Shankar's I made a huge business, sold for highest ever

Aascar Ravichandran’s upcoming film ‘I’ directed by Shankar has become one of the hottest movies in the trade circuit. The film that has Vik...

I made a huge business
Aascar Ravichandran’s upcoming film ‘I’ directed by Shankar has become one of the hottest movies in the trade circuit. The film that has Vikram and Amy Jackson in the lead has music by the Academy Award winner AR Rahman.

I theatrical rights have been sold for Tamil Nadu at a mind blowing record price to Sushma Cine Arts. It is the single biggest deal in recent times, though Aascar Films are not willing to reveal the amount. On the other hand,

"The movie is fetching record distribution rights across India. Smart business sense is to sell the rights when the demand is high. The distribution rights for a few territories in South India might go to other distributors. If that happens, Aascar will be breaking his own rule," says a Chennai-based trade source.

'I' has been in the making for more than two years. Vikram did not sign any other project till he completed the shooting of the movie. Now, it is scheduled for a Diwali release worldwide with Hindi, Chinese, Japanese and English versions also in the pipeline. The demand for distribution rights of 'I' is so high that the Coimbatore territory alone is likely to fetch the producer Rs 12 crore, beating all previous records. 'I' has also become the first Tamil movie to cross the Rs 30-crore mark for the Telugu version. The theatrical rights for the film's Telugu version have been bought by leading distributor Tirupathy Prasad and RB Chowdhary ‘s joined distribution firm Mega Super Good Films for reportedly Rs 30 crores, which is the highest amount ever paid for a dubbed film.

"The previous record was set by superstar Rajinikanth's Enthiran, which fetched Rs 27 crore in the then undivided Andhra Pradesh for the Telugu version. Now, for both Telangana and Andhra the distribution rights of 'I' (Telugu version) has been sold for more than Rs 30 crore," a source said.

Though the makers claim that the movie cost in excess of Rs 100 crore, trade sources it could be around Rs 60 crore. Shankar is known for his unique marketing skills. Veteran Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Chennai recently to release the audio album of 'I'. Shankar had invited top stars of all top South actors for the launch.

Meanwhile, several TV channels are said to be clamouring to buy the satellite rights. Already, the Tamil version's satellite rights have been sold to Jaya TV for a whopping Rs 23 crores. "A Telugu TV channel agreed to offer Rs 7 crores for the film; however, the makers are expecting nearly Rs 10 crores to sell the satellite rights," a source in the know said. Interestingly, only films starring Pawan Kalyan and Mahesh Babu have been sold for such high prices in recent times. It remains to be seen if Shankar's brand name and the massive buzz surrounding I will help the film to be sold at such a high price or not. AR Rahman has scored the music and PC Sreeram is the cinematographer.

The film recently had a high-profile audio launch with Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger and Superstar Rajinikanth gracing the event. The film is said to be a Diwali release.

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