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Hollywood to clash with regional films for Dussehra weekend

Venom, the second film in Sony's Spider-Man Universe will be available in Hindi, English, Tamil, and Telugu and in 3D, IMAX and 4DX formats. (Photo: Twitter @ManideepTaROCK)Premium
Venom, the second film in Sony's Spider-Man Universe will be available in Hindi, English, Tamil, and Telugu and in 3D, IMAX and 4DX formats. (Photo: Twitter @ManideepTaROCK)

  • Venom, that released on Thursday to cash in on the holiday weekend, notched up a screen count of more than 1,000. It's a popular franchise in India and could follow on the heels of recent hits like No Time to Die and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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NEW DELHI: In the absence of Bollywood films, theatre owners are pinning hopes on Hollywood superhero flick Venom: Let There Be Carnage to lure viewers this Dussehra weekend. The Hindi movie slate will arrive in the cinemas in time for Diwali.

Venom, that released on Thursday to cash in on the holiday weekend, notched up a screen count of more than 1,000. It's a popular franchise in India and could follow on the heels of recent hits like No Time to Die and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Released in 2018, the previous instalment of the Venom franchise had made 34.31 crore in India.

The festive weekend will be big for Bengali and Punjabi industries which are seeing two big releases - Golondaaj and Honsla Rakh, respectively.

“There is terrific buzz around Venom and it seems to be a good combination of mass-market genres like horror, action and special effects," independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said. The film should follow in the footsteps of No Time to Die that made around 11.3 crore over its opening weekend or could do even better, Pillai said.

Venom, the second film in Sony's Spider-Man Universe will be available in Hindi, English, Tamil, and Telugu and in 3D, IMAX and 4DX formats. Earlier this month, the film created history by notching up an estimated $90.1 million over its opening weekend in the US, the highest total for the country since the pandemic.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a huge screen spectacle, and it is a must-watch in cinemas. We hope that this film brings audiences (in India) back to theatres as it has in the US," Vivek Krishnani, managing director, Sony Pictures Films India said.

To ensure that the film reaches the maximum number of people, the company is going as wide as possible and targeting more than 1000 screens across India in markets other than Maharashtra, in its release week, Krishnani added. It will have an additional 250 plus screens starting 22 October when Maharashtra opens and 25 October when Kerala unlocks theatres.

“We're sure that people are going to come back to cinemas in large numbers and at the same time, there will be content that people will watch at home on their individual screens during this festival season. Overall, it is the consumers who are the ultimate winners because they get to choose what they want to watch and when," Krishnani said in reference to the wide array of options across streaming services and the change in audience habits over the past year-and-half of the pandemic.

Film producer, trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar said that Maharashtra not being on board could be a disadvantage for the film that caters to an adult, up-market audience and is not a family-friendly superhero offering. “The same urban, metro audiences are also the target for OTT content," Johar added.

A senior executive at a streaming platform said even OTT services were aware the festive season is likely to be a cinema-centric as vaccinated people look forward to stepping out to see the big films. That, however, hasn’t stopped OTT platforms from lining up an attractive slate across languages. While Taapsee Pannu-starrer Rashmi Rocket will start streaming on ZEE5 on Friday, Amazon Prime Video has two films —Tamil action drama Udanpirappe produced by Suriya and Hindi period drama Sardar Udham starring Vicky Kaushal directed by Shoojit Sarkar. Netflix is bringing the last season of its popular romantic comedy series Little Things.

“Theatres and OTTs can co-exist. In fact, we’re looking forward to acquiring more films as cinemas reopen which are often, big drivers of viewership," said Soumya Mukherjee, vice-president, revenue and strategy, at Bengali streaming service Hoichoi that is carrying out outdoor advertising campaigns to create awareness around its shows for Durga Puja and traditionally sees spikes in viewership in the October to January period.

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