A couple of months ago we had highlighted in 3 longs & 3 shorts that the Telugu superhit was topping Netflix’s charts in USA – see https://marcellus.in/story/
Now, as Simon Abrams, writes something even more unusual is happening: “The Telugu-language Indian action spectacular “RRR,” or “Rise, Roar, Revolt,” was already a worldwide box office winner when it was released in March, grossing $65 million during its opening weekend. But it took an unusual second release for the period epic from director S.S. Rajamouli to become a word-of-mouth smash across the United States. Now in its 10th week, it’s the rare Indian hit to catch on with American viewers outside the Indian diaspora, thanks to the unusual decision to relaunch the film weeks after it had already played across the country on 1,200 screens…the movie has now grossed $14 million at the American box office and played in 175 additional theaters across 34 states. By contrast, the Telugu-language crime drama “Pushpa: The Rise — Part 1,” the highest-earning Indian movie of last year, made only $1.32 million during its American release.”
So what is a ‘second release’ and why did RRR get one and that too in America? You should read the entire NYT story (reprinted by the Indian Express) to understand how quality content now finds a global market. Here is an excerpt:
“The story of how “RRR” broke through in the U.S. involves a rare relaunch — sold to moviegoers as an “encoRRRe” — by Variance in conjunction with an independent consultant, Josh Hurtado, and Sarigama Cinemas, the movie’s original distributor.
Marchetti…saw the film’s potential crossover appeal after repeatedly watching it with enthusiastic audiences in March. Hurtado, the main consultant at the independently run Potentate Films, also felt the movie had universal appeal…Together, the two contacted Sarigama Cinemas to collaborate on a one-night-only theatrical revival of “RRR.”…The ticket sales for those June 1 screenings were so impressive that Marchetti and Hurtado soon expanded their encoRRRe plans….
After some negotiations with Sarigama Cinemas, Hurtado and Marchetti spent a hectic month planning the rerelease. Some American programmers and exhibitors were sold on “RRR” just because of Hurtado and Marchetti’s pitch. Beth Barrett, for instance, screened the movie on June 1 at the Seattle International Film Festival Cinema Uptown….
Gregory Laemmle, the president of the West Coast theater chain that bears his name, attended the Seattle screening after booking “RRR” at three of the Laemmle Theaters’ California locations. (“RRR” has since gone on to play at five Laemmle theaters.) Laemmle was already a believer, sight unseen, thanks partly to Marchetti’s recommendation and partly to enthusiastic social media responses from the initial release. Ticket sales at Laemmle theaters were high enough to warrant a weeklong engagement, which began June 3. “But after seeing the movie, I knew that I would need to clear space for that run to play” longer, Laemmle said….“There was an overall wave of joy throughout,” Cacioppo said by email, adding later. “You could feel the room smiling, the jaws dropping.”
Jake Isgar at the Alamo Drafthouse chain said there were at least 10 rounds of spontaneous applause from a packed screening in San Francisco. “This movie is great on whatever-sized screen you watch, but it’s next-level in a full theater with a rabid audience,” he added.
Hurtado said that many encoRRRe attendees praise the film for the same reasons that had previously dissuaded them from watching new Indian movies: “long run times, song and dance numbers, and ridiculous action” he said. “People come out saying they wish that this three-hour movie were longer.”
Marchetti has also found that “RRR” has become a “gateway drug” for new Indian movie fans….”
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