Rudrarup Datta (Head of Marketing and Operations, Viacom18 Motion Pictures)
The trend is obviously changing if you look at the way Hollywood films are coming to our theatres. Unlike earlier occasions when it used to have only English versions, nowadays big Hollywood films release in other languages such as Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, which widens the audience base. This is one of the primary factors how things are changing with theatrical screenings.
Secondly, Hollywood has the franchise model worked out well that it works in their favour. India is slowly learning the ropes of making sequels, which are just about titles, and the stories may be completely new and have nothing to do with the predecessor. Hollywood makes sequels where they continue the story through the films, which keeps the audience looking forward to the next instalment. Our title sequels don’t build the phenomena like Hollywood. So if you look at films such as Batman, Spiderman or Transformers, there is a huge audience interest about what’s going to happen next.
Hollywood was limited in scope earlier but it has gone up phenomenally with good weekends and credible releases. With the advent of globalisation, internet and social media, people are in touch with the global audience. However, they are more or less about big-budget franchise films. Because these films promise an experience which Hindi films have not been able to deliver even now. Smaller films such as romcoms or even award-winning films from Hollywood hardly make a dent at the box office.
Hollywood’s penetration of Hindi audience will take a long time since Hollywood films are primarily for the English-speaking audience, which is very different from the way we view entertainment, as our Hindi films are more about emotions. So, there’s a basic difference in psyche. So Hollywood invasion is bound to happen, it’s nothing to be scared of, better to be aware of.
Girish Johar (Film business expert)
I definitely feel Indian films are in the backseat in terms of big-budget branded Hollywood films that are releasing here and doing phenomenally well. The record breaking opening of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not something new, as we have seen films like 2012 doing good business in India. Big budget film series such as Fast & Furious, Batman, Superman, Harry Potter and Iron Man, have done amazing business in the past and these are the kind of films the Indian audience looks upto for a big-screen experience.
Independence Day and Jurassic Park were just the beginning. Now the Indian media talks about big Hollywood franchises so much that smaller and medium films think twice before clashing with them at the ticket window. Because at the end of day, it does eat up a pie from the share of the audience. One of the primary factors is that it talks to the youth, which is critical for any film’s success. And given a choice, they would any day opt for a spectacular superhero film. For example, in May there are no big Bollywood releases, and most medium or small budget films shied away from clashing with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which has delivered blockbuster results.
I foresee a lot of big Hollywood films increasingly taking the share at the box office. However, I think India behaves more maturely as an audience when it comes to foreign releases. Whatever said and done, our typical commercial films still have a great demand among the larger masses. Because it has song and dance and that’s a major appeal. Also, Indian films are socially very connected plot-wise, which is absent in Hollywood films. So Hollywood works because the films are more about visual effects, and Bollywood is more about emotional appeal.