Being number one is tough enough in today's competitive world, but staying put at the top is tougher still. For Sony Pictures Releasing of India, formerly Columbia TriStar, the challenge year-on-year is to maintain its premier position among Hollywood studios in the country.
The studio has been ahead of its rivals for the last five-odd years on the back of good properties including Spider-Man (released in 2002) and its sequel (2004), which raked in the moolah (including Rs 34.2-crore worth of ticket sales for Spider-Man 2 last year) and helped Sony Pictures achieve a turnover of Rs 100 crore in terms of total ticket sales for 2002 and '04.
This year, the Hollywood studio has a mixed bag including action movies 'XXX 2', 'Kung Fu Hustle' and 'Stealth', comedy movie 'Hitch', family entertainer 'Herbie Fully Loaded', thriller 'Dark Water', animation special 'Chicken Little', along with adventure and mystery movies 'Legends of Zorro' and 'Chronicles of Narnia'.
"Well, the genres that click in India are action-adventure, thrillers, creature features, horror and so on. And it helps when your line-up conforms to viewer tastes," says Vikramjit Roy, head - publicity and acquisitions, Sony Pictures Releasing of India.
Incidentally, 2005 began with a bang for Sony Pictures with the studio slotting Nicholas Cage's 'National Treasure' in January. This month, the studio had the Jennifer Lopez-Richard Gere romantic flick 'Shall We Dance' on February 11, while March 18 will be the time for the Will Smith-starrer 'Hitch'.
'XXX 2' starring Vin Diesel and Chinese movie 'Kung Fu Hustle' are the big-ticket movies for April and May, and for these flicks Sony Pictures has plans to unleash a 360-degree marketing campaign cutting across print, outdoor, on-ground, PR etc.
"Understanding what will work for a movie, be it PR, promotions etc, is something that we focus on in detail. We try and ensure that the campaign achieves its overall objective," says Roy.
For National Treasure, for instance, marketing was skewed towards on-ground events/promotions with treasure hunts conducted at various multiplexes, a tie-up with Barista and in the wake of the tsunami, the studio organised special screenings to generate funds for the victims of the calamity.
Prominent brands riding on National Treasure included Seagram's and for forthcoming big-ticket movies, the studio is talking to advertisers, says Roy.
Local Hindi/Hinglish productions are also distributed by Sony Pictures, and the line-up for this year will be announced shortly, he says. Last year, the studio distributed about five movies including Gurinder Chadha's Bride & Prejudice, Love in Nepal, Aitbaar, Paap and The King of Bollywood.
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