Vijay, arguably, is the current numero uno star in Tamil cinema. Though his recent Pongal release ‘Varisu’ received mixed reviews from critics, the film collected more than ₹300 crore as Gross Box Office Collection (GBOC). Though ‘Varisu’ had a good run in two Telugu states, the actor hasn’t been seen in any major pan-Indian film on the lines of ‘KGF2’ and ‘Pushpa’.
This could, however, change as Vijay is all set to establish his presence in the pan-India market with his upcoming Lokesh Kanagaraj directorial, Leo. While Vijay himself has a solid market in Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam languages along with a steady overseas market, his reunion with Lokesh after Master has raised a lot of expectations in the industry.
After Master, Lokesh delivered the massive hit Vikram, Kamal Haasan’s comeback film. Vikram grossed around ₹440 crore worldwide and now, Lokesh has become a brand and bankable as his films carry the potential to generate crores of business in the pan-India market.
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Moreover, Vijay and Lokesh have a substantial fan following. So, trade sources believe that the Vijay-Lokesh combine will cause a jump in the business potential of their upcoming film Leo. The film’s producer S S Lalit Kumar has already inked deals with Netflix (digital), Sun TV (satellite), and Sony Music (audio) for more than ₹240 crore. The producer has reportedly covered the film’s production cost, even as offers are pouring in from major players in the Hindi dubbing market. The theatrical business is expected to reap profits for Lalit’s 7 Screen Studio as well.
‘Leo’ to be wrapped up by May
The makers will complete around 55 per cent of the shoot by the month-end and the film is expected to be wrapped up by May, said a source told The Federal. From June, director Lokesh and his team will begin the post-production work to ensure a smooth release on October 19. Around 40-45 per cent of the film’s scenes are set against the backdrop of Kashmir.
Team planning for a grand Hindi release
Vijay’s previous films like Master, Beast, and Varisu were dubbed in Hindi and released in a decent number of theatres in North India. But, the makers of Leo are in talks with a prominent Hindi distributor to release the film in a record number of theatres in north India.
Many distributors from North India are also offering handsome deals for Leo because there is a steady increase in the collections of Vijay’s movies in Hindi and viewership on television channels also seems to show an upward trend.
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Meanwhile, Lokesh’s value is going up in the pan-India market, as Kaithi is being remade now in Hindi as Bholaa with Ajay Devgn in the lead. His previous film Vikram too, has also garnered good viewership on Disney+Hotstar, besides the film’s decent run in the Hindi market.
Demand in Kerala market
The demand for Leo in Kerala is high because Vijay is the number one Tamil star in Kerala and Lokesh’s recent film Vikram too grossed around ₹40 crore in the state. Though the deal is yet to be signed, Leo is expected to be sold for allegedly more than ₹18 crores in this market.
‘Leo’ Telugu rights
In the Telugu states, the situation is no different. Vijay’s recent film Varisu grossed nearly ₹30 crore in the Telugu states, while Vikram mopped up ₹36 crore GBOC. So, the producers of Leo are planning to sell the film for a big sum, which may well set a new record for a Tamil dubbed film in the Telugu states post the pandemic, said sources.
‘Leo’ Tamil rights
Vijay is one star who has been consistently delivering films, reportedly yielding ₹70 crore share to distributors. Meanwhile, Lokesh’s last film Vikram mopped up nearly ₹90 crore in Tamil Nadu. Trade sources say the combination of these two forces could create a new record in Tamil Nadu’s theatrical business.