SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Begining released in the summer of 2015 and was one of the biggest blockbusters in Indian film history. Baahubali was made on a budget of Rs 120 crore and became the highest grossing Indian film domestically, and the third highest grossing Indian film worldwide. It was also the first South Indian film to gross over Rs 600 crore worldwide and the first non-Hindi film to gross over Rs 100 crore (in the dubbed Hindi version).
Far from resting on their laurels, however, the producers — Arka Media — already got to work on Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.
Karan Johar, who distributed the Hindi version of the first part, took to Twitter on Friday (August 5), to announce the release date. Karan tweeted: "Baahubali – The Conclusion releases on the 28th of April 2017.” Karan’s Dharma Productions and AA Films, who had earlier distributed Baahubali, will jointly release the sequel in Hindi, along with the Telugu and Tamil versions in the Northern India markets.
In an exclusive chat with Firstpost, Baahubali producer Shobu Yarlagadda said, “Director SS Rajamouli is now shooting the climax of the film, which should be wrapped up by 31 August. In October, he will complete some crucial linking scenes and then do two songs and by November-end, the entire shoot will be over. The VFX and editing work is going on simultaneously. The first look posters will come out by November. We are gearing up for a release in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi on 28 April 2017, in time for the long May Day weekend.”
The cast of the film remains the same – Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Sathyaraj, Anushka Shetty, Ramya Krishnan. However in the technical team, Lee Whitaker (he did the bull fight in Baahubali) will be the new action director instead of Peter Haynes and Kamalakannan has replaced Srinivasa Mohan as VFX supervisor.
Shobu said that this time they will be doing a lot of merchandising and roping in major brands before the release of Baahubali 2. They will be coming out with books, novels, animation and gaming culled from Baahubali characters. Said Shobu: “We were very impressed the way producer Kalaipuli Thanu marketed Rajinikanth’s Kabali. In fact we have already started the theatrical and other rights sales of the film.”
Baahubali 2's overseas rights have been sold, for the highest ever price for a south Indian film, to Chennai-based K Productions Raja Rajan. Rajan has also brought Tamil Nadu theatricals of Baahubali 2. The combined deal amount is rumoured to be close to Rs 100 crore.
Raja Rajan of K Productions said, "We are happy to be associated with Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, as the film is the biggest brand in Indian cinema. We feel it has potential and will create new records.” Of being new to the game as they have only handled the overseas business of Tamil film Sethupathi and are now producing Rana Daggubati’s bilingual 1945 in Telugu and Tamil, Rajan said, "We are confident that we can market Baahubali 2 successfully in the overseas and Tamil Nadu markets.”
Meanwhile, Karnataka theatrical rights are being finalised. Kerala is likely to be picked up by Global United Media (GUM) who were connected with the first film as well. Theatrical rights for Andhra and Telangana will be finalised shortly for around Rs 100 crore.
The total sale of South India theatrical rights is expected to be between Rs 180-200 crores. The Hindi theatricals may touch Rs 120 crore, so the domestic market may contribute a whopping Rs 300 crore to Baahubali 2 — before its release.
The trade rumour is that overseas rights for all three language versions of Baahubali 2 have been sold together for a record Rs 52 crore! In short, the film will make anything around Rs 350 crore from pre-release theatrical sales. What that means, is that worldwide Baahubali 2 will have to gross over Rs 550 crore when it releases next April, to become profitable for its buyers.
The south Indian satellite television rights for Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam has been picked up by Star India for a record amount. The producers are now negotiating for the Hindi satellite rights as Star India and Sony are both in a bidding war for it.
SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Conclusion releasing on 28 April 2017 is definitely the one the trade is watching out for.