It's no news that Hindi films especially the ones with big stars are a rage in foreign countries, and over the years the popularity has spiralled. With Indian cinema gaining acclaim and good revenues on international shores, film-makers and producers are venturing into non-traditional markets. Naturally, the importance given to a good release for a big-budget film in international markets has gained momentum. We explore this angle in detail.
Tapping new markets
The domestic theatrical market obviously continues to reign, but it's hard to neglect the overseas market. Our films are now being released in territories that never had any Hindi film release earlier. For instance, recently, Krian Media Ltd announced that it would be releasing the Akshay Kumar starrer
in Panama, Peru, Denmark and France, along with 400 screens across Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australia among others. With this announcement, Boss becomes the first Indian film to release in the non-traditional Panama market.
Today, the overseas component in terms of the theatrical revenue returns is pretty substantial, but of course the recovery numbers from India are much bigger, because Indian films command a 95 per cent market share in India, compared to Hollywood films
" Raj Malik, Vice-President, Film Acquisition and Distribution, Krian Media
"I think Bollywood films create mass hysteria around the world. The appetite for Hindi films is increasing not just in India but abroad too. We"ve also tried to understand the NRI population around the world. In certain parts, there's an organic process of releasing films, in more developed markets like USA, UK and Canada, but there are Indians in many other countries," says Raj Malik, Vice-President, Film Acquisition and Distribution, Krian Media.
Recently, Dharma Productions has also partnered with Reliance Entertainment to release four of its films in international markets. Reliance Entertainment will market and distribute
Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, Hasee Toh Phasee, Ungli
Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania
overseas. "Over a period of time, the demand for Hindi films has increased. The demand by the Indian audience settled overseas to watch more Hindi as well as South Indian language movies has increased, thus producers and distributors decide on releasing their movies there. Movies that are family oriented or have popular faces like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan are in demand. So, today we have extended our regions and started overseas distribution," says Bhushan Kumar, Chairman & MD, T-series.
The number game
Earlier the returns from the international markets were just considered an add-on or bonus, but now the revenue generated, forms a substantial part of the overall profits. Malik explains why international markets are now crucial for some films. "Today, the overseas component in terms of the theatrical revenue returns is pretty substantial, but of course the recovery numbers from India are much bigger, because Indian films command a 95 per cent market share in India, compared to Hollywood films. But, interestingly, if you take for instance hit Punjabi films, the returns I"m told, from Canada might mirror the earnings it has from Punjab. In such situations, we have to consider overseas as a serious and big contributor and therefore there is a responsibility of ensuring that we have a good release in the best of theatres to play the film."
For movies which have performed well in both India and international markets, the international box office could range anywhere from 20 to 55 per cent as a percentage of India box-office. It depends on the scale of release, talent involved, distribution and marketing strategies
" Amrita Pandey, Executive Director " Syndication,
International Distribution & Disney Media Distribution, Studios, Disney UTV
A while ago, 3 Idiots released in Japan, four years after its release in India, and according to boxoffice.com, it collected "100 million in the first two weeks.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan
's overall overseas gross was $7.6 million which was the strongest opening weekend for any Hindi film abroad. Of course,
continues to be on the top when it comes to the highest grossing film, overseas. But on an average, what percentage of a film's revenue comes from an international release? Girish Johar, Head, Distribution and Acquisition, Sahara Motion Pictures, explains, "The revenue from international market has increased, but once again it depends on the film. The general scenario is that a major portion of the revenue comes from the domestic theatrical releases, followed by satellite rights and then from international earnings. The broad break-up is that 25-30 per cent comes from the overseas rights, and then the music, home video etc. For big budget films, it gets bigger." Tanuj Garg, CEO, Balaji Motion Pictures shares the same opinion, "With some films, you can barely expect two to five per cent revenue coming from overseas, while from others, you can expect to earn 20-25 per cent. I think it all depends on the star cast and story; that really decides the overseas contribution."
Amrita Pandey, Executive Director - Syndication, International Distribution & Disney Media Distribution, Studios, Disney UTV, says, "For movies which have performed well in both India and international markets, the international box-office could range anywhere from 20 to 55 per cent as a percentage of domestic box-office. It depends on the scale of release, talent involved, distribution and marketing strategies. We"ve had movies like
Rang De Basanti
, which was one of the highest grossing movies in North America and Australia. Movies like
paved the way for edgy, young movies even in territories like the UK.
busted notions that political dramas don"t work in international markets. More recently,
has smashed so many records and enthralled the audience from Peru to Singapore." The film has beaten the overall records of
majorly because of its overseas collections. According to official sources, the overseas collection for
is $19.5 million, and the film is still running in few territories. Now these figures explain the new-found importance for the overseas markets.
"People are dependent on internet and pirated prints, because Indian films are not exhibited well. We want to stretch ourselves and take Bollywood to newer markets. With more effective marketing and distribution, the scenario can get better," says Raj Malik. Garg adds, "I think we shouldn"t get carried away with this entire overseas thing and believe that the overseas markets are waiting for Bollywood films. In India, we"re just so alienated from the overseas markets that many of us don"t really have a reality check as to what kind of cinema is accepted abroad, what kind of films are made there, and what are the costs involved. I believe the overseas territory is still quite untapped in terms of marketing obviously because Indian market gives you substantially higher revenues, but if artistes start taking out more number of days for promotions so we can allocate more days for international marketing, I think there's still scope and potential for the size of the market to grow."
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