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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Record Breaking Debut for Rajinikanth's Kabali Beating Salman Khan's Sultan, As Producer Discusses Piracy And A Sequel






Kabali film was released in approximately 8000-10000 screens all over the world, which includes 480 screens in the US, 490 in Malaysia and above 500 in Gulf countries.

Record Debuts For Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth's 'Kabali' As Producer Discusses Piracy And A Sequel

Rajinikanth’s Kabali has lived up to the high expectation and opened to packed houses across India






An Indian fan lights a candle to bless an image of Bollywood star Rajinikanth outside a cinema on the first day of release of his film ‘Kabali’ in Chennai on July 22, 2016. Tickets sold out well before the release and were changing hands on the black market for up to 5,000 rupees ($75) — a huge sum for most Indians. (Photo credit: ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s crime drama Kabali had gangbuster openings in the U.S., India, the U.K., the Middle East and Malaysia, breaking several records despite the leaking of a print shortly after the first early morning screenings in India.

Producer Kalippuli S Thanu does not believe that piracy hurt ticket sales because the print was of such poor quality with a chunk of footage missing, and because Rajinikanth’s legion of fans were determined to see the film in cinemas.

In an exclusive interview with FORBES, Thanu revealed a sequel is almost certain and he predicted writer-director Pa. Ranjith’s film, which also features Radhika Apte, Dinesh Ravi, Kalaiyarasan, Kishore, John Vijay and Taiwan’s Winston Chao, will generate profits of 70-80 crore ($10.5 million-$12 million). He said the production budget is 170 crore ($25.5 million) and he recouped more than 200 crore ($30 million) from pre-sales including the satellite rights for the Hindi, Telugu and Malayalam markets to Fox’s Star TV.


In North America, where CineGalaxy is the distributor, ComScore reported the opening day at more than $1.9 million on Thursday and $721,000 on Friday. The Saturday take was about $502,000 for a 3-day total of approximately $3.2 million.

Released on 1,000 screens in north India by Fox Star, Kabali grossed $1.1 million on Friday, hailed as the highest first-day figure for any South Indian film in the north, which suggests a 3-day bounty of $6 million-$7 million. “ Rajinikanth’s Kabali has lived up to the high expectation and opened to packed houses across India ,” Fox Star CEO Vijay Singh tells FORBES. “It was expected to garner a massive opening given the phenomenal star power of Rajinikanth.”

In the Telugu states the film generated 8.80 crore ($1.3 million) on Friday, a record for a dubbed film, beating Shankar-Vikram’s I, according to the website Telugu360.com. The first day total across all India was estimated at 44.75 crore ($6.7 million) by Box Office India, which would beat Sultan’s 36.54 crore ($5.5 million) debut to create an industry record.

A print of the film, minus 24 minutes, was uploaded on Vimeo at 5.10 am local time on Friday, following the first screenings at 4 am. Thanu says the film was recorded on a mobile phone in a cinema. Ten minutes later Tamil underground site Tamilrockers.com posted another print. The Vimeo link was visited 1.85 million times within 12 hours. Anticipating the piracy, Thanu had petitioned courts to ask Internet service providers to block 200 illegal websites.

“We are very happy that the government supported the courts and we appreciate the courts giving such an order,” the V Creations chief says. “It is unfortunate that a legitimate site like Vimeo was involved and did not take it down automatically. The authorities were able to curb the piracy on cable TV.” Video content distribution, aggregation and development company Whacked Out Media, which is working with the producer, successfully asked Vimeo to take down the print.

India


‘Kabali’ (V Creations)

The producer is concerned that some cinemas are charging as much as 600 crore ($90), six times higher than the government-fixed ticket price and is seeking an explanation from those exhibitors, while also lamenting the black market in tickets.

Rajinikanth plays Kabaleeshwaran aka Kabali, a gangster who protects the Tamil laborers who work in Malaysia. After a violent gang war he is wrongly convicted on numerous charges and sent to jail for 25 years. Upon release, he searches for his wife Kumudhavalli (Radhika Apte), who was pregnant when destiny separated them. He seeks the help of his old gang members including Ameer (John Vijay) and youngster Jeeva (Dinesh) in a battle with his long-time foe Veera (Kishore) and his business partner (Winston Chao).

In India reviewers lavished praise on Rajini’s performance but found flaws with the pacing and plot. Telugu360’s Krishna lamented the slow narration but concluded, “After a series of mediocre films, Rajani strikes back with a stellar performance. The superstar brings in his magnanimous style in its full glory and his screen presence fills the screen with energy.”

The Indian Express EXPR -0.84%’ Goutham VS said the movie falls just short of a great cinematic experience but added, “Pa Ranjith needs to be credited for giving ample scope to Rajinikanth to reinvent himself and this phenomenal actor never ceases to amaze us.”

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