Walt Disney goes to Bollywood with ambitious plan

The Walt Disney Company is stepping up its production initiatives in India. The company is betting big on localisation and charting a roadmap to create 14 new family-oriented films in India. Five of these projects are in advanced stages of planning.

According to the company, outside the US, India is one of the largest markets that the company has invested in for local production.

Mahesh Samat, managing director, The Walt Disney Company (India) said: “We are pretty serious about India. Local content will make the Disney brand more relevant in India. Going forward our efforts will be to invest in Hindi films. Outside the US, India is the top market for investment in local content. There are a few projects in the regional space as well and we are starting with south India. It is an important market and will help in increasing  Disney’s brand presence and relevance throughout India .”

The still-to-be-named South Indian epic fantasy is scheduled for release in January next year. The Telegu-language movie, which will be dubbed in Tamil, is expected to increase the company’s appeal in the south Indian market.

Disney, however, refused to divulge investment and timeline details on 14 other projects.

Executives of The Walt Disney Co recently received the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s approval to invest Rs 1,000 crore in India.

Other Hollywood companies are also looking at production as the new business opportunity. Warner Bros and Fox Star studio have already announced their plans to go beyond “just” distribution.

Vijay Singh, chief executive officer, Star-Fox said, “We are in the process of establishing ourselves as a one-stop shop for producers and are looking to co-produce at least five Bollywood films in India on an average.”

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