Big fran­chises get even big­ger with more star power

HT City - - FRONT PAGE - Monika Rawal Kukeja

Fran­chise films seem to have be­come a tried and tested for­mula for film­mak­ers, with ev­ery one of them do­ing well at the box of­fice. To bring some nov­elty into this fa­mil­iar frame­work, it seems that fran­chise own­ers are re­plac­ing one big name with an­other in the lead role.

Af­ter two suc­cess­ful films in the Mur­der se­ries star­ring Em­raan Hashmi, the au­di­ence was equally re­cep­tive to Ran­deep Hooda in the third film. Ar­shad Warsi de­liv­ered a ster­ling per­for­mance in Jolly LLB, but then the se­quel had Ak­shay Ku­mar, and be­came a much big­ger hit. Dhoom is a clas­sic case of a film fran­chise that has cre­ated a buzz with dif­fer­ent ac­tors each time.

This year, we see quite a few such in­stances. Ac­tor San­jay Dutt has re­placed Ran­deep Hooda as the gang­ster in Sa­heb Biwi Aur Gang­ster 3, out on July 27. Dutt has opted out of the com­edy se­ries Dhamaal, mak­ing way for Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor in To­tal Dhamaal, out on De­cem­ber 7. In the ac­tion thriller Race 3, this year’s big Eid re­lease, Sal­man Khan has re­placed Saif Ali Khan.

Bol­ly­wood in­sid­ers feel that a new lead ac­tor en­er­gises a fran­chise. Remo D’Souza, who is di­rect­ing Race 3, says, “There are fran­chises that have a dif­fer­ent lead ac­tor in ev­ery film — and they work. I think by rop­ing in Sal­man, we have only upped the mar­ket value of the Race fran­chise, and we have Anil Kapoor for the re­call value.”

Ex­plain­ing that these cast changes are a two-way process, pro­ducer Pr­ernaa Arora says, “Each ac­tor weighs what’s im­por­tant for their ca­reer, and if they’re not get­ting that kind of value in a [fran­chise] film, they may opt out. Also, if the ac­tor doesn’t have dates and the pro­ducer can’t wait, a fran­chise has to pick the next best op­tion.”

The im­pact on the box of­fice is, in fact, greater with a new lead. Rahul Mit­tra, pro­ducer of Sa­heb Biwi Aur Gang­ster 3, says, “Big names mat­ter in terms of ini­tial pull and, then, if you can re­tain the core of the fran­chise in terms of story and con­ti­nu­ity, the au­di­ence gets drawn into that world.”

Trade an­a­lyst Ko­mal Nahta be­lieves that the new lead’s stature helps the fran­chise. “If you see, in all these fran­chises, mak­ers have taken big­ger names, so there’s no ques­tion about pos­i­tive re­sults at the box of­fice,” he says.


Ran­deep Hooda (above) is re­placed by San­jay Dutt (right) in Sa­heb Biwi Aur Gang­ster 3; Ajay Devgn (in­set) is the new face in To­tal Dhamaal, re­plac­ing Dutt


Sal­man Khan (above) re­places Saif Ali Khan (top) in Race 3


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