Sony Pictures bullish on 06-07 releases

MUMBAI: “Get Ready for a New Sensation!” That’s what Sony Pictures Releasing of India Ltd is offering its audiences and trade partners in the coming few months. A truly mammoth lineup of films in 2006 – 2007 is what the company has in its kitty.


With eight movies releasing in the coming three months from the Sony and Disney (the two have a distribution deal in India) stables, the duo jointly have another handful lined up in 2007. “While 10 years ago, India stood 72nd out of 76 global markets for Sony on the film’s front, today it is close to being a top 10 market. We have commanded a 50 per cent market share for six years running and this is something that we can’t boast of having anywhere in the world,” said Sony Pictures Entertainment Films India CEO Uday Singh.


What’s more, 2006 – 2007 will also mark the release of Sony Pictures Releasing’s first animation film – Open Season and its first Indian co-production – Saawariya with Sanjay Leela Bhansali.


The films lined up are as follows:


Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby will be released on 13 October, which will be followed by Sony Pictures’ first animation film – Open Season, slated to release on 20 October.


Sony’s stop-motion animation film Monster House will hit the theatres on 3 November. This will be followed by the latest Bond flick – Casino Royale – starring Daniel Craig, which will hit cinema screens simultaneously in India and the US on 17 November.


December will see the release of The Guardian, which will release on 1 December. The film stars Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. All The King’s Men directed by Steven Zaillian will be released on 8 December, whereas The Covenant will be released on 15 December. The year will be wrapped up with the release of Denzel Washington starrer Déjà Vu, which will hit the theatres on 29 December.


SPE’s Gridiron Gang, which opened worldwide to $14.4 million, will be released in India on 12 January, 2007. The film is directed by Phil Joanou and stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Jude Law starrer Breaking and Entering will be released on 19 January.


Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst will release in India on 9 February whereas action thriller Primeval will be simultaneously released in India and the US on the same day. Nicholas Cage’s action adventure Ghost Rider will thrill Indian audiences from 23 February, whereas The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith will release on 9 March.


March will also see the release of The Invisible, which will be released on 16 March. Animated film Meet the Robinsons will be released on 20 April, whereas the action adventure Spider-Man 3 will entertain audiences from 4 May. Spider-Man 3 starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst will be simultaneously released in the US and India.


And if that was not enough, the histrionics of Johnny Depp will yet again enthrall audiences with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End on 1 June. This year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest grossed $1 billion in worldwide box office and has been the third biggest in Hollywood’s history. In India, the film grossed Rs 187.41 million at the box office.


Some of the other films lined up from Disney in 2007 are the animation film Ratatouille, Hollywoodland and Living the Dream: Goal 2. Apart from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, the other films that are currently under production are National Treasure 2, Enchanted and Gustave (2007) and also The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which is slated for a release in 2008.


Singh said, “We started our new home entertainment division – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment – a year back. We have also launched a special unit for small films with an aim to aid cinema business. Our first Indian co-production is also underway. Sony Pictures’ and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya starring Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor will hit theatres in Diwali 2007. While others offer you the world, we deliver the earth.”


Walt Disney Company India managing director Rajat Jain said, “We have had a long and exciting partnership with Sony Pictures. Disney is also actively looking at local Disney branded Bollywood films in the near future and we will be making a significant investment in the same.”




Sony is also upbeat on the home entertainment front. One of the most controversial films of this year The Da Vinci Code will be released on home video tomorrow (10 October) by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE). Directed by Ron Howard, The Da Vinci Code stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou.


What’s more, after dubbing their movies in Hindi for DVD and VCD, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also dubbed 20 titles in Tamil. “After Hindi and Tamil, we are planning to dub our films in Telugu and Bengali this month. In the future we will also be evaluating other Indian languages to dub our movies in,” said Sony Pictures Home Entertainment country manager N. Muthuram.


The division will also be launching some direct to video movies in the coming months. The first one will be the sci-fi thriller Final Fantasy VII, which will be released on DVD on 5 November. Robert Ludlum’s The Hades Factor will be released on DVD on 1 January, 2007, whereas Friends with Money starring Jennifer Aniston and John Cusack will be launched on DVD on 30 January, 2007.


Other Direct to DVD titles include Hollow Man 3 and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.


With such a robust lineup of films in theatrical as well as home video releases, Sony Pictures sure is bullish and ready to ‘sensationalize’ the market.