PVR down on sale of Phoenix Mills property for over Rs 100 crore
Courtesy: The Economic Times
May 5, 2011
NEW DELHI: PVR has put on block the only real estate asset it has on its books, the Phoenix Mills property in Mumbai, for over Rs 100 crore, persons familiar with the developments told ET.
At 10:17 am, shares of PVR were trading 3.72% down at Rs 102.25 on the Bombay Stock Exchange .
A few private equity funds are in the race for the property and a deal is expected to be announced this week.
PVR, however, will continue to run its cinema theatre in the same property by adopting the sale and lease back model. In this model, which is common in western countries, the company sells its property and then leases it back from the buyer. Sources in the company confirmed a deal was on, but PVR promoters could not be reached till late on Wednesday.
Last year, the company had said that "it was evaluating various options to fund its long-term expansion plans and, as part of the same, may consider sale and lease back of the Phoenix Mill property as one of the options."
The strategy was to become an asset light company and use the funds generated to concentrate on growing its business through the organic leasing route. The company currently owns 142 screens in 31 theatres.
The Phoenix Mills property is owned by CR Retail Malls (India), a wholly-owned subsidiary of PVR. The seven-screen multiplex at Lower Parel is part of a prime retail and entertainment destination in Mumbai.
Movie screens upgrading audio systems for Dum Maro Dum
Courtesy: The Economic Times
Mar 25, 2011
About a 100 movie screens across the country are hurriedly upgrading their audio system to welcome India's first Dolby 7.1 channel soundtrack film, Dum Maro Dum, on April 22. Developed by Dolby Laboratories, Dolby 7.1 is one of the most advanced audio compression technologies for movies and was introduced globally with Toy Story 3. "This is the first film to be produced in Dolby 7.1 in this market.
We are outfitting as many theatres as possible, as quickly as possible, and want to make sure the transition is easy," Dolby Laboratories Executive VP, Sales and Marketing, Ramzi Haidamus said. He is confident of the technology catching on with theatre owners , producers and directors alike. Dum Maro Dum, starring Abhishek Bachchan and produced by Fox Star Studios and Ramesh Sippy Entertainment, is the first Indian film made in Dolby 7.1.
Owners of single-screen cinema to go on strike
Courtesy: The Times of India
March 18, 2011
About 650 single-screen cinema halls across the state will go on a week-long protest strike from March 25 to March 31. The cinema owners are demanding that entertainment tax be reduced in Maharashtra.
President of Cinema Owners' and Exhibitors' Association RV Vidhani said, "We have been appealing to the government for two years now to reduce the tax. We have even mailed several letters to the authorities but have received no response. We don't know if this pressure is going to work in our favour, but we only want the people and the government to know that single-screen owners are struggling for survival.
Toonz Animation to set up US$200 million funding for live action Hollywood films Foray into VFX
Courtesy: Studio Systems magazine
Jan - Feb 2011 issue
Toonz Animation India Pvt Ltd nestled in the lush green paradise called God’s own country – Kerala is making waves internationally. The studio which recently completed a decade since it’s commencement has drawn up ambitious plans to establish itself as a mainstream entertainment company catering to animation and live action, under the dynamic leadership of P Jayakumar, CEO of Toonz Animation. As a part of this ambitious plan Toonz is setting up a US$200 million fund to finance big budget Hollywood films with live action and heavy special effects. This would be the first foray of its kind ever attempted by any animation studio globally. Toonz also plans to set up a major VFX facility within the campus in Trivandrum. P Jayakumar spoke to Studio-Systems in an exclusive interview and shared his ambitious plans in shaping up Toonz as a global player.
SS - Toonz has recently completed more than a decade in the animation business since it started it’s operations. You have been a key member who has been part of the studio when it was being set-up and today heading the operations. How do you view the evolvement of Toonz since 1999 till today?
