'Dhoom 3': Are sequels a safe bet?
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'Dhoom 3' flags a trend in big-budget Hindi films.
First Krrish 3, now Dhoom 3, sequels seem to be the flavour of the season in Hindi cinema. What is it about sequels? Any producer will tell you that as budgets get bigger, the risks borne by the film producer get larger. The best-known fact in the film industry is that you can spend all the money you want on a film and still not be able to predict how it will fare at the box office. The history of every film industry in the world is full of examples of movies that were expensive for their time and yet turned out to be duds at the box office. The textbook case is Universal Studio's mega-budget 1995 Kevin Costner-starrer Waterworld, which did poorly in US theatres, despite its big star and futuristic action setting, and had to rely on other streams of revenue to attempt to recover costs.
To fight the spectre of risk that haunts them at every step, filmmakers employ a variety of strategies. Anything that reduces uncertainty in the minds of audiences, like bigger stars, better-known directors or even catchy music reduces the risk that the producer might not recoup his investment. Sequels are a rational strategy, because they signal to the audience that the film they're about to see will be familiar, with all the things they loved with the previous edition — the characters, style of production and so on. Notice how films have to be successful to have sequels. Would you go to see the sequel of a film that bombed? In recent years, Hindi cinema has seen the rise of the sequel, confirming the towering position that Hindi movie budgets hold in India's film market mosaic, and their attendant risks. But why are sequels more popular in the Hindi film industry compared to other Indian language film industries?