With the recent failures of ‘Shehzada’ and ‘Selfie’, South remakes have gone out of fashion. Thanks to the success of Ajay Devgn’s ‘Drishyam 2’ (a unique hybrid of both South remake and sequel) and Ranbir Kapoor’s ‘Brahmastra’, which promises the arrival of a superhit Hollywood-esque franchise, the audience’s expectations have skyrocketed. Have been People are already speculating whether Shah Rukh’s ‘Pathan’ and Salman’s ‘Tiger’ will join Hrithik Roshan’s ‘War’ alongside Hrithik Roshan’s Kabir as Yash Raj Films’ spy universe continues to expand.
But are sequels, franchises and movie universes the answer to guaranteed success? Has Bollywood’s treasury of originality become empty? Are the audiences going to spend their hard earned money only on familiar characters? In this week’s Big Story, ETimes explores B-Town’s new obsession with sequels and we investigate whether this trend is another bubble waiting to burst. A lot of money is riding on the sequel’s Ek Biwi.
What are the stakes?
If you combined all the sequel and franchise films in production right now, you’d end up with a dime a dozen. Trade analyst Atul Mohan does the math and says, “Many film studios are currently planning multiple sequels, franchises and cinematic universes. While there are rumors as to how many films will be made, some reports suggest up to 10. – 12, It is best to wait for official announcements to confirm these figures. This year, we can expect the release of four highly anticipated franchise films – Yaariyan 2, Dream Girl 2, Gadar 2 and Tiger 3 – with a total of Rs. Earning around 450-500 crores collectively.
Most of these huge-ticket sequels and franchises have big stars like Shah Rukh, Salman, Akshay, Hrithik, Karthik all demanding huge bucks and in return offering huge box office collections. Add up all the numbers and the total money at stake can be jaw-dropping. Trade analyst Komal Nahata ventured to speculate, saying, “Making an assumption, one can say that perhaps Rs 1000 crores is riding on the fortunes of these franchise films.” Distributor and analyst Raj Bansal accepts this claim as correct and says, “There is a burden of thousands of crores on the sequel and franchise.”
Sequel Or Original, Where Is B-Town’s Focus?
Are Bollywood producers betting big on the franchise model? Anees Bazmee, who gave Bollywood the ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ franchise, feels its originality begets franchises and sequels. He says, “When a film becomes a hit, a franchise is created. So, the first film doesn’t have a franchise, you see. ‘No Entry’ and ‘Welcome’ were not franchise films. If you think you can make a sequel with the same passion and love with which you made the first film, then you should definitely make a franchise. Should. After a hit film, the audience has even bigger expectations from its sequel.”
Komal Nahata is succinct in his opinion when he says, “The biggest hit of recent times ‘Pathan’ is not a sequel.” Film exhibitor Akshay Rathi supports the argument by saying, “The focus is not just on franchises. ‘Maidan’, Neeraj Pandey’s next, ‘Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan’, ‘Jawan’, ‘Dunky’ and Akshay Kumar’s Some films that will be worth the time, money and intelligence of the audience.”
Raj Bansal says, “I don’t think Bollywood is dependent on a franchise model. Unfortunately, some films were made as remakes and barring a few all did not do well. The success rate of sequels is high because it is established. The fact is that the earlier film did really well. Hence, the makers feel that making another film on the same pattern will guarantee success.”
Big stars means big money!
Hiring a big star means shelling out a lot of money. And most of the Bollywood sequels are based on the images of stars and superstars. The big spend, says Atul Mohan, is necessary because, “Today, films are not just confined to the local market, but have a global reach, and hence, require higher investments to meet the rising expectations of the audience. Big-budget productions require an increase in the use of visual effects, which require advanced technical skills and sophisticated equipment. All this leads to longer film-making times and therefore more money. . To justify these huge expenses, producers hire big stars and are ready to pay exorbitant fees for the same. Ensure their presence in the film.”
Raj Bansal chimes in when he says, “It’s only the actors’ fees that add to the budget. For example, Kartik Aaryan doing Bhool Bhulaiyaa will add 30 crores to the budget, while Akshay Kumar doing the film, It will add 100 crores. The cost of shooting remains the same.”
