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As Hollywood turns up heat, Bollywood struggles to swing its first big hit

Studios like Disney, Viacom and Warner Brothers are bringing in every big franchise film into India

Urvi Malvania  |  Mumbai 

hollywood, spiderman
Left to Right: Guardians of the Galaxy (released May 5), Spiderman: Homecoming (to be released July 2017) are part of the Hollywood 2017 slate for India

Long before Guardians of the Galaxy 2 made it to 860-odd screens across the country last week, the buzz around the movie had turned cacophonous. Trailers with Hindi song mash-ups, merchandise packs around the characters and a digital blitzkrieg in the form of teasers, contests and posters were in full flow. The third global franchise film to release this year, Guardians 2 is already raking it in and is scoring another big one at the box office while is still looking for its big hit of the year.  

Franchise are setting Indian screens on fire; from less than five a year in 2014, there are 19 being released in India this year. The numbers are up as is the noise around the launches. The are released in anywhere between 800-1,200 screens and are packed with pre- and post-release publicity and merchandise marketing. Studios like Disney, Viacom, Warner Brothers, and 20th Century Fox are bringing in every big franchise film into India, not just the prequels and sequels but also that deal with extensions of the universe and sometimes even obscure character projections. 

Studio executives say that the franchise model has taken off in India since 2014. Be it sequels like Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), the Captain Americas (2014 and 2016), XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017) or that are a part of the Marvel/DC cinematic universe such as Antman (2015) or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), they are drawing in audiences and attracting brands as publicity and merchandise partners.

Vivek Krishnani, MD, Sony Pictures Entertainment (India) says, “When a film is part of a franchise, it enjoys a level of awareness, which translates to velocity while driving footfalls. A film which is part of a franchise or simply a sequel promises higher occupancy (when compared to a standalone film) since the appeal is stronger.” There is a flipside to this because greater awareness means the audience comes with a set of expectations, formed even before the trailers are out in some cases. 

Amrita Pandey, vice-president, studios, India believes that Indian audiences are particularly receptive to what she calls ‘universal blockbusters’ across genres like super-hero/ creature/ disaster/ fantasy fare that are language agnostic. “Some of the studio’s biggest box office successes have either been a part of a larger franchise (Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Disney’s Finding Dory) or have a connection with an earlier movie (The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast), which makes them more relatable to the audience,” she says. 

Franchise have managed to successfully exploit the merchandise model in the country too. Pandey says, “With a popular franchise there is a certain sense of ownership that the audience already enjoys. They know the characters, the story is something they have invested in. The inherent connection is the initial driving factor in most cases.” This leads many to invest in character-branded products and other licensed material, thereby giving the movie a life beyond the screen and opening up new revenue streams.

While is milking its franchise formula to the hilt in India, has struggled to create a successful one. There are a few such as Housefull and Golmaal that have tried to take a leaf out of the playbook, but fall way short when it comes to critical and commercial success. There are a few successful sequels like Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015) and most recently Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, but these are few and far in between.

Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures says that creating a franchise calls for sharp focus on strategy, and of course content. “What is important is to be true to the essence of creating a franchise. One needs to closely evaluate which deserve a franchise. Not every film can be made into one. A franchise needs to ideally be able to take the story forward or up the scale of the film a few notches. Just making title franchises is a short term game and leads to a rapid decline after the first couple of in the series,” he says. He gives the example of Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, the sequel to a 2011 release. That was a runaway hit and scored five times more at the box office as compared to the part one of the film. The Transformers series is another example, the growth in business from number 3 to 4 was almost 75 per cent and the Mission Impossible franchise followed a similar trend, he says.

Franchise films, studio heads say, are a perfect study in how to build a brand. It is a long-term play, not just a one story affair. Also it works only when the creators are able to build a larger universe around the story, filling the plot with back stories, character extensions and open-ended resolutions that could take the story further. “The concept of a franchise forms the basics of brand building. invest heavily in marketing to create recall for the movie brand. When you extend the brand into a franchise, it significantly reduces the need to build the brand from scratch and hence marketing investments can be optimised with disproportionate returns,” Andhare says.  

It also opens up ancillary revenue streams like gaming and merchandise. “With merchandise, it’s a win-win for the studio and the brand. It gives a touch and feel experience (of the characters/franchise) to the audience. For the brand, it’s an opportunity to tap into the fan base of the franchise,” Krishnani adds. It is all about numbers at the end of the day.

