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    Mar 2009
    Lonley Planet

    Default Hollywood Production Houses Are India-Bound Despite Box Office Debacles

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    The Hollywood production houses have decided to carve a niche for their movies despite having some of the box office debacles for their collaborations like ‘Saawariya’, ‘Chandni Chowk To China’ and ‘Roadside Romeo’.

    "We've recognised that the Hollywood studios are very small in the Indian market. We are less than 10 percent in this market place," Michael Ellis, president and managing director of Motion Pictures Association (Asia-Pacific), told media.

    Motion Pictures Association is the advocating body for the American motion picture, home video and television industries.

    "We're encouraging all our studios to invest in India with co-productions with films or TV deals and it is exciting because then we'll be making products for the Indian market; we will try to participate at that level," he added.

    Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures was the first production house that started the trend by co-producing ‘Saawariya’ with Sanjay Leela Bhansali Films. Then came Warner Bros, who co-produced ‘Chandni Chowk To China’ with Rohan Sippy and also bought the distribution rights for ‘Saas Bahu Aur Sensex’.

    Similarly Walt Disney Co. Also took interest in Indian movie production by making a joint venture with Yash Raj Films for an animation film called ‘Roadside Romeo’.

    Though, none of the Hollywood movie production houses did thge profit, yet they cannot turn away from huge Indian movie market.

    Michael Ellis is however optimistic about the result saying that filmmakers have to collaborate more to make an impact in this lucrative film market.

    "We can't always win. This is a tough business. This is learning. You don't get it right on day one. Many films in America don't succeed. But the films that some of the studios have made have certainly raised the awareness that we're doing films here,” said Ellis.

    "The Indian film products clearly dominate and they (Bollywood filmmakers) understand this market far better than we can," Ellis added..

    About the huge investments, he said, "Our studios are investing more into local films coming in the next year. They've (the studios) all got a whole slate.”

    "It's not just going to be one film that they have. It's going to be a series of films over next year and they've already got the scripts up and running. They are identifying the producers and will make those films in the traditional Indian way," he said.

    "Everybody is looking at different products mix but, yes, you'll be seeing more Hindi-type movies," he said replying to the type of content in the movie production.
    Fox Star has also acquired Karan Johar's upcoming flick ‘My Name Is Khan for a sum of $20 million. The studio has also signed Vipul Shah and A.R. Murugadoss.a for the next two movies.

    It’s not the end of the story. Renowned Hollywood screenplay writer-director Paul Schrader plans to make a film titled "Xtrme City" in collaboration with bollywood director Anubhav Sinha, which is about the mafia and slums in Mumbai.

    "The studios are committed. They've got funding lined up, got great projects on line, great scripts and they're also identifying the right producers (here) to make that film. There's a terrific market here that could be explored,” said the president of the American production body.

    "With Hollywood funding or adaptation of scripts and with some production techniques, we have to recognise that there is also a way to do Indian films here. We have to learn that as well," he added.



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