Hollywood looks at spectacular Indian summer
After the epic success of S.S Rajamouli’s war drama Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, which has earned more than Rs1,500 crore worldwide, Indian movie fans’ attention will now turn to the Hollywood summer slate, featuring an array of potential blockbusters.
Beginning with the fantasy swashbuckler film Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge, which released in India on Friday, there is plenty for Hollywood movie buffs to look forward to. On 2 June, Priyanka Chopra’s Hollywood movie debut, the action comedy Baywatch, will hit the screens alongside female superhero film Wonder Woman.
Action-adventure-horror film The Mummy’s release on 9 June will be followed by Pixar’s 3D computer animation comedy Cars 3 and science-fiction action film Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth instalment of the popular series, which stars Mark Wahlberg this time.
July will open with Marvel’s superhero film Spider-Man: Homecoming. Followed by science fiction movie War for the Planet of the Apes, Christopher Nolan’s war movie Dunkirk, Luc Besson’s science fiction-action-adventure film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Charlize Theron’s action spy thriller Atomic Blonde.
“We’ve got back-to-back Hollywood releases coming out week after week, all very commercial from an Indian context,” said Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer, PVR Pictures. “From a Hollywood perspective, I think this year will be one of the biggest we’ve had even if you consider the success of The Jungle Book last year, which was an outlier.”
Disney’s fantasy adventure The Jungle Book made Rs188 crore in India, becoming the highest grossing Hollywood film in the country. The other Hollywood money-spinners last year included Marvel’s superhero film Captain America: Civil War and horror movie The Conjuring 2 that earned Rs59 crore and Rs61 crore respectively.
Before that, in 2015, Vin Diesel-starrer Fast and Furious 7 became the first Hollywood film to cross Rs100 crore in box office earnings in India.
According to the Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2017 prepared by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and KPMG, in 2016, gross collections of Hollywood movies grew by around 10% over 2015.
Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema, estimates an increase of 20-25% in Hollywood revenue in India by the end of this year given the big releases.
“The Hollywood films that perform in India have become as big as the Hindi films here and in most cases, bigger than them. Now the big Hollywood films are doing $10 million gross box office in India quite easily, and that is a big-ticket number,” Gianchandani said. “So India is a meaningful market for Hollywood now, the opportunity that it has been promising for long with the growth of multiplexes is now reflecting in numbers.”
To be sure, the summer movie calendar is as crowded as it is exciting. Apart from Hollywood films, big-ticket Hindi movies like Salman Khan’s Tubelight and Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif-starrer Jagga Jasoos are also lined up for release across June and July. Will there be enough screens to accommodate so many movies releasing quick on the heels of one another? India has 8,500 screens compared to more than 30,000 in China.
If their content is good enough, two films can run simultaneously without hurting each other’s business, said Vivek Krishnani, managing director, Sony Pictures Entertainment India that is releasing Spider-Man: Homecoming.
“There are other films that have released but one that came out four weeks ago (Baahubali) is still running in theatres. It’s got nothing to do with screen space, it has to do with the content of the film. If the content is good, screen space is automatically made available,” Krishnani said.