Sun Pictures, the film production arm of Sun TV Network, has some reason to cheer. Having forayed into film production, acquisition and distribution less than a year ago, six out of the seven Tamil films acquired and released by the leading media company have turned out to be hits, including two that have been declared as smash hits.
Venturing into films Kaadhalil through Vizhundhein, Sun Pictures has since acquired and distributed Thenaavattu, Dindugal Sarathy, Padikkaadhavan, Thee, Ayan and Maasilamani. Except Thee, where the distributors lost about15 per cent of their investments or the print and publicity costs, every other film has given handsome returns to the distributors.
Among the hits, Ayan and Kaadhalil Vizhundhein have been declared as smash hits. While Ayan, acquired at a cost of Rs 18 crore, is expected to gross about Rs 50 crore and fetch a distributors’ share of over Rs 25 crore from all territories, Kaadhalil Vizhundhein, acquired for Rs 3.5 crore, collected a distributors’ share of Rs 8.5-9.2 crore.
“Sun Pictures looks for basic entertainment value in the films that they acquire With an eye on attracting the family audience, they shun films with excessive violence or sex. That’s the secret of the success of their portfolio of films,” says K S Mahalingam, head, distribution, AGS Entertainment, that distributes Sun Pictures’ films in Tamil Nadu.
While three films were small budget ones, Padikaadhavan and Ayan were big budget ones, where the acquisition costs ranged between Rs 14-18 crore. Now, it has again turned its attention on small budget films starting with Maasilamani.
“Once Sun acquires a film from the original producer, it palms it off territory-wise to a set of distributors at a marginal profit. As a result, there is no big increase in cost as the film changes hands. Where it actually gains is the satellite rights of the film, which it gets at almost nil cost.” says a veteran distributor, who did not wish to be named.
Later, it then turns its attention to aggressive marketing and the network, being an established media empire, comes handy in taking this across all segments of the media – television, radio and print.
“They are smart marketing people and the fact that they have a successful media empire gives them complete control over the campaign. Hence, their success rate is not surprising, only a failure will be surprising,” says G Dhananjayan, chief operating officer, entertainment business, Moser Baer Entertainment.