Hollywood films are not promoted very well in India but they are promoted well globally. The advantage they enjoy is that the Indian audience is aware of their films via the Internet. Movie-goers here follow and study their favourite Hollwyood actors and films over the Internet, and use this information when deciding whether or not to watch a Hollywood film that releases here. This definitely applies to a film like Logan. Of course, not all Hollywood films work here, only those with big stars and produced by banners are fortunate enough to work here without promotion. When it comes to Bollywood, there is competition every day, so promotions take place on a big scale.
Every English film doesn’t fare well at the box office; only big-branded English movies do, even though they are not heavily promoted. There is no real competition between Hollywood and Bollywood since each industry has its own space and that’s why Hollywood films here don’t need to be promoted. Today’s audience is very aware of Hollywood actors and films so they watch these films anyway. Hollywood franchise films do very well in India as the audience follows those films. A production company is also well acquainted with the fact that films like Logan, Harry Potter etc., will do great business in multiplexes.
Here, marketing of Hollywood movies is not really good except for a few like a Bond, Spiderman or A Jungle Book, Where the franchise or the brand is so strong that these films really need no promotions as such. So mostly we need to depend on Hindi content/movies so it’s very obvious that we have to promote them in a big way. Also here I would like to say a Logan only performs in multiplexes but doesn’t really save exhibitors from interior cinema halls wherein a good Hindi commercial film does, like Commando 2 in interiors worked fairly well.
I believe that comparing Hollywood’s collections to those of Bollywood is not a fair comparison. Both have their own audience and they can coexist. Yes, the growth in Bollywood has dropped in the last couple of years while Hollywood has grown. But this year has started really well and we may witness the biggest Q1 for any calendar year in recent times, thanks to Hindi films. We have also seen new-age films like Kapoor & Sons, Neerja and Piku gaining acceptance at the box office.
About marketing… Yes, Hollywood is adopting the right practices with focused marketing and a media mix but Bollywood needs a larger reach and for big-budget movies, one needs to go all out. Yes, there is a need to define a media mix with digital reach increasing and changing the behaviour of the audience.
Indian producers are marketing their films smartly these days and they are exploring new territories and experimenting with new publicity mediums as traditional mediums like TV, print and outdoor are way too expensive. Still, we need to break the monotony of the typical promotions like standard events, press conferences, going on a few popular TV shows and following the regular PR gimmicks. Commando 2 and Logan have done very good business at all our centres as we cater largely to the masses.
Asian countries are not a primary market for Hollywood studios and this is why they have limited marketing budgets here. Still, most Hollywood films work in India because they either carry the legacy of a popular franchise or they have a good Indian connect or they have already created a noise on the festival/awards circuits. Otherwise, they also fight with Indian films to get good shows and better footfalls.
The reason some films do great business without much promotion or marketing is that they are branded. And if the film is a sequel or a prequel, it definitely doesn’t need to be promoted. A prime example of this is Logan. Social media takes care of spreading awareness. Films like Pink didn’t do go ballistic with promotions but it had a very strong presence on social media. The point is the film should be strong on content to be successful. Spending loads of cash on promotions is not enough to bring success.
Films that have made their mark and which have good content do not need to be heavily promoted. If the film has a big star cast, chances are it will be successful even without much marketing.