Transforming Theatres with Rediscovered Cinematic Treasures: Filmmakers Unearth Hidden Gems from the Past

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Franchise Films Making a Comeback with Great Success

It’s a blast from the past for movie lovers, as studios bring back franchises sometimes decades old with creditable success.

The Trend of Reviving Old Franchises

Signs of the trend that seems to have caught on with the massive success of Gadar 2 were first seen during the pandemic, when reruns of mythological epics and classics dominated viewership, with even OTT platforms discovering a new audience in the 40-plus generation.

Reviving Beloved Films

While Gadar 2 comes over two decades after the first part, Farhan Akhtar will bring back Don more than a decade after the previous instalment. Director Dibakar Banerjee has announced Love Sex Aur Dhokha 2, after a 13-year gap, while in the south, Kamal Hassan’s Indian 2 comes 27 years after the original.

Tapping into Older Audiences

Entertainment industry experts point to the inherent draw of franchises and the fact that while the theatre-going population may have changed in these years, this is an opportunity to tap into older audiences and families. Further, many of these films have continued to rate well on satellite television.

Success of Previous Revivals

Last year, Kartik Aaryan had starred in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 that arrived 15 years after the first part, earning over 185 crore at the box office.

The Advantage of Sequels

“The advantage of sequels is that there is already an inbuilt audience that has seen and heard of the films, so the recall value is great. However, when they come or how much time they take to put together, are individual decisions because it has to make sense for the makers,” Shariq Patel, chief business officer, Zee Studios, producers of Gadar 2, said.

Expanding the Audience Base

In case of the period drama, the company saw several fans bringing families and while the 18-35 age group remains the target audience with maximum time, interest and disposable income, Patel said the biggest hits of Indian cinema have been mass-oriented and palatable across the board and the big numbers come in when older audiences troop in. The 20-year gap also worked for Gadar 2, Patel added, because the protagonist’s son, a child in the first instalment, is actually shown to have grown up in 20 years to be able to take the plot forward.

Types of Follow-ups

There are two kinds of follow-ups to iconic hits being planned at the moment, Patel explained. While Gadar 2 is an actual sequel that takes the plot forward from where the first instalment left off, those like Don work more like reboots that are part of the same franchise as the older film but come with new actors and a different plot.

Positive Response to Reviving Old Franchises

“There may have been some scepticism around it (bringing back an old franchise) initially, but it seems like a feasible strategy,” Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer, PVR Inox Pictures said. Gadar 2, for instance, that had crossed the 450 crore mark at last count, did not isolate younger audiences at all, Gianchandani added, as it was common to see parents who may have been fans bringing children along, and families joining in large numbers.

Long-lasting Impact of Films on Television

A report by media consulting firm Ormax said Gadar 2 not only comes 22 years after the original film, lead star Sunny Deol hasn’t been too active in recent years. Much of the 15-24 age group that forms the core theatre-going audience for Hindi films was born after the film released. “Gadar has managed to sustain high TV ratings over hundreds of telecast..through which, the sub-25 generation has been inducted into the film by their families. Television gives a mass film like Gadar longevity…reinforcing its legend among the younger audience,” the report said.

Franchises Bigger Than Stars

In recent years, brands and franchises have emerged bigger than even lead stars, independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said.

Valuable Investment in Sequels

“A lot of actors keep their films open-ended (in order to ensure sequels) because the valuation remains perennial. A sequel will always have recall value,” Pillai said, pointing out that despite arriving 28 years after the Amitabh Bachchan original, the Don remake with Shah Rukh Khan had worked significantly well when released in 2006.

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