US has been the biggest market for Telugu Cinema outside Telugu states. Even Karnataka has taken second place these days as the collections from USA, particularly, have been like there is a mini-state in USA for all Telugu people.
With such huge growth from Dookudu, rentrack started tracking Telugu films as well. And the way, Baahubali films performed in the market with Rangasthalam, Bharat Ane Nenu, Khaidi No.150 also crossing 2 Million USD threshold easily and first two, crossing 3 Million USD, everyone thought Telugu people in USA, are ready to watch films like any average Telugu viewer.
They started increasing the distribution rights of every film and US distributors too paid the exorbitant amounts looking at the market growth. But the market dipped in 2019, so much that even hits don't make good profits and sure profit films ended up as losses.
For example, with Baahubali advantage producers could have easily sold Saaho for 2 Million USD, which will still give them a handsome amount. But they sold it to highest bidder and the rights in US are valued, more than 5.5 Million USD. Movie collected above 3.2 Million USD but still it is a disaster.
Similarly, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, Maharshi also are flops because, the distributors paid more than the real value. They did not consider the real issues like film releasing digitally in a month or high ticket rates, with global market slowdown.
Now, US distributors are asking for lower base prices or sharing system. They are not going for outright sale from producers even if it is a movie by SS Rajamouli. RRR makers looked for highest bidders to sell the Overseas distribution for long but we hear they are dealing with a businessman from UAE for all-over the world distribution, right now.
If they have closed the business or is it still open, it is hard to say. RRR team is holding all the business details close to their chest. Some sources say they sold it for record prices, even more than Baahubali-2 and some say, Rajamouli might take them as his remuneration and profit share with the producer, DVV Danayya
Anyways, the exponential growth of the market had to crash some day as the players involved were getting greedy. People in US, don't want to spend 18-25 USD on tickets and distributors are now adding a line that you won't watch the movie on streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix. Also, some are proposing plan to reduce the rates to 12-15 USD for biggies too, even on premiere dates.
Instead, they are proposing releasing in more locations to bring in more people to watch the film.
Well, the good news is that even in a bad market situation, good content is able to soar high. F2 became the film that earned highest profit for distributors followed by Jersey and Oh Baby.
Prathi Roju Pandage run is still not over and it will be a profit project distributors. Producer Suresh Babu did not want Venky Mama to be tracked and hence, we don't know if it is a profit or a loss venture.
Majili did earn close to break-even and Agent Srinivas Athreya, made marginal profit even though people knew it will be available on Amazon Prime. Once again, proving that good content will bring audiences to theatres. Ismart Shankar is another film that no one expected to work but it made marginal profits.
Here is the USA Top 10 grossers list for 2019,
Saaho - $3,233,611
Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy - $2,608,115
F2 - Fun And Frustration - $2,134,632
Maharshi - $1,891,129
Jersey - $1,314,137
Oh Baby - $1,033,926
Gang Leader - $962,406
NTR Kathanayakudu - $928,275
Dear Comrade - $833,572
Majili - $773,083