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Indian action blockbuster ‘RRR’ returns to theaters

For discerning moviegoers, there is a life before “RRR” and there is a life after “RRR”.

India’s three-plus-hour historical action blockbuster set in the 1920s is packed with flying motorbikes, flaming arrows, brooding bromance and physics-defying heroism. It opened in March to huge anticipation from South Asian American audiences, which made the Telugu-language film America’s second-highest-grossing Indian film of all time.

If you missed “RRR” when it first aired, you’re in luck: this summer, after raking in $140 million at the global box office, acclaimed filmmaker SS Rajamouli’s smash hit (“Eega”, “Baahubali Pt. 1 & 2”) will roar again for one night on June 1 at more than 100 U.S. theaters, including Alamo Drafthouse locations and New York’s IFC Center.

Ram Charan, as undercover hero Alluri Sitarama Raju, battles a wild tiger as animal chaos is unleashed in “RRR.”

(DVV Entertainment)

Brought to you by Variance Films and Potentate Films with Sarigama Cinemas, the “#encoRRRe” event stems from outsize interest in “RRR,” which generated one of the strongest word-of-mouth buzzes for a worldwide theatrical release of recent memory.

“America has embraced ‘RRR’ as its own and crossing borders, the love American audiences have shown our film has been gratifying,” writer-director Rajamouli said in a statement. “Glad they can relive the experience on re-release, thanks to Variance and Potentate.”

With a flair for spectacle to rival the “Fast & Furious” franchise and an MCU (it’s a mythical cinematic universe) all its own, “RRR” (short for “Rise! Roar! Revolt!”) imagines a fictional team between two of the revolutionary folk heroes played by Indian superstars – NT Rama Rao Jr. as Komaram Bheem and Ram Charan as Alluri Sitarama Raju – who unite to fight against the British Raj.

Stemming from the South Indian Telugu-language film industry known as Tollywood, distinct from Bollywood’s Hindi-language films, “RRR” features jaw-dropping action sequences and musical numbers, including understood the viral”Naatu Naatu“, a catchy song shot in Ukraine and a dance sequence with an anti-colonialist message and fast movements by Charan and Rama Rao.

Reportedly one of the highest-budgeted Indian productions of all time, it’s now the second-highest-grossing Indian film in US box office history behind 2017’s $22 million sequel “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” – Rajamouli’s most recent film, which has been compared to Steven Spielberg and James Cameron in terms of fervor.

Both films have topped Bollywood’s top charting titles in the United States as the Tollywood film industry has grown in popularity in recent years.

June’s event could be the last chance for American moviegoers to see “RRR” on the big screen in its original Telugu version, with some theaters offering Dolby Atmos sound mixing. Netflix has cleared the streaming rights and will release it subtitled in English, Korean, Portuguese, Turkish, and Spanish as well as dubbed in Hindi.

‘RRR’ has played a big role in turning 2022 into a breakthrough year for Telugu-language films in the US, according to Gitesh Pandya, co-founder of Box Office Guru Media, adding that the film has been delayed several times. by the pandemic, building even more fan anticipation on opening weekend.

It’s easy to find evidence of a fervent global “RRR” fandom online. When they were released in March, social media was flooded with gifs, memes and viral videos of audiences cheering, dancing and throwing confetti in theaters. “RRR” is still playing strong in more than 500 theaters around the world, according to DVV Entertainment. So why re-release a film that has already grossed $14.5 million from 1,200 US screens?

Chandra Narisetty, president of Sarigama Cinemas, hopes the encore presentation of “RRR” will help set a benchmark of success that future Indian film releases can follow in the United States, where they compete with Hollywood studio rates for movie theaters. cineplex bookings but still doing good business.

His company recently followed up “RRR” by releasing “KGF 2”, a hit sequel that topped the box office’s box office worldwide.

Variance’s Dylan Marchetti has experience in the challenge of helping three-hour Asian movies connect with audiences, having helped distribute Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s Oscar-winning drama “Drive My Car.” He likens “RRR’s” unique chemistry of impressive action and engaging storytelling to George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” and believes it can grow further and connect with new movie audiences eager for more. thrilling cinematic experiences.

Ram Charan sits on the shoulders of NT Rama Rao Jr. "RRR"

Ram Charan and NT Rama Rao Jr. in the illustrations for “RRR,” which also stars Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, and Olivia Morris.

(DVV Entertainment)

“The opening night of any of these movies is the most fun you can have in the theater, period,” Marchetti said, adding that Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters don’t even have multiple action sequences. thrilling moments before the title card appears on screen, as “RRR” does.

And if the film’s runtime seems a daunting factor, at 182 minutes, “‘RRR’ is only 10 minutes longer than ‘The Batman,'” critic Katie Rife pointed out in her review for Polygon.

As for the June 1 encore screenings, Potentate’s Josh Hurtado, a film festival consultant who has championed Rajamouli’s previous films, hopes the return of “RRR” to theaters will open doors for Indian cinema and international and will introduce new cinephiles to the work of the filmmaker.

“The goal here is to show people the best movie they’ve ever seen,” Hurtado said, “and also to help Rajamouli make the next best movie they’ve ever seen by making his name a name.” known worldwide.”