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Hollywood movies emerge stronger at Indian field workplace after pandemic

As Tom Cruise-starrer Top Gun: Maverick, released last week, crosses 16 in box-office collections in India, theatre owners said Hollywood is bringing good returns, including from its non-superhero films, in the country. While the trend was spotted before covid, it is emerging stronger after the pandemic as audiences have discovered newer content from across the globe on streaming platforms, said film trade analysts. Additionally, revenue share contracts with Hollywood studios are also more favourable towards theatres, resulting in better income.

Appealing primarily to adult audiences and those in urban areas and bigger cities, there is a growing market for American cinema that should benefit upcoming smaller or niche films like Elvis and DC League of Super-Pets. When released immediately after reopening of theatres in 2020, Tenet, too, had made 12.57 crore in India.

“Hollywood has emerged as a bigger brand in India post-covid. While the large-scale, tentpole films are doing better than expected, even the smaller films are clicking very well,” said Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer at PVR Pictures Ltd. He added that Top Gun appealed primarily to an older audience segment and wasn’t as family friendly as Spider-Man: No Way Home, the last Hollywood blockbuster that had released in December and made over 218 crore in India. Moreover, the Tom Cruise film was only dubbed in Hindi, and not the four southern languages which are large film markets.

Even a film like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, darker than many Marvel superhero flicks and suited to mature audiences, had made over 125 crore at last count. “That would have been unimaginable until five or six years ago and nobody would have thought that these films could clock in such huge numbers,” said Rajendar Singh Jyala, chief programming officer, INOX Leisure Ltd.

To be sure, the biggest challenge for Hollywood films in India is that American studios only go to DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives)-compliant theatres. DCI is a joint venture of several film studios, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros, to set up a common set of requirements that ensure a high and uniform standard of digital cinema viewing. However, Jyala said the rollout of DCI cinemas over the past decade has been significant enough to aid the growth of Hollywood in India. “Before that, these films would only release six to nine months post their international release and by then, the buzz would be dead,” Jyala explained.

Independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said the impressive performance of Top Gun shows that audiences are clued in to social media trends and are aware when the word-of-mouth around a film is positive. “Plus, playing Hollywood films benefits theatre owners too because revenue sharing terms with American studios are more favourable as compared to those with local producers,” Pillai said, adding that Top Gun is seeing great traction in large-screen formats like IMAX. Live Mint

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