AFM: Indian Epic 'Baahubali' Set for Latin America Releases
The blockbuster is also opening in China soon and has been sold to 20 major territories, including Korea and Taiwan
Sun Distribution Group has secured rights to release Indian epic Baahubali in major Latin American territories. The Buenos Aires-based distributor has released high-profile U.S. titles in the region, such as The Butler and The Imitation Game.
Its upcoming releases include Terence Malick's Knight of Cups.
The first installment of a two-part epic, Baahubali: The Beginning revolves around warring brothers battling for control of an ancient kingdom. The Telugu-language blockbuster was dubbed in other Indian languages, becoming the most successful release in India, collecting $80 million during its summer run. The film was directed by S. S. Rajamouli and produced by Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni of Arka Mediaworks.
Arka Mediaworks International, headed by former Cannes Director's Fortnight artistic advisor Francois Da Silva, was set up as a subsidiary to facilitate international licensing of the film and has already sold Baahubali to over 20 major international territories. These include China, where the film will receive a wide release this month via E-Stars Films. In addition, the title was earlier acquired for Taiwan by Creative Century Entertainment and for Korea by Entermode Corp.
In Latin America, the film is expected to roll out towards the end of this year and into the first quarter of 2016 in such countries as Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Venezuela, among others.
“Baahubali has achieved so many things and acquired such a special position in Indian cinema that we are in the fortunate position of being able to negotiate with the top distributors in territories around the world,” said Da Silva.
Baahubali was billed as India's "biggest film" in its posters, given the two-part saga was budgeted at $40 million, considered the highest ever for any Indian film. Baahubali: The Conclusion, which has been partly filmed, is set for release at the end of 2016, again directed by Rajamouli. In addition to some sequences shot in Bulgaria, the production was mostly lensed at the Ramoji Studios in Hyderabad, home of the Telugu film industry, Tollywood.
Despite a robust South Indian film industry, the Indian box office is usually dominated by Hindi-language Bollywood fare from Mumbai. But Baahubali was the rare crossover hit that featured leading regional talent, such as actors Rana Daggubati and Prabhas along with actresses Anushka Shetty and Tamannaah Bhatia.
“Our success shows that the market and business potential for a regional or Southern film, if done right, can be much larger,” Baahubali producer Yarlagadda told THR. “Also, it shows that with the right content, marketing and partnerships, a film can appeal pan India and also travel internationally and not be limited to a single region or industry.”
While the film has so far only played in diaspora markets in an attempt to bolster its mainstream foreign potential, including in China, Baahubali was given an international cut by Vincent Tabaillon whose credits include The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans, Taken 2 and Now You See Me.