Franchise Man swoops in to save Bollywood

Wed Mar 4, 2015 6:44am EST
 
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Bollywood is looking for its next superhero, one who can swoop in to amuse audiences in a film industry bereft of fresh ideas. Its name might be Franchise Man.

At least two movie studios in India are focusing on franchises, developing stories that will span three films.

In the past, the Indian film industry has used the term "franchise" loosely. Typically, producers inch their way toward sequels, greenlighting them only when the first film is a hit.

The "Krrish" superhero series and the "Dhoom" action franchise started as one-offs a decade ago, but the third films in the series released in 2013, earned more than $40 million at the Indian box office.

Bollywood is hungry for more franchises to repeat that performance. Eros International Media , one of its biggest studios, has launched an in-house production wing to "build franchises with lasting value," it said in a press release.

Independent studio Abundantia Entertainment recently released "Baby", a fast-paced thriller about an elite anti-terrorist squad, which opened to glowing reviews. Work on a second film has begun.

"Franchises are about creating long-lasting brands. If it has worked in other sectors in India, why not entertainment?" said Ajit Thakur, head of Trinity, the Eros wing for franchises.

The studio board includes David Maisel, the former chairman of Marvel Studios, whose comic book characters "Captain America" and "Iron Man" were effective movie franchise anchors.   Continued...

 
Pedestrians sit in front of a poster of the upcoming Bollywood film "Krrish" in Mumbai in this June 21, 2006 file photo.   REUTERS/Adeel Halim/Files