Hollywood studios fail to make impact in Indian film industry

    MUMBAI: One first saw it with the disaster that was Saawariya, which was Sony Pictures Entertainment’s first Hindi co-production venture. What followed next was The Walt Disney Studios co-production with Yash Raj Films – Roadside Romeo, which received ho-hum response at the box office. The latest Hollywood studio to enter the Indian film industry with a big budget extravaganza is Warner Bros with the Akshay Kumar starrer Chandni Chowk To China.

    While Warner Bros failed to create any ripples at the box office with its earlier release Saas Bahu Aur Sensex, expectations were high from CC2C. However, going by the initial reports that are coming in, what has been dished out is a lavishly mounted fare with no seasoning whatsoever!

    The paid previews on Thursday opened to lacklustre response followed by an average opening at the box office on Friday. Critics worldwide have also slammed the movie. Moreover, you can’t pass off a bad movie just by saying “Leave your brains behind” like director Nikhil Advani said. Even leaving one’s brains behind doesn’t help in sitting through CC2C is the sentiment floating around!

    While Hollywood studios have lately upped their interest in the Indian market, none of them have managed to have the right start with a strong opening for any of their films. So where are they going wrong?

    An industry observer Businessofcinema.com spoke to says, “Front loading marketing spends are not necessary to open a film. Talent interaction with audiences and the media at multiplexes and other venues cuts way above like what has been done for movies such as Ghajini, Taare Zameen Par and Singh Is Kinng. Moreover, paid previews of the movie should be held only if one is sure of the content that is being dished out. CC2C killed itself even before it released by holding paid previews on Thursday, which were not received well.”

    Good content coupled with the correct marketing strategy plays an important role in the success of any movie. While the hype around CC2C did not measure up to the hype around Ghajini, what also came as a disappointment was that the movie was not up to the mark in terms of the entertainment quotient if offered.

    “While the Hindi movies that Hollywood studios have been involved with have been weak on content, another fact is that they have been made on lavish budgets, which act as a deterrent to the recoveries at the box office,” says an industry professional who did not wish to be named.

    Another Hollywood studio that is due to make its debut next week in Bollywood is Sony BMG, which has co-produced Raaz – The Mystery Continues (RTMC) with Vishesh Films. A factor that is likely to work in favour of RTMC is that it is made on a mid-size budget and is a thriller / horror. This genre has been finding audiences lately with the success of movies like Phoonk and 1920. RTMC’s fate along with that of the studio, however, will only be known next week when it releases worldwide on 23 January.