One of Bollywood’s biggest surprises of late has been the resounding success of Vivek Agnihotri The Kashmir Files. How this low-budget movie managed to cross the Rs. 250 crore mark shocked the trade and industry. Zee Studios’ release strategy also helped and got people talking. Bhumika Tewari, Head of Revenue and Distribution (India & Overseas), Zee Studios, in an exclusive interview with bollywood hungamatalked about this subject among several other things.
EXCLUSIVE: The Kashmir Files is probably the ONLY movie that made a 250% profit on ROI; Zee Studios Head of Cast Shares INTERESTING Details
Been The Kashmir Files acquired on MG, revenue sharing or commission?
We are the co-producers of the film. There was therefore no question of releasing the film in MG, in revenue sharing or in commission. It’s our film and we released it ourselves in India and abroad.
Contrary to Tashkent Files (2019), the first film by Vivek Agnihotri…
Yes, we were just the exit partners. With The Kashmir Fileswe were on board from the word ‘Go’.
What profit did the film make, in terms of cinema shares?
It’s a case study in itself because I think it’s the only movie that made 250% profit on ROI!
It is said that The Kashmir Files is a bigger hit than Jai Santoshi Maa (1975)…
We really don’t know how Jai Santoshi Maa is a 1975 movie. We don’t know its production cost, ticket price, data, etc. But I guess over the past two decades, The Kashmir Files must be (one of the biggest hits in terms of ROI). After all, can anyone remember a film that has done such business relative to its cost over the past two decades? So Jai Santoshi Maa I guess that’s the closest example.
The Kashmir Files is a true sleeper hit and it has made it clear that a movie like this can also do very well, even if it lacks the mainstream star cast and isn’t the usual Bollywood fare. People were not aware of the Kashmir issue. There was enough curiosity among the people to know what had happened. Moreover, people also liked the storytelling style.
Did Zee intentionally release the film on inferior screens? What was the strategy?
Absolutely. It was a hard-hitting “A” rated film. Tashkent Files were published with approximately 250 to 275 prints. It happened a week ago Kalank and it was a dry and political subject. How many of these movies did so well at the box office before Tashkent Files? Moreover, students would not rush to cinemas in the morning to watch such a film. So we decided we wanted limited shows of Tashkent Files and that too after 4:00 p.m. This was done for the film to record a wholesome occupation.
We originally planned to open The Kashmir Files in 250 to 450 prints. The campaign, however, worked very well. The trailer received a good response. Therefore, we opened on day 1 with 650 screens. We were present in all the cities of the country. So if a city has 30 screens, we picked the top 2 cinemas. However, when we opened up to skyrocketing numbers, we grew to 4,000 screens by the end of the week! Every day we added screens and shows. The team was in the office 24/7, making sure content was getting to theaters on time and contracts were being signed.
It was heartening to see that the producers chose to bring The Kashmir Files in cinemas and not directly on OTT…
When we saw The Kashmir Fileswe realized that it is more impactful and attractive than Tashkent Files. Not to mention, we were struggling with post-COVID theatrical performances.
We all sat down last September to find a way out. And yes, there was a lure to publish it directly on OTT. Had The Kashmir Files been published directly on digital; we wouldn’t have earned the same kind of profits as when it hit theaters. A movie with a bigger star cast gets Rs. 100 or 150 crores for direct digital release. Yes The Kashmir Files received double the amount for an OTT release than what it would have gotten, even then it wouldn’t have matched the profits we ultimately made from the stunning theatrical release.
The Kashmir Files released in the middle of a few big budget movies…
Yes, our movie came out with Radhe Shyam. A week later, Bachchan Panandey published. So if you take too many shows and the occupancy isn’t encouraging, toh aap phas jaate ho do filmon ke beech mein. However, if your movie is doing exceptionally well with screen count, then even the theaters have your back. It is therefore a model that we have adopted to Files of Tashkent, article 15 and now The Kashmir Files. Even if it’s a challenge to explain that to the stars who want us to go as far as possible (laughs)!
So it wasn’t as if Radhe Shyamthe creators of did not authorize enough shows to The Kashmir Files…
Absolutely not. Also, after watching Radhe Shyam‘s trailer, we have an idea of how it will perform at the box office. We had an idea that maybe we can take advantage of it. I mean, it’s business at the end of the day. However, we expected Bachchan Panandey excel.
Akshay Kumar said he thought that Bachchan Panandey didn’t work because of The Kashmir Files. I believe that even this film’s emissions were reduced due to The Kashmir Files‘amazing race in the second week…
It’s because we were supporting at the box office. In week 2, we did it all. Simple screens started playing our movie. Initially, we consciously did not play The Kashmir Files in single screens, these rooms usually have a capacity of a thousand people. How many would buy a ticket to such huge theaters for a political thriller and a movie with a non-star cast? However, the content of the film touched people for whatever reason.
On how many screens was the film released overseas?
We started with 200 screens. We didn’t leave a single country and our film was filming all over the world. Upon completion, the film was shown on approximately 700 screens overseas.
Recently, there have been reports that the Singapore Censor Board has banned The Kashmir Files. What is the latest update?
There are a few rounds going on regarding the censorship process in Singapore. Their point of view is that the film contains a few hard-hitting scenes that they object to. It’s not like the Singapore Censor Board banned it. The film has not yet been erased.
Is the Zee Studios team still trying to get out The Kashmir Files in Singapore?
Well now it has premiered on Zee5, having followed the traditional eight-week window between theatrical release and digital release. So we let it go.
Read also : With 9 million views and more than 300 million streaming minutes in one week, The Kashmir Files breaks all records on ZEE5
More Pages: The Kashmir Files Box Office Collection
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