New Delhi: At last count, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial period epic Padmaavat, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, had notched up Rs307.05 crore in box-office collections, according to movie website Bollywood Hungama.

Made at a cost of Rs180 crore, including production, P&A (prints and advertising) as well as distribution expenses, the film seems to have recovered its investment for Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the co-producer, by a huge margin.

But, as with all other Indian films, it’s not as huge as it seems—of the Rs307 crore that the film ostensibly seems to have earned, only about half would have come back to the producer’s kitty, according to estimates. Since the film is still running, the figures are subject to change.

A lot of times, after accounting for various cost heads, there is little left for the filmmaker in the end.

To start with, the entertainment tax and service charges applicable on every movie ticket in India have to be deducted from gross movie collections to arrive at net earnings. While earlier India worked on state-specific rates for both, the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) has brought in some uniformity—for tickets priced under Rs100, there is 18% GST and for those above that, 28%.

“An average of 22-24% of the ticket price goes away as GST pan India," said film distributor and exhibitor Akshaye Rathi. “Then there is the service charge which nationwide, on an average, is Rs4-6 per ticket. That is a portion retained specifically by the exhibitor to spend on maintenance and extension of the cinema. So that is cut out," he added.

After the entertainment tax and service charge are paid, what remains is the net earning, which is roughly Rs70 out of a Rs100 ticket.

Out of this, the distributor-exhibitor share keeps changing. In the first week of a movie’s run, the share is divided equally between the two, while in the second week, there is 60:40 divide in favour of the exhibitor, which changes to 70:30 in the third week. For instance, the Rs73 crore that Padmaavat made in week two would have made about Rs43 crore for the exhibitors and about Rs30 crore for the producers.

A part of the distributor’s earnings goes to the producers, depending on the specific arrangement, which varies from case to case. For any film, the producer’s final share cannot be more than 45-50% of the film’s box office earnings, said veteran filmmaker and journalist Amit Khanna.

“If the film has made Rs200 crore, the producers should get around Rs100 crore," he said.

The story is different for the overseas market. While foreign corporate studios like Fox Star Studios, Sony Pictures Networks and Walt Disney distribute their films globally, Indian filmmakers and companies prefer to tie up with local distributors. However, given the different polices and structures of different markets, Khanna said that producers do not get to retain more than 45% of overseas collections. So technically, out of the Rs87.56 crore Padmaavat made overseas at last count, around Rs39 crore will come to Viacom18.

Not that there is too much reason to worry. Industry experts say the film, like many others today, has made a substantial amount from ancillary streams—Rs50 crore from satellite television rights, about Rs15 crore from music and Rs10-20 crore from digital right sales.

“The ancillary streams are the main source for all big films today," Khanna said. “The film has already recovered its investment and in the next week or so, will add to its profits."

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