2.0, the sci-fi film directed by S. Shankar and starring Rajnikant and Akshay Kumar is supposedly the most expensive film to be made in India. According to a report by Bollywood Hungama, 2.0’s budget is above Rs 400 crore which makes it the costliest film in Indian history till date. It is the ninth-most expensive non-English-language film by production cost ($75,000,000). The shooting has been done mostly in Chennai with the climax being shot in New Delhi. Also, this movie is being promoted as a Make in India movie with the majority of the VFX artists and other crew members being Indian, making this high budgeted sci-fi movie quintessentially Indian.
Marketing a movie has become very important these days given the short time each movie gets to make money from the cinema halls. The first few days of a movie can make or break a movie. Therefore producers and marketers leave no stone unturned to market a movie in order to draw a big first-day crowd. Later the movie may spread through word of mouth and critic reviews, provided they are good. Average or bad movies need to draw the crowd in by creating a hype around the movie as the word of mouth may damage the box office collections. Therefore marketing spends to make up to 30% of the entire budget of a big-ticket film. Film marketing has become more expensive now due to the inclusions of digital media in the marketing mix. Spending on traditional media hasn’t seen any dips, on the other hand, spending on digital media is increasing day by day. All these cause the total marketing budget to increase and the overall film budget to swell.
“Film marketing is becoming very expensive, it costs an arm and a leg to actually market a film today,” said Manan Mehta, vice-president, marketing and merchandising Yash Raj Films. “Marketing budgets have gone up by 15-20% because media has become costly, fragmented and specialized. So you have to make your investments to get your returns going.”
Traditionally Film marketing follows the following routes:
TV shows TV shows having a good viewership are typically targeted by movie producers to promote their movies. The advantage is that you already get a ready set of audiences to promote your movies. Sometimes these shows will integrate their storylines with the promotions of the movies to appeal more to their audiences.
Reality shows Actors in movies are seen very frequently in reality and semi-reality shows if I may call them, to promote their movies. Again a ready set of audiences is the main reason to choose these shows.
Web-episodes This is a new trend in film promotions. There are many YouTube channels which have more than a million followers and filmmakers try to take advantage of the same. Web episodes makers make an episode solely to promote a film. The episodes gather quick response from the target audience, i.e internet savvy theatre-going people.
Event promotions Filmmakers target events where they can promote their movies. These events are normally covered by the press, so they get a lot of exposure.
A movie that has Rajnikant, who is a superstar and is considered demi-god in the Southern part of India, and Akshay Kumar, who is a superstar in Bollywood, with music by Oscar winner A.R Rahman, should mean that it doesn’t need any marketing to succeed, right? The mere presence of Rajnikant and Akshay Kumar is sufficient enough to draw audiences to the cinema halls. But producers of the movie are pulling all gears to market this movie as the biggest and best sci-fi movie to be produced in India. Much of their marketing strategy is unique. Given the popularity of the two lead actors, the first look of the film, as well as the trailer, were a hit with the audience.
2.0 used some old tried and tested ways to promote their movies as well some unique ones. What caught my attention was the use of new and innovative ways to promote the movie, making sure the audience gets the idea that this movie is not like any other Indian movie you will see.
Use of augmented reality
2.0 used augmented reality technology to promote the movie. The image of Chitti (one of the characters played by superstar Rajnikanth) was answering questions posed by Karan Johar. Karan Johar was asking questions to a Virtual Reality version of Chitti, who was coming up with quirky and funny answers in that typical robotic voice which is a trademark of the character. This event was highly promoted and the video has more than 1.5 million views.
Hot air balloons in Hollywood, Los Angeles and other cities like London, Paris etc.
To promote the movie abroad and showcase the power of Indian movies, a 100-foot long hot air balloon was flown above the iconic Hollywood signage in Los Angeles. From Los Angeles, the balloon travelled to QuickChek Festival (28th -30th July) in New Jersey, USA. From New Jersey, the balloon proceeded to San Francisco, London, Dubai, Europe, South East Asian Countries, Australia and finally to India.
Promotions in cricket matches while deciding on decisions on run outs.
2.0 was also promoted during cricket matches (which has huge viewership in India) during run out decisions. On the giant screen, where results of a run out are displayed, 2.0 poster was displayed alongside the results. Although such promotions are not unique they have seldom been used by a movie.