rs.1,100 crores ($220 million), 11 times the budget of KRRISH 3.
CHECK OUT: Hrithik's KRRISH 3 to take on AVENGERS, IRON MAN 3 and SUPERMAN
The distribution rights of KRRISH 3 have reportedly been pre-sold for Rs.140 crores (minimum guarantee) for various domestic as well as overseas territories and the Roshans have what the industry terms as the 'table' profit on their ambitious project that has been in the making for the last four to five years. Compared with the worldwide box office collections of THE AVENGERS it's quite a modest figure. It should now be obvious that in spite of terming THE AVENGERS as their competition, the producers of KRRISH 3 do not actually nurse global ambitious as they profess. The Hollywood film collected a huge Rs.65 crores at the Indian box office alone.
Can they afford to be ambitious? They can and if they set a high benchmark and sincerely put in the required efforts to achieve it. Almost 60% of the global box office collections of THE AVENGERS came from overseas territories (Outside the North America). It collected nearly $ 890 millions (Rs.5000 crores). Out of this almost $600 million (Rs.3000 crores) came from non-English and non-European markets. If KRRISH 3 covers this potentially lucrative territory well and succeeds in tapping it even marginally it will be a great beginning in challenging the might of Hollywood. Even if it beats the record of MY NAME IS KHAN, the most widely released Indian film that collected nearly Rs.200 crores overseas, that will be a remarkable and welcome development. The question is if Eros, the overseas distributor of KRRISH 3, is looking at exploring these possibilities, and is ready to take the film to an audience outside the Indian diaspora, following the Fox Searchlight example.
KRRISH 3 is the third film of the first ever blockbuster science-fiction super hero film franchise of Bollywood that started with KOI MIL GAYA (2003), followed by KRRISH (2006). The film is the story of a scientist Rohit Mehra and his mentally challenged son Krrish who acquires super-human physical and mental powers thanks to an extraterrestrial entity called Jaadu. It is scheduled for release in 2D and 3D formats around Diwali, on November 4, 2013, and is one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)