Udhayanidhi Stalin Maamannan quits acting, but why is his Red Giant Movies still the market leader?

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Udhayanidhi Stalin Maamannan quits acting, but why is his Red Giant Movies still the market leader?

By Latha Srinivasan: Udhayanidhi Stalin signed off from Tamil cinema with Mari Selvaraj’s Maamannan, which is going strong in theatres now. Produced by Red Giant Movies, the movie has made over Rs 23 crore since its release on June 29.

At a Maamannan pre-release event, Udhayanidhi said, “For the next three years, I definitely won’t be acting. After that, I do not know. But I have promised him (Mari Selvaraj) that if I act in another film, it will be under his direction.”

While the DMK minister may have quit Tamil cinema – for now – Red Giant Movies, the production and distribution company Udhayanidhi launched in 2008, will continue to function without his presence. He had told the media that he had resigned from Red Giant Movies, and there were reports that the company is now run under his wife Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi’s name.

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In fact, when he was sworn in as a minister, Udhay’s name was removed from the posters and ads of films that Red Giant Movies distributed and produced. However, this company remains one of the most important in the Tamil film industry, even without Udhay’s active intervention.

Udhay’s company has had a good track record in the last 15 years where distribution is concerned, as they have distributed around 60 films. Many of them have been budget entertainers, like Mani Ratnam’s PS 1 and 2, Kamal Haasan’s Vikram, Ajith’s Thunivu and Vijay’s Varisu.

Pankaj Jaysinh, CEO – Film Distribution, UFO Moviez India, told IndiaToday.in, “The core strength of Red Gaint is that they do any Tamil movie without raising concerns about the movie production budget or banner – their doors are open to all categories of movie producers. The company has never categorised or classified theatres by their revenue potential or their ability to pay and this has helped many screen owners to get fresh releases every week and to generate revenue. For instance, they have distributed small films also like DADA, Love Today and FIR, and these small budget movies (less than Rs 8 Crore) have collected a gross of Rs 10 to Rs 15 Crore on average.”

Film analyst Bharath told IndiaToday.in, “Udhayanidhi has clearly stated that he has bigger responsibilities and is committed to the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu. Red Giant Movies was started by Udhay, and though he may not be technically involved in the company, preference will still be given to it by the Tamil film industry. Red Giant Movies enjoys a lot of clout in the film industry, and they are a big production house too.”

Red Giant Movies is known for its extensive distribution network in Tamil Nadu and for the fact that they have managed to create a well-managed system in the theatrical business. The Covid pandemic dealt a big blow to theaters, and some film industry analysts believe that Udhay’s company has helped a lot of theaters in recent times.

“The company is the market leader in the distribution space, and they have a good network. They have built a system which continuously feeds commercially viable content to the theatres, and this is very important in today’s time. What’s happening in other film industries is that there is no flow of big films to theaters, and it has affected the theatre business. In 52 weeks of the year, if theatres get content for 25 weeks, then it makes the industry viable as well. And Red Giant is doing that,” said trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai.

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Udhay has also produced many films under his banner, the latest one being Maamannan. Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2 and Ulaganayagan’s film with Mani Ratnam are apparently being produced by Red Giant, and these two films are big-budget ones. Indian 2 reportedly has a budget of Rs 250 crore, and Lyca Productions is the co-producer of this film. The Mani Ratnam-Kamal Haasan film was announced in November last year, but there has been no further news on that.

As the Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development and MLA of Chepauk, Chennai, Udhayanidhi has been busy with his political work. Meanwhile, Red Giant Movies, a company that he ran for 15 years, continues to be a market leader in the Tamil Nadu film industry, favored by producers and exhibitors alike.

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