Fox Star Studios, from the looks of it, has had an average year. The collaboration between Twentieth Century Fox and Star India started operations here in 2008 and has focused on releasing a mix of English titles sourced from the mother ship and locally co-produced Hindi films.
The studio has a different spin on the events. The year that is almost behind us was spent on preparing for the next 12 months, said Vijay Singh, CEO at the studio. “2013 has been a year building a pipeline for 2014,” he said. “One of the key changes has been to move away from an acquisition to a development model. It takes between 12 and 18 months to do that. We have got to make films that creatively push the envelope but are also commercially sensible. It’s so easy to lose your shirt in this business.”
The company will continue to take the co-production route to deepen its presence in Bollywood—a three-film deal with Vishesh Films, run by the brothers Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt and including the 3D venture Mr X, will contribute to its Hindi crop. Fox Star and Vishesh had previously tied up forRaaz 3 and Murder 3. “We have focused on strengthening relationships that were already in place, and we have also been able to strike some new interesting relationships,” Singh said.
“We need to have more storytellers and script writers, and in the interim, the remake is a nice way to fill the gap,” Singh said. Another of the scheduled releases is Bang Bang, Siddharth Anand’s remake of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz starrer Knight and Day. Bang Bang has been beset by production delays, partly because of lead actor Hrithik Roshan’s physical and emotional ailments, but will release on schedule on 2 October, Singh said.
The Fox part of the company’s name will yield mostly sequels but also the dramas The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Book Thief and The Monuments Men. Hollywood’s market share of the theatrical business in India has been steadily increasing in recent years, observed Singh, from about 5% when his company set up shop to around 9-10%. “Tentpoles and franchises are going up, since 60-70% of Hollywood’s business is coming from outside markets, so the product must travel across diverse markets,” he added. In the Hollywood pipeline are Rio 2, X Men First Class: Days of the Future Past, How to Train your Dragon 2, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Night At The Museum 3.