Congratulations on your hat-trick with Captain America: Civil War.
Thank you. It feels quite amazing. What is really special for us is that these movies are across three of our Studio brands – Disney, UTV Motion Pictures and Marvel! Undoubtedly, each film promised strong content and great entertainment, what boosted the business is the unique positioning and promotion campaigns rolled out for each film. In terms of The Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War, providing the local touch through the several initiatives (roping in A-Talent voice cast for the Hindi versions of both films, revival of Jungle jungle baat chali haiand The bare necessities and Neel Sethi’s visit to India forThe Jungle Book and Captain America figurine visits across the country for the Marvel spectacle and getting the local superstar Varun Dhawan to dub for Captain America) really got the audience excited to come to the theatres and watch it. As for Baaghi, it was an action romance film so we strategically designed initiatives to appeal action-loving audience and youth fans of the fresh lead pair, Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor. The astounding success of the three diverse films also reiterates our belief in conceptualising and designing unique marketing and promotional plans for each film.
Were you expecting a result like this, in terms of collections?
I will start with the first film, The Jungle Book. Even before we watched the film, we knew of the opportunity and affinity that it presented – given the legacy of The Jungle Book here in India. We watched the movie in January, and knew we had a really good film. We spent a considerable time strategising on how we were going to present the film and localising it and getting the Hindi version right, getting the marketing for both Hindi and English correct – and then the team worked to deploy that extremely effectively. We did expect it to do well but are overjoyed and very excited with the final results – where the film has gone on to set new benchmarks for English films in India! And rubbing shoulders with the biggest local grosser in the country.
With Baaghi as well, there was excitement from the first trailer itself. The film was going to see the successful combination of Heropanti – Nadiadwala, Tiger, Sabbir Khan and UTV come together again! The cast – Shraddha Kapoor and Tiger Shroff coming together was a massive draw as well. The action and thriller aspects of the film were put together in such a compelling manner – Tiger Shroff was doing something he does well. Baaghi has also really done exceedingly well – and we are really pleased with the results.
Our previous Avengers and Iron Man franchises have done record breaking business in India. These superheroes are hugely popular in India. So that element really worked very well for Captain AmericaCivil War. Furthermore these most popular superheroes come at loggerheads in the film, which took the excitement to the next level. What’s very encouraging is to see that Civil War is equally successful in both English and Hindi!
I would like to point out that if the content is good and the audience likes what they see, there is nothing to stop it, really. Our responsibility is to package it right, mount awareness, get the communication through to the target audience. Once, you get it out the right way, then the movie takes over. And all three movies have really taken over, so they are really special.
All three films have distinct things about them, like, all of them are youth-centric. Did you plan for them to release one after another?
We planned Baaghi in May last year. Two years ago, we did Heropanti, which also released during the IPL, which coincides with the summer vacation. So we wanted to release Baaghi too during the summer holidays. So we pretty much locked April earlier last year.
The Jungle Book and Civil War are English films and it’s more about which week we select. You can go one week prior to the US; you can release during the same week as the US or a week later. We selected April 8 forThe Jungle Book because that’s when schools all over the country have just closed for the summer. We even had a holiday during that period (Gudi Padwa, Ugadi), where a few states had a holiday during that week. Similarly, for Captain America: Civil War, we chose a time around the US release. We figured May 6 would be a good bet.
You mentioned targeting youth in The Jungle Book… we targeted youngsters as well as families, adults and really everyone – people who grew up in the ‘90s and are familiar withThe Jungle Book and are young parents today…All of us grew up with the story so we knew the audience was very large. Captain America too has a young audience as does Baaghi.
But it was not only about age; it was also about how deep you penetrate within the country. With Baaghi, we looked at the top 10 performing cinemas. The highest performing cinema was in Surat; two cinemas in the top 10 were in Jaipur; there were cinemas in Patna, Chandigarh and Jammu. Now this is not something you see with every Hindi movie, where cinemas in Mumbai, Bangalore etc are usually in the top 10. So with Baaghi, the idea was to go deep with mass centres as well.