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As Hollywood turns up heat, Bollywood struggles to swing its first big hit

Studios like Disney, Viacom and Warner Brothers are bringing in every big franchise film into India

Studios like Disney, Viacom and Warner Brothers are bringing in every big franchise film into India
Long before Guardians of the Galaxy 2 made it to 860-odd screens across the country last week, the buzz around the movie had turned cacophonous. Trailers with Hindi song mash-ups, merchandise packs around the characters and a digital blitzkrieg in the form of teasers, contests and posters were in full flow. The third global franchise film to release this year, Guardians 2 is already raking it in and is scoring another big one at the box office while is still looking for its big hit of the year.  

Franchise are setting Indian screens on fire; from less than five a year in 2014, there are 19 being released in India this year. The numbers are up as is the noise around the launches. The are released in anywhere between 800-1,200 screens and are packed with pre- and post-release publicity and merchandise marketing. Studios like Disney, Viacom, Warner Brothers, and 20th Century Fox are bringing in every big franchise film into India, not just the prequels and sequels but also that deal with extensions of the universe and sometimes even obscure character projections. 

Studio executives say that the franchise model has taken off in India since 2014. Be it sequels like Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), the Captain Americas (2014 and 2016), XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017) or that are a part of the Marvel/DC cinematic universe such as Antman (2015) or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), they are drawing in audiences and attracting brands as publicity and merchandise partners.

Vivek Krishnani, MD, Sony Pictures Entertainment (India) says, “When a film is part of a franchise, it enjoys a level of awareness, which translates to velocity while driving footfalls. A film which is part of a franchise or simply a sequel promises higher occupancy (when compared to a standalone film) since the appeal is stronger.” There is a flipside to this because greater awareness means the audience comes with a set of expectations, formed even before the trailers are out in some cases. 

Amrita Pandey, vice-president, studios, India believes that Indian audiences are particularly receptive to what she calls ‘universal blockbusters’ across genres like super-hero/ creature/ disaster/ fantasy fare that are language agnostic. “Some of the studio’s biggest box office successes have either been a part of a larger franchise (Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Disney’s Finding Dory) or have a connection with an earlier movie (The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast), which makes them more relatable to the audience,” she says. 

Franchise have managed to successfully exploit the merchandise model in the country too. Pandey says, “With a popular franchise there is a certain sense of ownership that the audience already enjoys. They know the characters, the story is something they have invested in. The inherent connection is the initial driving factor in most cases.” This leads many to invest in character-branded products and other licensed material, thereby giving the movie a life beyond the screen and opening up new revenue streams.

While is milking its franchise formula to the hilt in India, has struggled to create a successful one. There are a few such as Housefull and Golmaal that have tried to take a leaf out of the playbook, but fall way short when it comes to critical and commercial success. There are a few successful sequels like Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015) and most recently Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, but these are few and far in between.

Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures says that creating a franchise calls for sharp focus on strategy, and of course content. “What is important is to be true to the essence of creating a franchise. One needs to closely evaluate which deserve a franchise. Not every film can be made into one. A franchise needs to ideally be able to take the story forward or up the scale of the film a few notches. Just making title franchises is a short term game and leads to a rapid decline after the first couple of in the series,” he says. He gives the example of Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, the sequel to a 2011 release. That was a runaway hit and scored five times more at the box office as compared to the part one of the film. The Transformers series is another example, the growth in business from number 3 to 4 was almost 75 per cent and the Mission Impossible franchise followed a similar trend, he says.

Franchise films, studio heads say, are a perfect study in how to build a brand. It is a long-term play, not just a one story affair. Also it works only when the creators are able to build a larger universe around the story, filling the plot with back stories, character extensions and open-ended resolutions that could take the story further. “The concept of a franchise forms the basics of brand building. invest heavily in marketing to create recall for the movie brand. When you extend the brand into a franchise, it significantly reduces the need to build the brand from scratch and hence marketing investments can be optimised with disproportionate returns,” Andhare says.  

