MUMBAI: It was only the beginning of the saga when in August this year UTV Motion Pictures acquired the worldwide rights (distribution, audio and home video) for Anees Bazmee directed Welcome from Firoz Nadiadwala.
UTV acquired the rights for approximately Rs 47 crores (plus Rs 3 crores for prints). And this when the movie was still in its final stages of post production. According to information available with Businessofcinema.com, the movie has been made on a budget of approximately Rs 30 crores.
Now almost two months later, UTV Motion Pictures has sold the distribution rights of the movie to Studio 18 for Rs 52 crores.
Since the initial bidding for the rights, corporates like Eros International, UTV Motion Pictures, Studio 18, Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision, Balaji Motion Pictures, Zee Telefilms and BIG Motion Picture evinced interest in the distribution of Welcome.
Welcome is Bazmee’s first directorial venture after the release of his last film No Entry in 2005.
Welcome stars Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Feroz Khan and Mallika Sherawat.
No Entry was also a multi starrer comic film, which had done a net collection of Rs 44 crores. So when Bazmee attempted a film in the same genre, it definitely made for a safe and big bet.
Akshay Kumar in recent times has seen tremendous success at the box office with releases like Namastey London, Heyy Babyy and Bhool Bhulaiyaa. The latter is among the top five grossing films of 2007. On the other hand, Heyy Babyy and Namastey London are also amongst Top 10 films at leading multiplex chains. Continued… < Page Break >
Whatâ€™s more, even after UTV clinched the deal, Eros and Studio 18 still kept vying for the filmâ€™s rights. Eros was the worldwide distributor of Akshay Kumar starrer Heyy Babyy and Namastey London. Further, Studio 18 had purchased distribution rights of Namastey London from Eros for Delhi, Gaziabad and Noida.
Thus began a second round of bidding. This time around UTV asked for approximately Rs 56 crores for worldwide rights, straight up by Rs 9 crores. While it still kept negotiating with Eros and Studio 18, the music rights were sold to Times Music for approximately Rs 4 crores. “The music of Welcome will release by 15 or 17 November,” informs Times Music COO Adarsh Gupta.
So with Studio 18 emerging winner in the second round of bidding for Welcome, UTV bought the film for Rs 47 crores and sold it for Rs 56 crores in a matter of three months. Hence Studio 18, which incidentally was also a part of the initial bidding process, has now coughed up Rs 52 crores for Welcome (excluding audio rights) instead of Rs 47 crores (including audio rights).
Welcome is being targeted for a release on 21 December. This also happens to be the day when Aamir Khan’s debut directorial venture Taare Zameen Par is scheduled to release. While promotions of Khanâ€™s film have already begun, Welcomeâ€™s promotion plans are likely to start on television today (6 November).