MUMBAI: Universal Pictures International (UPI) will establish a theatrical distribution operation in Mumbai in a move to capitalise on India’s growing appetite for international cinema content.
UPI’s India operations will be headed by Sarabjit Singh as managing director, reporting into Universal Pictures International president of distribution Duncan Clark. Singh has been with Paramount Films of India Ltd (UIP) as general manager for more than a decade now.
The Mumbai office marks UPI’s 14th international operating company since the company transitioned from its UIP joint venture with Paramount Pictures in 2007. Since its transition, UPI has turned in two of its best-performing years at the international box office in 2007 and 2008 with the global success of Mamma Mia!
In 2010, UPI delivered the international success of Despicable Me, which grossed nearly $300 million internationally. In 2011, UPI brought in more than $400 million with the box office hit Fast and Furious Five, which has grossed more than $600 million in global box office to date; Bridesmaids with more than $100 million in international box office and Johnny English 2 with nearly $40 million in international box office to date.
“Establishing operations in India has always been an ambition of UPI, and with 2012 bringing us arguably Universal’s best slate in several years, we have high aspirations for the market,” Universal Pictures president – international David Kosse.
At Paramount Films of India, Singh orchestrated the release of 276 films from Universal and Paramount. Additionally, he was instrumental in introducing dubbing of films in the local languages of Hindi, Tamil and Telugu with the release of Jurassic Park.
“Sarabjit has been instrumental in UIP’s success in India. His experience in setting up distribution operations in the market will be invaluable as we build our team. We look forward to building a successful operation in India and providing Indian audiences with our exciting slate,” said Clark.
“Indian audiences are craving international theatrical content more and more, and I am excited to bring Universal’s incredibly strong 2012 slate, including tentpole titles such as Battleship, Snow White and the Huntsman and 47 Ronin to the market. I pride my career on creating award-winning sales and promotional campaigns, and I will continue to bring this level of innovation to all Universal releases,” added Singh.