Akshay Rathi argues that you can get big stars in small budget films. He says, “Small budget films can be made with big stars as well. Tanhaji or Bhola’s budget will be much higher than Drishyam 2’s budget. Big budget is needed not for stars but for films that make big money.” There is scale. As long as there is this clarity between the makers and everyone on the value chain, films will do well. As we say in the industry, it is not the films or the stories that fail, it is the budget that fails It happens.
Anees Bazmee also agrees and says, “I don’t think the budget should be increased just because you have a big star. A film’s budget should be based on the mood and requirements of the film. For example, in Drishyam 2 There is a big star. Ajay Devgan, but I don’t think it is a big budget film.”
sequels are easy to sell
Sequels and franchises have built on the popularity of established stories and characters. While watching the sequel, the audience is already in the mood to relate to their favorite heroes. Komal Nahta explains, “The ground work has already been done with established and popular characters. From the audience’s perspective, you feel the urge to see more of a character and story that you are already invested in. “
Anees Bazmee argues, “Baburao Apte of ‘Hera Pheri’, Majnu of ‘Welcome’ and Uday Shetty are iconic characters. People love to watch them again and again. The films of any franchise have to be made without corruption and nefarious ambition.” Should. Make a film from your heart. If you don’t, people will come to know that you have done business maths and are trying to fool the audience.”
Akshay Rathi talks about the other aspect of making a sequel and explains, “The familiarity of a franchise film clearly helps when it comes to the awareness that has been there since day one. have already invested in the new film. But on the other hand, there is also the expectation created by these franchises. If you don’t elevate each installment of the franchise and increase its entertainment quotient, it becomes a curse.”
Raj Bansal feels that choosing the right films and characters is also important for the sequel. He says, “As an industry man, I would have expected ‘Dhoom 4’. I would have expected another ‘Munnabhai’, ‘Hera Pheri’ and ‘Singham’ film. Unfortunately, no one can plan on those lines. Not making. Other films that are not so successful that sequels are being planned.” Atul Mohan further elaborates and says, “The films need to be well-crafted and presented, otherwise, they may end up like the two franchise films of 2022 that performed poorly – ‘Heropanti 2’ and ‘Ek Villain Returns’.”
Are we just copying the Marvel formula?
Rohit Shetty has already proved that you can create a cop universe and films like Singham, Simmba and Sooryavanshi are a testament to the success of creating a cinematic universe as Marvel has done in Hollywood. Similarly, Yash Raj Films is creating a detective world by bringing together heroes like Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik. Raj Bansal puts it bluntly, “The police universe and detective universe models are completely inspired by Hollywood’s MCU model.”
Komal Nahta says, “Before the release of Pathan, there was no talk of a franchise or a sequel. The detective world is following a Hollywood model, but it is a crossover between existing movie timelines. When Pathan 2 comes out So we can say, ‘Oh, that movie is riding on the glory of Pathan’. We’ve always looked at Hollywood and this cosmic saga is an inspiration. We just have to see how it works.”
Anees Bazmee feels inspiration is good. He says, “Hollywood has big movies and franchises. There is nothing wrong in being inspired by that. All Tiger movies will be good and it becomes a huge craze with Pathan and Tiger together.”
go to the core
All is said and done, only those films that are good get success. When producers tell a good story, the audience always responds well and brings success and box office glory. Atul Mohan explains, “2022 was not a particularly great year for the film industry. But, the two biggest hits were ‘Drishyam 2’ and ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’, both of which were part of franchises. While the franchises offer certain Advantages like easy marketing and brand recognition, are never a guarantee of success.”
Raj Bansal bridges this idea, as he says, “Earlier they used to make franchises for successful films like Dhoom, Hera Pheri and Singham. Later everyone wants to do the same thing with less successful cinema. This is a sure failure.”
Finally, Anees Bazmee offers simple but ultimate perspective when he says, “I don’t think sequels and franchises will work only if they have big budgets and big stars. There have been many big budget sequels and originals that flopped.” Films be it sequels or originals, they should have heart and they need to connect emotionally with the audience.” That’s a million dollar idea right there.