Hollywood Film Revenue in India Rises 10 Percent, Boosted by Dubbed Versions

The Jungle Book Still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of Disney

Big hit 'The Jungle Book' made more than half of its revenue in the country from local dubbed versions.

Hollywood film revenue in India grew by about 10 percent in 2016, driven by dubbed versions, according to the annual entertainment industry report by KPMG India, unveiled at the FICCI FRAMES conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.

While total revenues for Hollywood films were not disclosed, the report said that the top 10 Hollywood films in India reached $108.8 million (7.1 billion rupees) in 2016, compared with $99.5 million (6.5 billion rupees) in 2015.

Last summer's The Jungle Book became the highest-grossing Hollywood film in India ever, collecting around $38.2 million (2.5 billion rupees).

The report said that Hollywood's growth was helped by the increasing contribution of dubbed versions, highlighting that over the last two to three years, "nearly 40 percent of English releases are dubbed in at least one local language" in India.

The Jungle Book's dubbed versions contributed 58 percent to its total revenue, compared to 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, which saw 45 percent of its revenue from dubbed versions.

The report also pointed out that another growth factor was the rising trend of Indian actors featured in Hollywood films, such as Irrfan Khan, who starred with Tom Hanks in Inferno. Hollywood's share of the Indian market is estimated at about 10 percent.

Taking a broader look, the report said that overall, the Indian film industry “had a disappointing year with a near flat performance as the core revenue streams of domestic theatricals and cable and satellite TV rights declined, on the back of poor box-office performance of Bollywood and [South Indian language] Tamil films."

Total film revenue in India amounted to $2.18 billion (142.3 billion rupees) in 2016, up only 3 percent compared to $2.11 billion (Rs 138.2 billion) in 2015.

Moreover, the report estimated that India's unexpected currency reforms caused a drop of 20 percent to 25 percent in box office collections during November and December. On Nov. 8, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced the demonetization drive, designed to replace old currency notes of 500 rupees and 1,000 rupees, an estimated 85 percent of the total currency in circulation, causing a serious disruption in cash supplies. The government finally lifted all cash withdrawal limits last week, signaling the official conclusion of the demonetization drive.

Looking ahead, the report still sees an upside for the film segment. It predicts that by 2021, total film revenue in India will reach $3.16 billion (206.6 billion rupees), for a compound annual growth rate of 7.7 percent, "driven by the growing depth of regional content, expansion in overseas markets and higher contribution of digital revenue streams."

Organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the FICCI-FRAMES conference runs until Thursday.