The deal surpasses Aamir Khan's Ghajini, which was bagged at Rs 90 crore, again by The Indian Film Company. This the first three-digit distribution deal for a Bollywood movie that is still in production stage.
Yet it was only last year that the distribution rights of Shah Rukh Khan's Om Shanti Om was grabbed by Eros International for Rs 75 crore, which made headlines in Bollywood.
Vipul Shah, the maker of the film, confirmed that the deal was close to be signed. "We are in talks with The Indian Film Company and should be able to finalise the deal in a week’s time," confirmed Shah. Sandeep Bhargava, CEO of The Indian Film Company, however, said there was nothing confirmed at this point of time.
London Dreams, which also features Ajay Devgan along with Salman Khan, is currently in the production stage and is slated for release in 2009 with a budget of Rs 60-70 crore.
In what has been a growing but new trend in Bollywood, distribution companies are ready to offer staggering amounts to pick up movies on the production floor.
"There is a lack of talent and with just a handful of films that feature the top actors that draw audiences to the cinema halls, the cost of production is increasing. As a result, the cost of acquisition of these movies is accelerating," said a media analyst. Adds Siddharth Roy Kapur, director, UTV Motion Pictures, "Ultimately, studios realise that having an impressive slate of films is essential for the business going forward."
Film producers, who can hawk their movies at a premium, are not complaining. Apart from recovering the cost of the film they are assured of profits even before the movie hits the screens. However, if the movie is a blockbuster, they miss out on the upside of the movie.
Some distribution companies have hit big time. Eros International hit jackpot with Om Shanti Om raking the moolah at the box-office, so did The Indian Film Company, when it acquired the rights of the Akshay Kumar-starrer Welcome for Rs 45 crore (the film's budget was Rs 30 crore) and Singh is Kinng for Rs 60 crore (the film's budget being Rs 35 crore).
However, not all have struck gold. For instance, UTV bought rights to Race and Kismat Konnection from Tips for around Rs 90 crore, while the budget of the two movies together was in the range of Rs 40-45 crore. While Race fared well at the box office, UTV did not recover its money. Kismat Konnection too had a lukewarm response