Jayakumar - In India, we were the early movers in the animation industry. We have not only enjoyed the benefits but have also paid a price for heading the flagship. The positive part is that we have consistently enjoyed a very good reputation for delivering quality animation content in the market. And the negative part is that we started when there was no skilled manpower available in the industry. We invested heavily on training the animators using skilled experts from across the world. The fruits of this effort have given us quality productions on one hand but on the other, Toonz became a perfect talent poaching ground for other mushrooming production houses. Toonz started off as a work-for-hire studio concentrating mostly on outsourced traditional 2D animation work. In 2002 we started producing our own IP’s for the Indian market, which gave birth to India’s first 2D TV series ‘Tenali Raman’. Then we decided to concentrate on co-productions for international projects rather than being just a production partner. After early challenges, we got our first break in 2004 with a 78 episode CGI television series “Finley- The Fire Truck” along with Hallmark Group and Isle of Man Film Funds. It was a high end television series we produced that was sold to BBC in UK and then to several countries. This particular successful execution by Toonz opened many business doors for the company. We made a three movie deal with Paramount Pictures, first of which “Dragonlance” based on video game franchise Dungeons and Dragons was reasonably a good success. Toonz was the majority investor in this movie. The next incredible deal that gave us a firm footing in the international market was with Marvel. We produced a US$10.5 million 26 episode high end TV series “Wolverine and the X-Men” based on Marvel’s famous character Wolverine. Toonz proved its capability of sourcing, producing, packaging and financing the project as well. Further on the ladder we got rights from a very famous children’s book writer R L Stine for his eight books. The first movie “Mostly Ghostly” was produced with Universal studios USA and was premiered on Disney Channel. The second and the third movie along with Disney will be appearing soon. We also came up with another DVD movie based on the German toy manufacturer called “Play Mobil” along with Sony Home Entertainment. Toonz released its first Indo-Latin American Co-production “Gaturro” based on the famous Argentinean comic strip. It released in September 2010 and was Box Office No 1 in Latin America for more than a month. This stereoscopic 3D movie will be released in India in the month of April. We are also working on “Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” which is proposed to release in 2012 Christmas.
SS - From a studio which started on a business model of out sourcing, today Toonz is concentrating on building its own IP? Is it tough to survive on this business model?
Jayakumar - I think IP based model is profitable to perceive as it creates concrete revenues for the long term. Business-wise, both the models have their own spaces as several companies are successful and making profits concentrating on just outsourcing services. When our strategic shift was to establish ourselves as a creative company producing world-class and successful brand franchise, we had to adopt and adapt to the IP model. We have just perfected the art of being a zero risk partner being inside the IP model.
SS - Is Toonz planning to produce any 3D animation film? Producing an animation movie requires phenomenal investments. Do you think it is viable for studios in India to invest in animation movies and recover the investments considering that no animation movies produced by Indian studios have clicked at Box Office?
Jayakumar - Definitely! We are producing. Toonz is putting in around US $15million in our next movie “Life and Adventures of Santa Claus”. We are also producing another 20 crore movie “Twinergy” with Amitabh Bachchan’s voice and characteristics which is to be directed by Priyadarshan. “Tenali Raman” was the maiden effort of animated TV series in the Indian market. With 310 million children in India, we believe it has the largest animation market in the world. One must be very careful and futuristic while investing in this unpredictable market. For instance, “Hanuman” was a sudden path breaking project that opened a brand new direction to the Indian animators symbolising the presence of audiences for every excellent story and quality of animation. It is also challenging to find a right distributor and a perfect marketing strategy in India for our 3D stereoscopic film “Gaturro” which was a huge success elsewhere. I would have been at ease if some of the Indian animated flicks were successes. But these challenges are not blocking us from forwarding to the next level.
SS - Many of the animation projects under production in India have been shelved? Is it difficult to get funding for the animation projects?
Jayakumar - According to my knowledge funding for international projects is difficult nowadays. Globally film funding has turned complex since past two years. In 2007 Wall Street had invested around US$ 50 billion in Hollywood for movie production but this number has drastically reduced to practically zero since recession in 2009. This indicates that nobody is interested in investing their money in risky business like film production. The survival tactic would depend on having a right story, cast and director that would any day attract investments.
SS - Apart from the projects you already mentioned, what are the big projects you are visualising?
