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Sony Pictures goes aggressive on upcoming movie slate for Indian theatres

As covid-19 restrictions are eased in some states across the country and cinemas hope to be granted reopening permits by July, movie studios are going aggressive on planning upcoming slates, especially for Hollywood offerings, many of which have already been released in other parts of the world. These are expected to help restart the business in the initial weeks when fewer local language films will be available. Sony Pictures Entertainment India, for instance, is prepping for a comeback to theatres with a range of big and medium-budget American films and is already in talks with distributors and exhibitors, two people familiar with the development said.

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Starting with supernatural horror film The Unholy, animation comedy Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and psychological horror flick Escape Room: Tournament of Champions next month, the studio plans to release another horror thriller Don’t Breathe 2 in August and superhero flick Venom: Let There Be Carnage in September. The first instalment of the Tom Hardy-starrer had made ₹34.31 crore when released in India in 2018. Sony will follow it up with animation comedy Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania in October, supernatural comedy Ghostbusters: Afterlife and survival horror flick Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City in November and the next instalment of the Spider-Man franchise No Way Home in December. Plans continue into the next year with action comedy The Man From Toronto and superhero flick Morbius slated for January, action adventure Uncharted for February and action thriller Bullet Train for April.

“The aim is to bring these films to cinemas and help recovery,” said one of the people mentioned above.

Sony did not respond to Mint’s queries on upcoming release plans.

To be sure, India has often demonstrated its love for Hollywood titles, especially big spectacles, dubbed in multiple languages. In 2019, Hollywood, with a combination of spectacular superhero movies and smaller budget, softer films, notched up box office collections of nearly ₹1,225 crore in India which was higher than ₹900 crore- ₹950 crore it earned in 2018. Dubbing these films in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, apart from exhaustive marketing and localization campaigns by Hollywood studios have added much to their appeal in the country. Mint

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