India clearly rose in small but sure steps this year, making its presence felt on the international level too. Some of the highlights were more than half a dozen of our actors being roped in Hollywood films, and Tom Cruise’s trip to India to promote Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which created a new record for foreign film marketing in the country.
Hollywood trends in 2011 in India
1. 3D craze
A large number of Hollywood films released in 3D this year and this trend is slated to continue with over 26 3D Hollywood films (announced so far) to release in 2012. “All big cinema chains are also gearing up for this trend by going digital and setting up additional 3D screens. English films in 3D usually see higher openings in cinema halls in the first week itself,” informs Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax.
2. Hollywood wakes up to India
Tom Cruise set a precedent of aggressively promoting Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in India, while Michelle Yeoh and Luc Besson followed suit, attending the IFFI event where their film, The Lady, was screened at the closing ceremony. The next year could see more Hollywood stars coming to India. Tom’s massive marketing helped the film release in 700 screens in the country, breaking Avatar’s Rs 22 crore opening weekend record by making Rs 26.3 crore in the first weekend.
3. India first
This year, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn released in India before they did in the U.S. In that sense, India has arrived. Over 10 other Hollywood movies have released here within 2-3 weeks after the U.S release, which is significantly faster than in the last five years.
Studios are also taking into account the need for subtitling their films for a cinema release. While the audience is conversant with English language, they may not necessarily get all the accents like Australian, American, British easily, and that’s where subtitling plays a major role. Fox Motion Pictures reveals it has started subtitling all its films this year since it helps increase footfalls for the film.
5. Desis in Hollywood
While Anil Kapoor’s cameo in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol generated a mixed response from the critics and audience alike, Frieda Pinto in Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna opened to a full house at IFFI and saw the actor along with the director mingling with the press in Goa. She was also seen in Tarsem Singh’s Immortals this year. Trishna is yet to release in the country. Irrfan Khan and Tabu also generated a buzz by being cast in Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, which will release next December. For Irrfan, it was a double whammy this year, as he is also cast in Marc Webb’s SpiderMan 3D Reboot. The audience will, however, have to wait for Bipasha Basu and Abhay Deol in Roland Joffe’s Singularity as it will release only in 2013; and the date for Amitabh Bachchan in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby in 3D along side Leonardo DiCaprio is yet to be announced.
6. More moolah
In terms of the market share, Hollywood is eating a bigger pie than it did in the last decade. With the advent of digital cinema and acceptability of English language films in metros and B-tier cities, Indian cinemas are also gearing up for 3D releases.
“The advent of the digital format has cut the problem of deferred releases. Three years ago, we were growing at four per cent a year. But in 2011, Hollywood films grew up to 10 per cent. Every film is opening bigger than its earlier franchise. The industry could grow anywhere between 10-15 per cent in 2012 as well,” says Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Motion Pictures.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part Two
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
Paranormal Activity 3
Next year’s most anticipated
1. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (January 6)
The year begins with the already critically acclaimed and Academy Award-nominated film by David Fincher, the first in a three-series adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novels. The film stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara and is slated to release on January 6 here. The story is about a journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel) being aided in his search for a woman that has been missing for 40 years, by a computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney).
2. The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film will mark the end of his trilogy. Based on characters appearing in comic books published by DC comics, the film will see Christian Bale along with Anne Hathway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the return of Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman.
3. The Amazing Spider-Man: The Untold Story in 3D (July)
Marc Webb’s film will see Andrew Garfield take Tobey Maguire’s place as Peter Parker. The popular Spider-Man franchise will also see our very own Irrfan Khan play one of the villain’s cast alongside Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans. Webb’s film is also generating a buzz because it revisits Peter’s teenage years where he’s trying to understand his past, uncover a secret his father held and battle angst and newfound super powers.
4. Life Of Pie in 3D (December 14)
With two of its lead cast members — Irrfan Khan and Tabu being prominent Indian actors — Life Of Pi is largely relevant to India with parts of the film shot in Pondicherry. This 3D fantasy adventure based on Yann Martel’s award-winning book by the same name is being directed by Oscar awardee Ang Lee.
5. Skyfall (November)
The next film in the Bond franchise directed by Sam Mendes will once again see Daniel Craig return as Bond, whose loyalty is tested when M’s past comes back to haunt her. The film also stars Helen McCrory, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes.
6. The Dictator: Portrait from the Republic of Wadia (May)
After giving popular comic hits like Borat and Bruno, actor Sacha Baron Cohen known for Da Ali G show, will reunite with director Larry Charles for The Dictator. The film is a spoof on the Middle East tyrant Saddam Hussein and Lybian leader Gaddafi, and is apparently based on Saddam’s book Zabibah And The King. It takes place in a fictitious country called Wadiya. The film also stars Megan Fox, Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley. The story is about “a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed”, according to the promos.