×

Murdoch’s Star India Inks Deal With Bollywood Star Ajay Devgn

TV pact follows similar deal with Salman Khan

LONDON – Feevee Star India, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., has pacted with Bollywood star Ajay Devgn for global broadcast rights for all his films for the next six years, beginning with March 29 release “Himmatwala.”

This follows a similar 2012 deal with thesp Salman Khan.

Both actors are riding a box office wave with their recent releases breaching the rupees 1 billion ($18 million) mark, a figure considered the gold standard of Bollywood, and subsequent TV premieres gaining high ratings.

Though Star declined to comment on the value of the pacts, Indian distributors estimate the Devgn deal to be worth $73 million and the Khan deal $91 million. The broadcast rights for Bollywood movies featuring A-listers usually go for around $7 million per film. Devgn is expected to star in 10 films in the next six years and Khan five.

“Star is tapping into the brand equity of the actors,” Indiantelevision.com group founder and CEO, and Intl. Emmy member, Anil Wanvari told Variety. “They are thinking ahead of the market. It’s worth the price and can easily be monetized.”

Star concluded the deals with the actors, rather than with the individual producers of the upcoming films.

“Both these actors have their own production houses and they are producers in their own right,” said Hemal Jhaveri, exec VP and general manager of Star’s Hindi-language movie channels Star Gold and Movies OK.

In recent years Devgn has co-produced films that he stars in through his Ajay Devgn Films, and Khan via his brothers’ Arbaaz Khan Prods. and Sohail Khan Prods., with the actors waiving or reducing their fees in exchange for a percentage of the profit.

The co-producers, including Reliance Entertainment for Khan’s “Bodyguard” and Fox Star Studios India for Devgn’s “Bol Bachchan,” provide financing.

Devgn said: “Business is becoming increasingly open and clear, so it’s easier to deal directly. I am securing the producer a higher value, so he benefits eventually, as they often depend on satellite rights to garner a substantial amount of the cost of production. But I am also ensuring a certain amount for myself.”

Typically, broadcast rights account for some 35% of a Bollywood film’s production budget.

Star India operates 33 channels in eight languages to 400 million viewers across India, and more than 100 other countries, including the U.S. and the U.K.

In 2012, Star bought broadcast rights for India’s domestic cricket for six years, comprising 96 matches, for $703 million.

More Film

  • Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

    Film Review: 'TINY: The Life of Erin Blackwell'

    “Streetwise,”  the classic and haunting 1984 documentary about homeless street kids in Seattle, is a movie that’s now 35 years old. But for anyone who has seen it, the children it’s about — drifters, hustlers, squatters, thieves, prostitutes — remain frozen in time. And none of them was ever more memorable than Tiny, the 14-year-old [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Revenge Motive May Have Sparked Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

    Japanese media is speculating that revenge was the motivation for the arson attack on Kyoto Animation which killed 33 people on Thursday. Investigative sources quoted by Jiji Press on Friday said that the man in custody had a grudge against the studio. “Since [the studio] stole my novel, I poured out the liquid and set [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate Gabriel Luna

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Cast Proud of Latinx Representation in Latest Installment

    The stars of the Tim Miller-directed “Terminator: Dark Fate” stormed the stage of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Thursday, but it wasn’t until after the panel — which included appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton — that Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta reflected on what makes the upcoming installment in the [...]

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Kyoto Arson Attack: Animation Community Mourns Colleagues

    Thursday’s deadly attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studios left many in the animation community shocked and horrified by the loss of 33 of their colleagues. Another 36 people were injured in the attack, which was Japan’s deadliest ever. A suspect was arrested after pouring a flammable liquid inside the building, which caught fire and trapped [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's '10 Double Zero' Completes Financing

    In today’s film news roundup, financing has been secured for a Nicolas Cage police drama, feature drama “Topside” is unveiled and the late Tom Snyder is getting a tribute from his daughter. FINANCING COMPLETED DCR Finance Corp. has signed a deal to complete the financing for Nicolas Cage’s upcoming crime drama “10 Double Zero.” The [...]

  • Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy Team

    Matt Damon Teams with 'Spotlight' Director Tom McCarthy on New Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Even as buzz grows for his upcoming race car drama “Ford v. Ferrari,” Matt Damon looks to keep the pedal to the metal: the A-lister is set to star in the Participant Media feature film “Stillwater” with Tom McCarthy directing. Damon attached himself in May, and the package was quickly acquired by Participant, who previously [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content