Jayakumar - Many big projects and ventures are categorically and practically taking shape. We have an even mix of projects for the national and international markets. For the international market we are producing 3 theatrical features (Life and Adventures of Santa Claus -G7/Hydepark, USA) and two other features along with a slate of TV series (HTDT – Animation Collective, Speed Racer – Lionsgate) and a DVD release (Speed Racer Movie). For the Indian market we are producing 2 feature films (Twinergy – AB corp, and Taj Mahal) along with two TV Series and a TV feature for a leading children’s channel in India.
SS - Is Toonz planning to tap global/ Indian stock markets to raise funds?
Jayakumar - We are currently a zero debt company at the corporate level. We do have project based funding from banks and other non financial institutions. Our working capital requirements are managed by our promoters. Animation is a very capital intensive business, but so far we have managed pretty well to meet our ends. We have not yet decided to go public, a decision which would solely depend on our strategic ambitions in the future.
SS - Unlike Canada and other countries, Indian Govt does not play a dynamic role in supporting animation business. How can the government play an active role in generating funds?
Jayakumar - Traditionally, in countries like Canada and France the Government has been supporting the creative industries. In the recent past, Government of Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and China are also coming up with various systems to substantially support animation industry. For instance, Singapore animation industry is younger than that of India but it is seeing a major upward trend as its Government has set up a Media Fund to support their own producers. We require a more dynamic role from the Government of India to give a fillip to our global ambitions and develop a robust domestic market. Such incentives and systems hedge your risk factor and this is precisely the reason why companies like ours enter into international collaborations.
SS - How can the govt play a proactive role to grow animation business in India?
Jayakumar - Promoting animation or recognising animation as an industry will definitely help. The previous NDA government recognised film production as an industry. Until then film industry was totally unorganised and funded by non-institutional investors. There was no defined investment process. Today, there are lot of institutional investors in film industry. Animation industry is awaiting such kind of a change. Another landmark change that can be initiated by the Government is to have mandatory airtimes for domestic animation. Canada has 60% reservation for their local content on every children’s channel. There is no such reservation in India and that affects us in two ways- one is it does not support local businesses and two, it exposes Indian kids to western ethos and ideologies than the traditional ones. We have successfully lobbied with the Government in taking such a proactive step to support our growth. Just 10% of reservation for animation will immediately give a huge boost to the local animation industry.
SS - Do you think Indian animation is still service driven?
Jayakumar - Estimates show that 80% of the Indian Animation industry is still service driven. And just handful of studios in India do meaningful IP work.
SS - Animation Industry globally is going through recession. How do you view the scenario in India?
Jayakumar - Recession holds true not only for animation but for the global film industry as well. It was a seller’s market previously, but now this has changed to a buyer specific market. The buyers are very selective in buying the content. Also, they are really slow in taking their decisions as advertising revenue and licensing fee is reducing. The key markets for animation like America and Europe are still in recession hangover phase which impacts the industry as a whole. Today the production work is less and the producers are finding clever ways to reduce the cash outflow. Toonz is not directly impacted by the global conditions as it funds its own movies.
SS - How do you rate Indian talent/ manpower vis a vis the west. Does India possess enough skilled manpower?
Jayakumar - India today has come a long way, but the current Indian skill sets are not up to the demands of top animation markets. We still are years on from seeing a production that will capture the envy of the world. It is not a major drawback as US has a long animation history and we are still in the nascent stage. I am optimistic that, if we provide enough exposure to our artists and technicians then they can be at par or more in terms of their capabilities compared to elsewhere. This is why Toonz sees to it that our artists get the right kind of expertise and exposure by working along with the veteran industry professionals from Hollywood.
SS - You have been instrumental in shaping the future of Toonz and in it’s recognition as one of the top animation studios globally. What are the future plans you have for expanding the business for Toonz?
