Sunday, April 23, 2006

ImaginAsian: Bollywood and the U.S. Market

For long, folks in Bollywood have struggled to figure out the best way to promote and distribute their films in overseas markets like the U.S. Until a few years back, producers would sell distribution rights to someone in the U.S., and that was it - they had little or nothing to do with the promotion or exhibition of the film after that. And this process itself was, like all things in Bollywood, poorly organized. With biggies like Kishore Lulla (Eros) entering the fray, this process has improvied considerably over the past decade or so. And Web-based promotions are one way for studios/producers to stay in touch with their NRI audiences and seek ways to go beyond the NRIs and attract non-Indians as well. Now, A new venture, ImaginAsian Entertainment, seeks to alter the way Asian films circulate in the U.S. ambitious ethnic brand that has expanded from a low-powered television channel to a vertically integrated media empire in less than three years. As chief executive, Mr. Hong oversaw January's opening of ImaginAsian Pictures, which announced the controversial Korean drama
"Green Chair" as its first acquisition. The film, which unsettled American film festival audiences with its intense story of a woman and her under-age lover, will open this summer on the Upper East Side at the ImaginAsian Theater before moving on to ImaginAsian Home Video and ImaginAsian TV, which reaches 4.4 million households in markets including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

That rapid growth has drawn attention from India to Indonesia, with studios whose past dealings with American distributors have often ended with their movies re-edited, shelved indefinitely or quietly shuffled straight to video. In a business climate increasingly inhospitable to foreign films, ImaginAsian plans as many as 12 theatrical releases by the end of 2007. [NY Times]

So far, their success story where Bollywood is concerned is Rang De Basanti, which "grossed more than $18,000 in its opening weekend at the ImaginAsian last January, the second-highest per-screen take in the city behind
"Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story." Read the whole story here.


  • Sorry to use the comments area on your blog for this, but I thought you might be able to help me for this.

    I am looking for a Bollywood style dance troupe for a corporate event in late September. The standard we are looking for is of the level of Shiamak Davar. Do you know of any performers based in the US who can do something like that.


    By Blogger Amit Varshneya, at 6/28/2006 4:12 PM  

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