In what was a first of sorts, Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee kickstarted the promotions of his upcoming Hollywood film Life of Pi in India and even visited the country recently as part of the promotional rounds.
Earlier this year, it was Hollywood heavyweight Tom Cruise making a pit-stop here during the worldwide promotional rounds for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Several other international studios are said to be following in the footsteps of these biggies and are known to be angling to include India as part of the promotional rounds for the cast of their films.
And with India proving to be an important market for international films, insiders reveal that the studios are even loosening their purse strings when it comes to allocating the marketing budgets for promotions in India.
An insider from one of the leading Hollywood studios here reveals that the budgets for India promotions have shot up by as much as 30% over the past year itself. “Earlier most studios would skip India when it came to promotions, but today the country is being given as much importance as any of the other East Asian country like Japan or Korea which were the preferred markets until now. Earlier the budgets allocated to India would be minimal. Today, India is being considered equally viable and marketing here is gaining importance for them too,” explains the insider.
“From local brand tie-ups like we had for Ice Age 4: Continental Drift to multi-city distribution for Life of Pi, there is no denying that India is gaining prominence when it comes to marketing Hollywood movies. Not just that, most big ticket films are even released here simultaneously with overseas markets. These films are to a great extent even taking on their desi counterparts at the BO,” shares Vivek Krishnani, Head of Distribution, Marketing and Syndication, Fox Star Studios.
Another insider reveals that the marketing and distribution strategies are getting more aggressive here. “The Avengers was released across approximately 800 screens nationwide and was also dubbed in Hindi, Telegu and Tamil. Similarly, the recent Bond release Skyfall had the cast and crew interacting with local media extensively,” says a trade observer. “Hollywood is eating into Hindi film markets and this has not gone unnoticed by these Holly studios, who now want their share of Indian market pies,” feels a segment of the industry. The Holly studios here however are rejoicing as India gets bigger on their map of promotions. “We are looking forward to bringing many big names here in the near future. It’s a win-win situation for all,” adds Krishnani.