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‘Avatar’ to return to Indian cinemas ahead of sequel’s release

Avatar, the 2009 science fiction film directed by James Cameron will re-release in India on 23 September, ahead of the sequel The Way of Water hitting screens on 16 December. The older film stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver.

In 2021, English language films had earned around Rs. 400 crore in India. In 2019, Hollywood films made Rs. 1,200 crore in the market, accounting for a 22-25% share of the market.

Hollywood films have emerged as true pan-India offerings, according to trade experts, something that even local superstars such as Salman Khan and Rajinikanth cannot do as their films appeal largely to viewers in their native markets.

It’s hugely aspirational for the youth to keep up with what may be a global fad. The only challenge is that Hollywood studios only go to DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives)-compliant theatres. There may be a challenge in reach for Hollywood films in India. However, the number of 2K cinemas is steadily going up.

DCI is a joint venture of several film studios, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros, to set up a common set of requirements that ensure a high and uniform standard of digital cinema viewing. If Spider-Man: No Way Home had gone to non-DCI theatres, opting for a release as wide as a regular Hindi film, it could have easily made Rs. 55-60 crore on day one alone, according to theatre owners.

Trade experts point out that southern states are the biggest markets for Hollywood films in India followed by Maharashtra. Dubbed versions of Spider-Man were a hit in Tamil and Telugu alongside major local films last December.

Spider-Man has shown that there is huge equity for Hollywood cinema in India, particularly in the superhero genre where perhaps India is yet to catch up.

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