A still from Zero
Said to be mounted on a budget of Rs 200 crore, Zero finds pride of place in Shah Rukh Khan’s filmography as his most expensive film to date. While the mammoth budget would give sleepless nights to most producers, one can count on Khan’s astute business skills to ensure that the project does not spell losses for him. With over two months to go before the Aanand L Rai-directed venture hits screens, trade sources indicate that the superstar has already recovered approximately Rs 130 crore through telecast rights, music rights and in-film branding.
A trade source reveals, “The satellite rights have apparently been sold at a whopping sum to Sony Pictures. Plus, Shah Rukh’s standing collaboration with Netflix has helped him bag a lucrative deal with the streaming giant for the film’s digital rights.”
Shah Rukh Khan
Trade buzz indicates that the Christmas offering has generated tremendous interest among the audience — as much for the state-of-the-art VFX that it boasts of, as for presenting Khan as a vertically challenged man on screen for the first time.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan asserts that the drama has all the makings of a blockbuster. “Shah Rukh is one of those rare actors who know how to make a movie cost-effective. Zero is likely to take one of the biggest openings of 2018. Plus, Rai has a good box-office track record. If he can make R150 crore with a woman-oriented film [Tanu Weds Manu Returns, 2015], the sky should be the limit for Zero.”
Echoing the sentiment, Amod Mehra believes that the budget will not be a hindrance: “A large part of the money will be recovered through digital rights and music. Also, if you air the film on television first, the channels are often willing to pay significantly higher. Plus, Shah Rukh never charges acting fee; that’s how he controls the budget of his films.”
Pointing out that the actor had recovered a substantial amount from satellite rights of RA.One (2011) despite its tepid response at the box office, Taran Adarsh says, “Today, China has opened up as a huge market. After Aamir and Salman, you can expect an R300-crore grosser from Shah Rukh too.” Rai and Red Chillies Entertainment remained unavailable for comment.