Jayakumar - We have definitely achieved a lot in the short term. We have consolidated our position in the global market as one of the premier entertainment houses. We have evolved from a mere ‘work for hire’ production house to a ‘one stop shop’ offering not only quality production services but packaging the project in terms of the necessary finance and its distribution across the globe. We aspire to move up to the levels set by the industry leaders like Pixar. We have started our distribution division Toonz Entertainment USA based in Los Angeles for the distribution of our own projects predominantly on TV and Home Video Areas. This particular entity handled by former Head of TV sales, Universal Pictures, Matt Cooperstein is expected to be a major revenue driver for us. In the second half of last year we collaborated with a Canadian company “Mediabiz International” to start Toonz Global Inc. based in Montreal Canada. It is a major 50-50 partnership where Toonz basically handles the projects and Mediabiz participates in getting Canadian system of financing. These two projects will be major focal areas for the coming years. We are planning to commence our own VFX division and set up a US$ 200 million Film Fund to be operational from June-July 2011. With these initiatives we strategically plan to spread our wings in live action space. The film fund will finance big budget technologically high end films with live action and heavy special effects. Moving ahead, our team is determined to establish Toonz as a mainstream entertainment company catering to both live action and animation while being true to our roots. We want to create IP brands that would outlive time, thereby positioning ourselves as a creative powerhouse
PVR Cinemas exploring options to expand overseas operations
Courtesy: The Economic Times
24 Feb, 2011
Country's leading multiplex chain, PVR Cinemas , is exploring options to expand its operations overseas by running theatres on management contracts, a top company official said today.
The New Delhi-based listed entity would be the second such media and entertainment player to enter the global market after Anil Ambani-led ADAG's Big Cinemas that operates screens in Malaysia and the US markets.
"We are exploring options to enter the international market. We might run a few theatres on management contracts. However, we still feel that there is a huge scope in the Indian market where the demography is changing every five miles," PVR's Group president, Pramod Arora, told PTI here.
He, however, would not divulge any further details on the same.
The company presently runs about 142 screens at 32 locations across 18 cities in India and plans to open another 80-100-screens in FY 12 at an investment of Rs 100-120-crore, Arora said.
"We will be present in at least 27 cities by end-this fiscal. By then we will have around 242-screens. The new additions this year would be cities like Kolkata, Howrah Ranchi and Patna," Arora said.
On the growth story of Indian cinema and entertainment, Arora said that the cinema exhibition industry in India is growing at 10 per cent per annum driven by multiplexes.
PVR Films goes after co-productions
By Priyanka Joshi
Courtesy: Business Standard
January 31, 2011
With PVR productions like Aisha and Lamha failing at the box office, and acquired films like Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se garnering dismal collections, the company has decided to park its money in co-productions this year. Starting with Shanghai, a co-production with Dibakar Banerjee, PVR has signed similar revenue-sharing deals for Teen They Bhai, a Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra film and an Anil Kapoor and Neeraj Pandey film for 2011.
PVR’s movie business was expecting cash benefits on the back of such big releases as Action Replay (a PVR co-production) and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se (PVR owned the distribution rights), but the films failed to generate much business. Kamal Gianchandani, president, PVR Pictures, says: “We could have spent money wisely in producing the films that we made in 2010 and some of the prices that we paid for acquiring films could have been curtailed, but we did make money of each film.” Aisha, according to PVR, was a profitable venture, with PVR collecting around Rs 25 crore of net proceeds. PVR Pictures recently announced that it will back Dibakar Banerjee’s political thriller Shanghai. Looking at Banerjee’s track record, PVR has reportedly extended the budget to Rs 15 crore for the film starring Abhay Deol and Emraan Hashmi.
In the second quarter of 2011, the filmed entertainment business of PVR garnered revenues worth Rs 29 crore. Gianchandani says, “We should be able to scale revenues to Rs 100 crore in 2011.” For the financial year 2012, PVR has planned a production slate of five movies but asserts that it will stay away from doing big-budget films in 2011. “All films that we will produce in 2011 will be well within the Rs 30-50 crore budget. There’s no point in spending multi-crore on the scripts that don’t need capital investment,” he reasons.
