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At a time when Walt Disney India is pulling out of producing local films, leading Indian film major Eros International has announced an ambitious film slate spanning over 50 titles for 2017-18, more than twice what it offered last year.
The move also points to the company’s plans of beefing up its content pipeline for its digital service ErosNow, which claims over 2 million paying subscribers and over 55 million users worldwide. ErosNow is facing competition in India from various players including Amazon and Netflix, which launched in India last year and are also building up their local offerings.
The Eros slate includes two previously announced India-China co-productions, with the working titles The Zookeeper, from Kabir Khan, and Siddharth Anand’s Love in Beijing. The two films are co-produced by the company’s in-house franchise label Trinity Pictures with China’s Peacock Mountain Culture & Media Ltd and Huaxia Film Distribution Co., while the former chairman of China Film Group, Han Sanping (Red Cliff), serves as creative producer. Trinity’s lineup also includes Bollywood kids caper Sniff from Amole Gupte.
Also on Eros’ upcoming slate are eight projects with Colour Yellow Productions, a joint production entity with producer-director Aanand L Rai (Tanu Weds Manu Returns), including a as-yet-unnamed title starring top actor Shah Rukh Khan. The lineup also includes two films, Mukkebaz and Manmarziyaan, from director Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur). Eros will also pact for five titles with producer Viki Rajani’s NextGen Films, which include Sabbir Khan’s musical actioner Munna Michael, starring Tiger Shroff, and space odyssey Chandamama Door Ke, starring actor Sushant Singh Rajput. In addition, Eros’ upcoming releases include the third installment of the popular Sarkar franchise starring Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.
Beyond just Hindi-language Bollywood films, the slate includes 25 releases in regional languages including Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi and Bengali titles, including one from Sandip Ray, the son of the late legendary director Satyajit Ray.
“We continue to see great opportunity in nurturing talent, creating IP in-house and remain focused on delivering our promise to provide wholesome entertainment to audiences with a right mix of popular and content-driven cinema,” Eros International managing director Sunil Lulla said in a statement.
Wells Fargo senior analyst Eric Katz commented that for Eros, “more in-house production means there’s more skin in the game,” giving the company “more operating leverage to successful films with less reliance on third-party producer costs, which should benefit margins as well.”
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