The huge success of Spider-Man 3 has given a psychological boost to Indian visual effects (VFX) studios looking to expand their operations.
Amit Gupta, director of corporate development at post-production and visual effects company, Prime Focus Ltd, says the box-office earnings for the movie were “quite encouraging” to his growth strategy for visual effects.
In the last year, the Prime Focus visual effects group grew from 40 to 165 people out of a total staff of 700 in India. “There’s good demand (for visual effects) both from the domestic and the international sides,” says Gupta.
Spider-Man 3 netted Rs58 crore at the box office, making it the highest grossing Hollywood film in India. The top foreign film of 2006 was Casino Royale, which collected Rs41 crore, as per a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. It says most of the top 20 Hollywood films in India were strong on visual effects, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the recent King Kong, and this trend picked up traction in India in 2006 with Dhoom 2 and Krrish.
Naresh Malik, chief executive officer of post-production house, Pixion Studios, says they are increasing their employees from 250 to 400 in two months and close to 1,000 by the year-end. About 60% of this will go to the development of their visual effects business, both domestic and global.
Other players in visual effects include EFX of the Prasad group, Tata Elxsi Ltd, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Rhythm & Hues Studios India and Famous Studio. “Everybody is coming into this game,” says Pixion senior visual effects supervisor David Crawford.