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With high demand for Indian movies, Big Cinemas goes global

business Updated: Jun 12, 2011 14:55 IST

Feeding the strong demand for Indian movies abroad, Reliance owned BIG Cinemas has become India's first cinema chain to make its presence felt around the world including the United States.

"There is a strong demand for Indian content across all markets and our cinemas are performing extremely well," CEO, Reliance MediaWorks, Anil Arjun told PTI.

Launched in 2008, the first BIG cinemas came up in American states New Jersey and Georgia. It has currently reached Illinois, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

"BIG Cinemas has over 205 screens present across 24 cities and the circuit accounts for 20-30 % of Hindi features box office collections and over 70 % of Tamil and Telegu box office collections from the US," he said.

With a vision to capture the Indian diaspora, he said, movies with superstars are a hit among audiences.

"Cinema dependents on various factors like content strength, show timings, show day etc. Movies with a strong star cast like Dabangg, 3 Idiots, My Name is Khan and Robot have performed at 100 % occupancies in our US cinemas also," Arjun said.

Catering to the huge Tamil population, the company has also entered Malaysia and Netherlands.

"In Malaysia, we now have a strong presence of 72 screens that play Hollywood features besides Chinese and Tamil films that cater to the 1.5 million Tamil populations," he added.

With Bollywood swiftly mingling with Hollywood, many Hindi movies like My Name is Khan and Kites are being produced by international banners.

"The integration that is happening at the production and distribution level across Hollywood and Bollywood would help increase the cross-over learning for players on both sides and help the market grow.

"Earlier, Indian film distribution in the US used to be disorganised due to limited number of prints, inadequate marketing and lack of screens. 3 Idiots acted as game changer and penetration doubled with BIG Cinemas reaching out Indian films to south Asian audiences across US," Arjun said.

"Filmmakers have realised the potential of the US market and this has led to planned releases through focused marketing," he added.

Bollywood actors like Om Puri and Aishwarya Rai, Naseeruddin Shah have showcased their talent in Hollywood movies, drawing Indian audiences to cinemas.

"Superstar Hrithik Roshan visited Manhattan to promote Kites and similarly Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan visited our cinemas for promotion of Tees Maar Khan and Break Ke Baad respectively which helped," Arjun said.

BIG Cinemas has also partnered with IMAX Corporation to install a new world class digital projection system in IMAX theatre in Mumbai to screen 3D films.

"The 3D momentum has picked up significantly in India from the release of Avatar. IMAX 3D enhances the 3D viewing experience. In fact, 'Avatar' is still playing at our IMAX 3D screen and continues to do well even after one and half year of release," said Arjun.