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Ashs Hollywood film producers cut costs

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Apparently, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's big Hollywood debut, The Last Legion (with actor Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley), is not so big after all. Sources tell us that the film will be getting a limited theatrical release in the USA and will released on DVD soon after. We think this will be a big blow for Ash, who has been pinning her hopes on the film to make a mark on the international film circuit.

The Last Legion has already premiered in Abu Dhabi on April 6 and Russia on April 19, and is slated for a limited release in America on August 24. Says trade analyst Amod Mehra, "For some producers, it's cheaper to release the official DVD than spent huge amounts of money for theatrical promotions. The Last Legion is not a big film by Hollywood standards. At least 500 such films are released on DVD in the USA every year."

What about home?

Filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra, who directed Ash in Provoked and is familiar with the American film circuit, says, "If The Last Legion has released in Russia, the producers are definitely thinking about its piracy, as the pirated DVD will be released all over the world from Russia. In that case, it is better to have a proper DVD release than lose all revenue to the pirated version."

That's not all. Trade and distribution circles here feel the film might not be released in Indian theatres either. Says a prominent exhibitor on condition of anonymity, "So far, no distributor has been approached to market the film in India. Moreover, there is no buzz about the film.

There was also a question mark over whether the film will be released in India post Aishwarya's marriage to Abhishek as there's a buzz doing the rounds that the Bachchans are not keen for Indian viewers to watch intimate scenes between Ash and Colin Firth."

Not a bad idea

However, Mundhra feels it's not all bad for Ash's film. He says in Hollywood, a major chunk of film profits come from DVD releases. Says Mundhra, "The DVD market is where filmmakers make actual profits, as only print and publicity costs are recovered from a theatrical release. Sometimes, even sequels to big film sequels like Pocahantas are made only for DVD release, called Direct To Video films. These are for low-budget or independent films that can't get people into the theatre."

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