Hollywood films’ ascent at the box office in India has not only been fast in the recent years, but consistent too. The Paul Walker-Vin Diesel-starrer Fast And Furious 7, for instance, is the latest film to break records at the box office.
Interestingly, this year will see several such big-ticket Hollywood franchises release in India. So, the question is — will upcoming international films pose a threat to Bollywood?
Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta says, "You can’t deny the reach of Hollywood films because the multiplex chains have now also penetrated B and C centres (small towns). I am sure nowadays, when Hindi film-makers decide a release date for their films, they keep big Hollywood franchises in mind."
In the coming months, a number of major Hollywood franchises will clash with big-budget Bollywood films. So, if Insidious: Chapter 3 is slated to release on the same day as Dil Dhadakne Do (starring Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra), Jurassic World will release alongside Hamari Adhuri Kahaani (starring Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi).
On the other hand, Mission Impossible 5 along with Fantastic Four is set to clash with Ajay Devgn’s Drishyam remake. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit the screens in India on the same day as Hera Pheri 3. Even Ant-Man will release a day after Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Star Wars and Hera Pheri 3 will release on the same date in India.
Other big Hollywood offerings include Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Terminator Genisys and Spectre (the next Bond film). "Earlier, Hollywood films were considered niche in India, but now they have a large audience. This is because Hollywood studios have now started considering tier-II and tier-III markets as well. English films are being dubbed to reach more audiences," says trade analyst Komal Nahta.
Spectre and Avengers: Age of Ultron, two big Hollywood films set to hit theatres in India this year.
Amrita Pandey, VP and head (marketing and distribution), Studios, Disney India agrees, saying, "An additional advantage is the contribution of these dubbed versions to the revenue of English films."
However, filmmaker Ramesh Taurani has a more relaxed view of the situation. He is not worried about the Hollywood influx. "I don’t think Hollywood films are a threat to Hindi cinema. Our films, like our culture, are driven by emotions and feelings," he says, admitting that Bollywood film-makers still "try and avoid clashing with big English films" just to be on the safe side.
Although the market share of Hollywood movies is still believed to be only around 10 per cent in India, experts feel that the performance of Furious 7 will be a game-changer.
Reportedly, the top 10 Hollywood films, amongst the 50 that released in India in 2013, earned a total of `323 crore. Their theatrical growth in India is estimated to be 12 per cent a year. "Usually, Indian markets contribute around 3 per cent to Hollywood films’ total earnings, but Furious 7 has taken it up to around 7 per cent," says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi.
However, Hollywood’s popularity in India is still largely dependent on the famous franchises. Hence, it is no surprise that the biggest Hollywood earners in India till now, according to reports, have been Quantum Of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), The Avengers (2012), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013) and the Harry Potter films. Films like Avatar (2009; that made over `100 crore in India) and 2012 (2009) have been exceptions.
"Hindi film-makers have to up their game. If they can do that, nothing can threaten our films," adds Rathi.