IM Global to push Bollywood films overseas
Now owned by RBP, will promote 'Kites,' 'Raavan'NEW DELHI – L.A.-based sales company IM Global – now majority-owned by Reliance Big Entertainment -- is looking to widen the appeal of RBE banner Reliance Big Pictures titles such as upcoming releases “Kites” and “Raavan” and last year's “3 Idiots.”
Established in 2007, IM Global has quickly made a name for itself marketing projects such as 2009's surprise hit “Paranormal Activity” and the acclaimed “A Single Man.”
“In the bigger traditional territories we have positioned ‘Kites’ and ‘Raavan’ with bigger corporate players like Icon (Australia/New Zealand/Fiji), Nu Metro (South Africa) and Gulf/Al Nasr (Middle East). We are also setting up the films with big European companies like Studio Canal (France), Optimum (U.K. DVD and TV while Reliance handles theatrical) and Svensk (Scandinavia)... I'd like to think much of this growth is being created by virtue of a high profile Hollywood sales company presenting the product and using its relationships,” IM Global CEO Stuart Ford said, adding that IMG have sold out all three RBP films in “traditional” territories.
Ford also added that the Reliance partnership has bigger ambitions, “Our new world cinema partnership with Reliance, ‘Anthem,’ will handle titles from all over the global arena and so I wouldn't rule out that we will handle some non-Reliance Indian movies as well over time.”
One of the major projects from the RBP fold is “Kites” starring top Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan with Mexican actress Barbara Mori. The Anurag Basu-directed film also has an English “remix” by Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour”) for U.S. audiences which will go out a week later after the original Hindi version opens May 21.
“We are releasing the Brett Ratner ‘remix’ in theatres that do not traditionally show Bollywood movies,” said Ford, who earlier worked with First Look Studios and Miramax where he was involved with world cinema successes like “Hero” and “City of God.” “We're hoping that Brett's brand, Barbara Mori's Latin fanbase plus the fact that the movie is just sheer good fun will all lead towards some crossover boxoffice,” he said.
While there is a general acceptance that Indian cinema is evolving thanks to a new generation of filmmakers who have been influenced by world cinema, marketing challenges still remain.
“Overseas exhibitors, broadcasters and DVD retailers have a model which still has to really stretch to accommodate the traditional Indian film format,” explained Ford. “But there's also an argument that if and when Western audiences make a decision to see an Indian film, what they want is an authentic experience, not ‘India lite.’”