Akshay Kumar’s producers may need to re-evaluate his films

MUMBAI: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time” – Abraham Lincoln.

In hindsight, this statement by the 16th President of the United States fits to a ‘T’ with the kind of films that actor Akshay Kumar has been dishing out lately. The final brunt of this has been faced by his latest flick Chandni Chowk To China, which has not found favour with the audience.

Akshay, who is among the top league of actors, signed movie after movie at unheard of prices. While the hype around his films may have been there, 2008 was certainly not a rocking one for this actor at the box office. An exercise in re-evaluation is certainly called for with Chandni Chowk To China’s poor quality, the ho-hum performance of the animation film Jumbo, losses suffered by sub-distributors for Singh Is Kinng and the disastrous fate of Tashan.

Nonetheless his forthcoming list of films is impressive to say the least. The actor has in his kitty movies like Tasveer with Percept Picture Company, Kambakkth Ishq with Sajid Nadiadwala and Eros International, Housefull with Sajid Nadiadwala, Blue with Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision, De Dhana Dhan with Venus and an untitled film with Vipul Shah’s Blockbuster Movie Entertainers opposite Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

 Tasveer  Rs 40-60 crores
 Kambakkth Ishq  Rs 60-80 crores
 De Dhana Dhan  Rs 60-80 crores
 Blue  Rs 100-120 crores

Out of these, only Kambakkth Ishq was sold to Eros at a very early date. The others are still unsold and have no distributors and buyers as yet due to the astronomical asking prices.

Post CC2C, the buzz doing rounds in the film trade is that Kumar’s future slate of films will definitely feel the pinch. Most distributors are of the opinion that Akshay Kumar’s producers will have to revaluate the price of his forthcoming films if they want to sell the rights.

"Firstly, these movies didn’t sell because the producers were asking for very high prices and no distributor is ready to shell out so much money. Secondly, Akshay’s movies have not fared well at the box office in 2008 and now even Chandni Chowk To China has not opened as was expected. Thirdly, the market does not support recovery of such highly budgeted films and whatever little chances there were, are lost due to the economic meltdown," says a distributor who did not wish to be named.

"The India distributor share of Akshay Kumar movies is in the range of Rs 220 – 360 million (Rs 22 – Rs 36 crores), with the lowest one being Heyy Babyy and the highest one being Welcome. In addition to that, if one totals the share of music, home video, satellite and overseas rights, it comes up to another Rs 350 million (Rs 35 crores). Going by this average, his films do not support recovery of more than Rs 600 million (Rs 60 crores)," explains the distribution head of a corporate company.

Ironically, the price of his forthcoming films starts at Rs 600 million and touch as high a ceiling as Rs 1.20 billion (Rs 120 crores). However, now the producers have no choice but to bring down the value of his movies, or most producers will have to opt for selling the films on commission basis.