The groundbreaking deal was concluded at the Film Bazaar organized by India’s National Film Development Corporation in Goa. FSSI confirmed the deal, but declined to reveal the acquisition price. It is estimated to be in the region of Rupees six million ($95,000) by sources close to the deal.
“Lucia” tells the story of a theater usher who has a life changing experience and has lucid dreams of being a movie star.
Fox Star Studio is a five-year-old joint venture between 21st Century Fox’s units Star Television and 20th Century Fox. It works in partnership with Fox International Productions, the Los Angeles-based foreign-language production unit.
FSSI’s head of legal and business affairs Dina Dattani said that FIP conceivably might come on board later as an investor or distributor and that the picture would be put on the table as an investment opportunity for FIP’s new Asian financing partner Ivanhoe Pictures.
The Hindi remake will be a significantly bigger budget than the original and Fox and Kumar are scouting for a bankable Bollywood star. Production of the Hindi version of “Lucia” will start as soon as possible depending on cast availability.
“When I wrote it first, it was very rooted to Karnataka. Now I have to look at it from a national point of view and maybe global as well because the studio will be giving it an international release,” Kumar told Variety.
The acquisition marks what has been a fairytale journey for the film and Kumar. Though “Lifeu Ishtene”, Kumar’s directorial debut, was a box office success, he was disillusioned by the practices of the Kannada film industry. A top box office star kept Kumar hanging for months for “Lucia” and finally Kumar decided to make the film with the relatively unknown actor Satish Ninasam. He also decided to crowd fund the film and raised the film’s budget of $100,000 via U.K. crowdfunding agency Distrify.
The London Indian Film Festival selected the film and “Lucia” ended up winning the fest’s audience award. The film subsequently was shown at the Mumbai Film Festival and is in selection at the International Film Festival of Kerala in December.
Kumar eschewed traditional distributors and self-distributed after striking a deal with leading cinema chain PVR. Unusually for a Kannada language film, “Lucia” got an all India, i.e. nationwide release. It has grossed more than $550,000 at the box office and is still running in cinemas in the south Indian state of Karnataka more than two months after its Sept. 6 bow.
Tamil and Telugu language rights were sold to producer C.V. Kumar’s Thirukumaran Entertainment for approximately $95,000 and broadcast rights to Udaya TV, part of the Sun Network, for $143,000.