PVR Ltd has 60 per cent shareholding in the subsidiary PVR Pictures, with the balance 40 per cent stake held by JP Morgan Mauritius Holding Ltd and ICICI Venture in equal proportion. Gianchandani insists that the company is not looking to raise any capital in the immediate future. “We don’t have plans for an IPO this year because we are a cash-rich company, but we do have plans to launch our digital initiatives unit that will explore the digital rights of the productions.” He refuses to give details on the digital initiative but adds, “We will look at internet video streams as producing mobile content is another business model altogether.”
International film distribution will be another focus area for PVR Films. “We frequent various international festivals and have selected titles that will make the best economic sense to be released in India under the PVR Pictures banner,” says Gianchandani. PVR’s recent releases like the Twilight series and Step Up were runaway hits and Gianchandani adds that in 2011 movie-goers can expect more than 15 Hollywood flicks from the banner.
As per Ficci-KPMG estimates, the film industry was projected to grow at a CAGR of nine per cent and touch Rs 13,700 crore by 2014 from Rs 890 crore in 2009.
SRS Cinemas inaugurates it's 11th Multiplex at Faridabad
Courtesy: Business Standard
January 24, 2011
- New multiplex at Eldeco Station 1 mall offers World Class Experience with 3 auditoriums with capacity of 689 seats.
- The multiplex offers state-of-the-art infrastructure with Digital Picture Quality, Dolby Digital Sound System, Ultra Luxurious Comfort seating in 24,000 sq feet area.
- SRS group is planning to invest approx. Rs.50 crore to add 20 more screens to its current portfolio and take the total number to 50 end of this year.
SRS Group, one of India’s leading conglomerates of India, announced the opening of its 11th multiplex at Eldeco Station 1 mall at sector- 12, Faridabad. The multiplex offers 3 screens with big auditoriums which has got total seating capacity of 689. With this multiplex now SRS has 30 screens and large seating capacity of 7608.
The new multiplex is offering world class facility for movie lovers of NCR. All 3 auditoriums are equipped with latest technologies which consist of digital projectors, DTS & Dolby Digital sound system and comfy & spacious seating arrangement. Apart from these, SRS provides excellent food & beverage facilities, exclusive kids’ corner and the best hospitality which gives an outstanding experience to the movie goers.
At inauguration, Dr. Anil Jindal, CMD, SRS Group, said, “Multiplex industry is one the fastest growing industry in India which is getting overwhelming response from our valued customers. Today we are inaugurating our 11th multiplex in Faridabad and we are planning to open few more multiplexes in NCR very soon. Our objective is to provide a world class experience to the movie lovers with latest & international technologies, comfortable seating, food court and ample lounge area for kids & family. ”
SRS has planned to invest approx. Rs.50 crore to add 20 more screens to its current portfolio of 30 screens and take the total number to 50 by the end of this year. With 30 screens SRS cinemas has total seating capacity of 7608 which is spread over 24,000 sq. feet area.
Mr. Tinku Singh, Group President, SRS Group, said, “The new multiplex launch is part of our expansion plan and in the beginning of this year SRS cinema brings lots of opportunities to serve our movie lovers of Faridabad. This addition will bring in a lot more opportunity of content availability as well as opportunities for our customers for a premium movie experience.”
The services are operated by the group itself and not outsourced to any other organization. The entire services are provided by SRS trained employee for best hospitality in auditorium, food court etc. which separates SRS cinema from other brands in India.
About SRS Group
SRS Group is a professionally managed organization led by a visionary, Dr. Anil Jindal, and has business interests spanning across real estate, multiplexes, food & beverages and retail. Headquartered in Faridabad, Haryana, the group is driven by a strong service ethos and its ambitious vision and professional management have enabled it to achieve remarkable growth in recent years.
SRS Group is currently developing large infrastructure projects including townships, group housing, hotels, full service malls, food courts, cinemas, IT parks and business parks. All projects are located in the high value Northern India region. The group operations are built on strong technical and financial foundations and are ISO 9000-2000 certified.
M&M, Sundance tie up to promote Indian cinema
Courtesy: Business Standard
January 21, 2011
Mahindra & Mahindra today said it had joined hands with the Sundance Institute, a non-profit organisation set up by noted Hollywood actor, Robert Redford to promote Indian talent in the world cinema arena.
