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A still from ‘Deadpool 2’.
A still from ‘Deadpool 2’.

Fox Star localizes ‘Deadpool 2’ for India

For 'Deadpool 2', Fox Star taps Bollywood box office magnet Ranveer Singh to voice for Ryan Reynolds in the Hindi version

Following closely on the massive success of its two-week old superhero flick Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel is ready with its next offering Deadpool 2 that releases this week in India. The first step for Fox Star Studios, that is distributing the Ryan Reynolds-starrer in the country has been to localize it for Indian audiences, tapping Bollywood box office magnet Ranveer Singh to voice for Reynolds in the Hindi version.

“Ryan Reynolds’ funny, subversive anti-superhero is loved by one and all across the world. Deadpool is a huge brand in India, but for this installment, we made sure that the character becomes even more accessible to fans across markets - for the Hindi dub, we approached Ranveer since his wit and edgy personality was a perfect fit with Deadpool," said Vijay Singh, chief executive officer, Fox Star Studios.

To further localize what Fox calls its biggest superhero film, hours after the Deadpool 2 trailer was released, Singh was involved in a Twitter banter with his Hollywood counterpart, Reynolds, engaging both Indian and global social media audiences in one go. Fox has also created multiple regional language versions of the trailer, including Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi and Bhojpuri, all of which were customized in a way to retain the essence of the English version while catering to the tastes of local audiences.

Cashing in on the massive popularity of its ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches on the Star network, Fox has planned integrations such as Reynolds being asked to test his cricketing knowledge with a quick quiz on television programme Kent Cricket Live and Singh attending some IPL events.

Moreover, the film that has tied up with beer brand Budweiser and snack chips brand Pringles, is getting popular comedian and YouTuber Bhuvan Bam to voice for one of the characters in the film and further create promotional content across his social media platforms.

“This is an example of a Hollywood film employing mainstream localization techniques that go beyond just dubbing into regional languages. It’s not just a distribution and release format now, it’s extended to marketing as well," said Saurabh Uboweja, international brand expert and chief executive officer of brand consultancy firm Brands Of Desire. Clearly, the integration between Hollywood and Bollywood is effective, Uboweja said. At last count, the English trailer of the film had notched up about 34 million views while the Hindi version had managed nearly one-third, 11 million, which is massive for a Hollywood film that doesn’t expect India to constitute more than 10-15% of its overall audience base. 

“It’s a great customer acquisition strategy for Marvel to start focusing on localization in the Indian market," Uboweja said. It makes a niche brand like Marvel, he added, that caters to a very elite audience in India, an opportunity to go mainstream. 

To be sure, the trade buzz around the David Leitch directed film is impressive. When released in 2016, Deadpool had made about Rs29 crore in India and digital payments firm Paytm, which sells movie tickets through Paytm Movies, expects the second installment, that is releasing in 1,400-1,500 screens, to earn twice as much. 

“The Friday evening shows are already showing high occupancy and we foresee an opening day of 8-9 crore," said a Paytm spokesperson. “The only catch here is that Deadpool 2 is an adult film, so it alienates young audiences. Plus Avengers, which is also a superhero film and hence an offering in the same zone, is still drawing huge crowds; so that acts as competition."

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