Films can now mint money re­gard­less of box­of­fice col­lec­tions, thanks to sales of satel­lite rights; top stars ben­e­fit the most from this

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Rishabh Suri rishabh.suri@htlive.com

The throng at the box of­fice on Fri­day is still the lit­mus test for a film’s com­mer­cial suc­cess, but these days, satel­lite rights have be­gun to play an equally big role in the world of cin­ema.

The lat­est ru­mour is that Sal­man Khan’s new film, Race 3, made on a bud­get of about ₹120 crore, has al­ready sold its satel­lite rights for a mas­sive ₹100 crore. That’s nearly 85% of the money re­cov­ered even be­fore the film’s re­lease. In re­cent times, Ak­shay Ku­mar’s film Pad Man, made on a bud­get of about ₹20 crore, as per trade fig­ures, sold the satel­lite rights for ₹40 crore, mak­ing a 100% profit in­de­pen­dent of ticket sales.

Bol­ly­wood trade ex­pert Atul Mo­han says, “Satel­lite rights mean that a film can be playe across any chan­nel that has paid for the rights. That chan­nel can also share it with other channels, if it wants. Nowa­days, channels have their own on­line stream­ing plat­forms as well.” This, there­fore, in­cludes ev­ery sin­gle film that we watch on tele­vi­sion.


Trade ex­perts and film-mak­ers unan­i­mously agree that when it comes to big stars like the Khans — Shah Rukh, Aamir and Sal­man — and Ak­shay Ku­mar and Ajay Devgn, satel­lite rights for their films could sell for a very high price.

While de­clin­ing to com­ment on the ru­moured fig­ure, Race 3 pro­ducer Ramesh Tau­rani says, “Big-bud­get films like Race 3 need to sell off the rights at a high cost in or­der to en­ter the safe zone.”

Pr­ernaa Arora, co-pro­ducer of Pad Man, says, “The price (of the satel­lite rights) goes from high to low ac­cord­ing to this list: at the top is a film that’s a part of a fran­chise; com­edy is at num­ber two; fam­ily films are at num­ber three.” She adds that a pro­ducer “can ask for a price that’s higher than the film’s bud­get”.

Arora fur­ther says, “I have a huge num­ber rid­ing on Shahid Kapoor, who stars in my film Batti Gul Me­ter Chalu, as he’s satel­lite-friendly.”


Among stars at the very peak of Mt Bol­ly­wood, fees mean some­thing else now.

Trade ex­pert Ko­mal Nahta says, “If a film pro­ducer asks for a huge price (be­fore re­lease), and a chan­nel isn’t will­ing to pay, then they put in these clauses — if the film earns ₹100-150 crore, the film­mak­ers will be paid this amount; if it col­lects ₹200 crore, then this amount; and so on.

Many big ac­tors don’t charge any (act­ing) fees now. Their fee is the (share of) satel­lite rights and (box-of­fice) prof­its.”

Race 3 is an ex­cep­tion to these ne­go­ti­a­tions, be­cause Sal­man has re­port­edly struck an ex­cep­tional deal. Re­ports say that he has sold the rights of his next four films to a chan­nel for ₹400 crore!

What about the pro­ducer’s prof­its? Nahta says, “These days, it’s the stars who make money, es­pe­cially the top stars. Un­less you’re a Karan Jo­har or an Aditya Cho­pra, you don’t make much money; you just have to be happy that you made a film with a big ac­tor. Of course, the neg­a­tive of the film be­longs to the pro­ducer, in part­ner­ship with the star.”

* All fig­ures are in­dus­try es­ti­mates


Satel­lite rights for Pad Man sold for ₹40* crore; Film­mak­ing bud­get: ₹20 crore

Sal­man Khan in Race 3 Satel­lite rights for Race 3 sold for ₹100* crore; Film­mak­ing bud­get: ₹120 crore

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