Producer Bunny Vas is bankrolling multiple projects under GA2 Pictures. In this interview, he talks about Maruthi-directed 'Pakka Commercial', which will hit the cinemas on July 1.
The producer also throws light on why high cinema ticket prices are self-defeatist. He also talks about Allu Arjun's 'Pushpa 2' and other plans concerning Bunny.
Due to the pandemic, businesses have suffered a great deal in the past couple of years. Business has started recovering of late. A wave of new releases is coming out in Telugu. After big-ticket releases, it is time to release mid-sized movies one after another.
Our banner's backlog movies will start releasing on July 1 with the theatrical release of 'Pakka Commercial'.
'Pakka Commercial' is a Maruthi-style commercial entertainer. Gopichand's movies are usually action-oriented. This film gives more significance to comedy. The director has worked with the idea of delivering laughs without resorting to heavy drama. The audience like out-and-out entertainment. The movie doesn't give any message. It's a fun ride that gives a bang for the buck.
'18 Pages' is getting ready. We will release it on September 10 since Nikhil's Karhtikeya 2' is releasing on July 22 and I need to take a 50-day gap at least between two movies of the same hero. 'Vinaro Bhagyamu Vishnu Katha' will release on September 30 for Dasara. Kiran Abbavaram stars in it. A movie with Allu Sirish is going to be out in the month of August. Chandoo Mondeti is working on a script. It is based on a true story. Pavan Sadineni is also working on a script.
On gap between theatrical and OTT release dates: As a producer, I have never released my movies within 35 days of the theatrical release. GA2 Pictures makes entertainers that are best suited to be watched in a theatre. Entertainers that work in the theatre sometimes fail on OTT. Some films are ideally watched with friends and a crowd in a theatre. The theatre-OTT window has become a talk in the film industry. In Bollywood, they have an 8-week window. In Tollywood, too, the gap is going to be widened from what exists now. The era of a mere 2-week gap is going to be over.
On cinema ticket prices: Flexible ticket pricing has been implemented in Telangana to help producers and distributors so that big-budget movies make money. But the audience have their own deserved rates in mind for each film. A small family has to spend Rs 1200 or so just on the tickets. High ticket prices will gradually dissuade the audience from watching movies in theatres. It is for experienced producers not to go overboard with ticket pricing. Before the pandemic, the audience was not binge-watching OTT content. Today the audience are educated and are fully prepared to watch movies on OTT. In this scenario, we can't afford to bungle up with ticket prices.
I can't afford to make movies just for OTT. I need to do films that attract the audience to theatres. I have to make big films. Even when I do small movies, I have to ask myself whether its content has the potential to invite the audience to the theatre. The filmmakers have to figure out what it takes to attract the audience. The characterizations have to get innovative.
As far as 'Pakka Commercial' is concerned, we have opted for minimal cinema ticket prices. Distributors and exhibitors have already been told to adopt our direction.
Slowly, producers are thinking of not opting for high prices unless the budget of the movie is very high. The hero and director's remuneration in Tollywood is just 30% of the total budget. We spend the rest on the production. That's why South Indian films are bringing out such quality films. Bollywood is slowly following the southern culture in order to ensure good quality films are brought out.
A southern hero who delivers a Rs 1000-Cr movie would be legitimate to charge Rs 100 Cr. There is no point in criticizing him.
If a big-budgeted film bombs at the box office, distributors are going to arrive at the production house and demand their monies back. All big heroes feel responsible (and are ready to part with their remuneration). Earlier, losses used to be manageable. In today's big-budget cinema era, the losses are huge if a film flops. Distributors can't hope to regain them in the future from other movies.
At GA2 Pictures, we are going to face a challenge as long as all backlog films are not released. We are ruminating over the changing tastes of the audience with respect to new films. In the last three years, the audience's tastes have undergone a massive shift. Maruthi is intelligent in that he has been doing entertainers. That way 'Pakka Commercial' is a promising project.
The audience are not ready to give average movies a chance, unlike earlier. They are not thrilled about the theatrical experience because of OTT. You have to give them extraordinary content and not average content to pull them to theatres.
Producers with experience must now start making films for OTT as well. If something doesn't suit the theatre, they shouldn't make one for theatres.
I have come to know that 'RRR' is trending at No. 1 in 56 countries on Netflix. 'RRR' is our film, a Telugu film.
On Allu Arjun's future projects: As you all know, 'Pushpa' got sliced up after the first part went on the floors. We are expecting 'Pushpa 2' to be released in Summer next year. Bunny's next project will likely be announced for Dasara this year. 'Pushpa 2' will most likely go on the floors by the end of July this year. Bunny's next project will depend on the availability of directors and what he thinks will suit him the best as a follow up to 'Pushpa 2'. No project was discussed with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. They both met casually recently. Nothing can be said about a probable project with Prashanth Neel either.
'Unstoppable' clicked big-time on AHA recently. Allu Aravind garu and Balakrishna garu have developed good relations. If something exciting comes up, Geetha Arts will definitely produce a movie with Balayya garu.