It also opens up ancillary revenue streams like gaming and merchandise. “With merchandise, it’s a win-win for the studio and the brand. It gives a touch and feel experience (of the characters/franchise) to the audience. For the brand, it’s an opportunity to tap into the fan base of the franchise,” Krishnani adds. It is all about numbers at the end of the day.

image
Business Standard
177 22

As Hollywood turns up heat, Bollywood struggles to swing its first big hit

Studios like Disney, Viacom and Warner Brothers are bringing in every big franchise film into India

Long before Guardians of the Galaxy 2 made it to 860-odd screens across the country last week, the buzz around the movie had turned cacophonous. Trailers with Hindi song mash-ups, merchandise packs around the characters and a digital blitzkrieg in the form of teasers, contests and posters were in full flow. The third global franchise film to release this year, Guardians 2 is already raking it in and is scoring another big one at the box office while is still looking for its big hit of the year.  

Franchise are setting Indian screens on fire; from less than five a year in 2014, there are 19 being released in India this year. The numbers are up as is the noise around the launches. The are released in anywhere between 800-1,200 screens and are packed with pre- and post-release publicity and merchandise marketing. Studios like Disney, Viacom, Warner Brothers, and 20th Century Fox are bringing in every big franchise film into India, not just the prequels and sequels but also that deal with extensions of the universe and sometimes even obscure character projections. 

Studio executives say that the franchise model has taken off in India since 2014. Be it sequels like Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), the Captain Americas (2014 and 2016), XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017) or that are a part of the Marvel/DC cinematic universe such as Antman (2015) or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), they are drawing in audiences and attracting brands as publicity and merchandise partners.

Vivek Krishnani, MD, Sony Pictures Entertainment (India) says, “When a film is part of a franchise, it enjoys a level of awareness, which translates to velocity while driving footfalls. A film which is part of a franchise or simply a sequel promises higher occupancy (when compared to a standalone film) since the appeal is stronger.” There is a flipside to this because greater awareness means the audience comes with a set of expectations, formed even before the trailers are out in some cases. 

Amrita Pandey, vice-president, studios, India believes that Indian audiences are particularly receptive to what she calls ‘universal blockbusters’ across genres like super-hero/ creature/ disaster/ fantasy fare that are language agnostic. “Some of the studio’s biggest box office successes have either been a part of a larger franchise (Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Disney’s Finding Dory) or have a connection with an earlier movie (The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast), which makes them more relatable to the audience,” she says. 

Franchise have managed to successfully exploit the merchandise model in the country too. Pandey says, “With a popular franchise there is a certain sense of ownership that the audience already enjoys. They know the characters, the story is something they have invested in. The inherent connection is the initial driving factor in most cases.” This leads many to invest in character-branded products and other licensed material, thereby giving the movie a life beyond the screen and opening up new revenue streams.

While is milking its franchise formula to the hilt in India, has struggled to create a successful one. There are a few such as Housefull and Golmaal that have tried to take a leaf out of the playbook, but fall way short when it comes to critical and commercial success. There are a few successful sequels like Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015) and most recently Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, but these are few and far in between.

Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures says that creating a franchise calls for sharp focus on strategy, and of course content. “What is important is to be true to the essence of creating a franchise. One needs to closely evaluate which deserve a franchise. Not every film can be made into one. A franchise needs to ideally be able to take the story forward or up the scale of the film a few notches. Just making title franchises is a short term game and leads to a rapid decline after the first couple of in the series,” he says. He gives the example of Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, the sequel to a 2011 release. That was a runaway hit and scored five times more at the box office as compared to the part one of the film. The Transformers series is another example, the growth in business from number 3 to 4 was almost 75 per cent and the Mission Impossible franchise followed a similar trend, he says.

Franchise films, studio heads say, are a perfect study in how to build a brand. It is a long-term play, not just a one story affair. Also it works only when the creators are able to build a larger universe around the story, filling the plot with back stories, character extensions and open-ended resolutions that could take the story further. “The concept of a franchise forms the basics of brand building. invest heavily in marketing to create recall for the movie brand. When you extend the brand into a franchise, it significantly reduces the need to build the brand from scratch and hence marketing investments can be optimised with disproportionate returns,” Andhare says.  

It also opens up ancillary revenue streams like gaming and merchandise. “With merchandise, it’s a win-win for the studio and the brand. It gives a touch and feel experience (of the characters/franchise) to the audience. For the brand, it’s an opportunity to tap into the fan base of the franchise,” Krishnani adds. It is all about numbers at the end of the day.

image
Business Standard
177 22