Can Studios Still Rely on Famous Stars to Make Successful Movies?

Making movies is a risky business; there’s no doubt about it. In the last couple of years, films starring Rajinikanth, Shahrukh Khan (and one directed by Shankar) could not match the frenzy that their films are expected to create. Obviously, it results in losses as well. So, is the trend of making movies that depend a lot on famous stars going to continue?

To answer that, we need to take a look at what Hollywood has been up to in recent times.

In recent years, several successful movies in Hollywood, including ‘DEADPOOL’ did not rely on a world-famous star to sell it. Whereas a couple of films with big stars (‘Joy’ with Jennifer Lawrence, ‘Concussion’ with Will Smith) struggled to attract audiences despite heavy promotion and high-profile openings on Christmas Day in America.

Watch: Deadpool Trailer

Much of the Hollywood’s recent successes have come from big special-effects film franchises like ‘Fast and Furious’, ‘Avengers’, ‘Jurassic Park, James Bond and so on. And such films actually don’t need stars; in fact, they are likely to create stars. That is why senior studio executives prefer not to cast famous stars in such movies, in order to save costs, as such movies are likely to do well even without those big stars. A top star can easily take home salaries of $20m or more and also earn a percentage in gross collection, but such films are now becoming rare.


Having said that, films with international stars like Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio, who are instantly recognizable in lucrative overseas markets, will continue to get made, but again, those are perhaps exceptions.

famous stars

Back home in India, superstar Rajinikanth’s ‘Lingaa’, Shankar’s ‘I’ and Shahrukh Khan’s ‘Dilwale’ fared much lower than probably what the producers would have expected. And mind you, these are big budget movies. Its but natural for studio executives to go back to their working desks, put on their thinking hats, and figure out ways to mitigate these risks.

When superstar Rajini flopped and had Bollywood worried
First of all, its hard to believe that superstar Rajinikanth can deliver a flop, but even if it does, its difficult to believe that a movie with such a huge star can make losses (production houses nowadays are quite good at marketing & promotional campaigns, can sell the film rights to various broadcasting mediums, territories, etc.)

But Tamil distributors of Rajni’s movie ‘Lingaa’ have suffered loses, and have threatened a mass begging rally outside Rajini’s bungalow to demand refunds after his new film Lingaa flopped.

Now this is something that celebrities are not going to like. Nobody would like to see people demonstrating outside their homes.

In fact, this new idea of protesting is giving sleepless nights to Bollywood superstars as well. Especially when most of them produce their own movies, and the flop rate (and losses incurred) in Bollywood are higher than down South.

This is definitely having our Bollywood superstars worried!

Watch: Lingaa Trailer

For the record, Lingaa producers have claimed the film has grossed Rs.148 crore. Distributors in almost all zones have however suffered losses, some to the tune of Rs. 35 crore.