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Hollywood's Midas touch

February 16, 2005 11:43 IST

The year 2004 may have belonged to Yashraj Films. All its releases -- Hum Tum, Dhoom and Veer Zara -- made it to the top 10 last year.

But the year was equally good for the foreign studios, which saw its market pie grow from Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion) in 2003 to Rs 180 crore (Rs 1.8 billion) in 2004, as the number of releases rose from 60 in 2003 to 72 last year.

Riding on superb marketing and the growth of multiplexes in the country, several Hollywood films did better business than even some of the Bollywood mainstream hits in 2004.

Spiderman 2, the year's biggest Hollywood blockbuster, amassed a whopping Rs 34.2 crore (Rs 342 million), which was more than Mahesh Bhatt's sleaze flick Murder and Yashraj Films' Hum Tum, the two hits of 2004.

Murder grossed Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) while Hum Tum did business worth Rs 27 crore (Rs 270 million). However, the film made less than half of the year's biggest Bollywood success Veer Zara, which grossed Rs 70 crore (Rs 700 million).

Sony Pictures Releasing of India Ltd and SPE Films India Ltd (earlier Columbia TriStar Films of India) crossed Rs 1 billion (Rs 100 crore) in gross box office ticket sales last year. SPE Films is the distributor for Buena Vista International and local Indian films.

"We are proud to be the only studio to have ever reach this box office pinnacle," said Uday Singh, managing director, Sony Pictures. Apart from Spiderman 2, the other three top 10 grossers are Anacondas {Rs 22 crore (Rs 220 million)} and Resident Evil: Apocalypse {Rs 4.5 crore (Rs 45 million)}.

The year also witnessed a rise in opening weekend collections. Spiderman 2 collected Rs 7.8 crore (Rs 78 million), while Anacondas and Incredibles fetched Rs 4.8 crore (Rs 48 million) and Rs 1.9 crore (Rs 19 million), respectively.

While the success of high visibility cult films like the Spiderman franchise is due to good marketing, Anacondas' popularity is attributed to the small towns.

"The audiences have been brought to the state-of-the-art theatre experiences by the Chopras and the Johars, and we are able to complement their slick international feel looks with our products," says Singh.
Soumik Sen in Mumbai