The two parties have signed a multi-faceted agreement that showcases the commitment to support independent cinema around the world, Mahindra & Mahindra said in a statement.
Commenting on the collaboration, M&M Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Anand Mahindra said: “Our intention is to nurture as well as hone the talents of an exciting new generation of Indian filmmakers. The guidance and knowhow of Sundance shall be extremely valuable to us in our initiatives.”
The collaboration allows for the establishment of the Mumbai Mantra Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab, which shall become an annual event in India, it said.
“For Sundance Institute, this initiative represents our commitment to cultural exchange and allows us to extend our support of international film makers to a next generation of film artists emerging from India,” Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford
said. Under the agreement, the partners will also institute ‘Sundance Institute Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award’ to be given annually at the Sundance Film Festival.
Four film makers from around the world will receive a grant, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry meetings, mentoring from institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a feature film programme lab, and year-round support, it said.
This initiative will extend over a three-year period, benefiting 12 awardees. Beginning in 2012, one out of the four directors will be an Indian, it said, adding the recipients of the award for 2011 will be announced January 25.
Starting from spring 2012, the inaugural Mumbai Mantra Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab will provide an opportunity for six to eight film makers from India to develop their works..
PVR to invest around Rs 100-125-cr in FY12
January 13, 2011
MUMBAI: Film distribution and production house PVR Pictures, a 60 per cent subsidiary of the listed PVR, will invest around Rs 100-125-crore in FY 12 to up its distribution activities and production of 3-4 Bollywood movies, a top company official said.
JP Morgan Mauritius Holding Ltd and ICICI Venture each hold 20 per cent stake in PVR Pictures, that came into existence in 2005 with its first production Aamir Khan-starrer 'Taare Zameen Par', that released in 2007. The company is close to inking four distribution deals for Hindi movies and 15 Hollywood movies.
"We will invest around Rs 100-125 crore in the coming fiscal. We have three movies under our production house. Besides we will be signing distribution deals for 15 Hollywood and four Hindi movies. All are set to release in FY 12," PVR Pictures' President, Kamal Gianchandani told media here on Thursday.
He, however, refused to divulge details on the upcoming deals. The company has produced around nine movies so far, including blockbuster 'Jaane Tu Ya Jane Na', Ashutosh Gowariker's 'Khelenge Jee Jaan Se' and 'Aisha'.
On revenues the company expects from its upcoming movies, Gianchandani said, PVR pictures expects a 10 per cent increase in its earnings in FY12.
James Cameron Actor on 3D filmmaking and the Technology he used in making Sanctum
By Saumit Singh
Courtesy: Mumbai Mirror
Jan 12, 2011
Underwater with James
James Cameron, in an exclusive interview, talks about his forthcoming film Sanctum and how he is getting better with 3D in each film
After the 3D effects in Avatar, we can’t wait to see what Sanctum has in store. But how different, apart from the underwater setting, will it be from Avatar?
Avatarhad so many broad vistas that the difference between watching the movie in 2D and in 3D is not that great because the more expansive the image, the less you feel in close contact with objects and characters. The difference between experiencing Sanctum in 2D and 3D is actually much greater because the 3D will constantly be informing you, in the experience of watching the movie, with the sense of claustrophobia. We knew that the claustrophobia of the film and the medium in which we were working would work together really well to constantly give the audience that feeling. We’ve done test screenings and we’ve seen that there’s a palpable, whiteknuckle sense of anxiety in watching the movie, which is exactly what we wanted to create. Usually, when you go to a movie, your consciousness floats above the film. 3D sucks you in and makes it a visceral experience. I think 3D and this type of film go perfectly well together.
Which would you classify as the most difficult scene to shoot in Sanctum?
One of the biggest challenges in making Sanctumwas to re-create a truly believable underground world that few have ever seen. In addition to re-creating a series of underground caves that would make the audience believe they were leagues underwater, production designer, McCallum, also had to build an enormous “underground” waterfall to match the specifications set forth by the script. For director of photography Jules O’Loughlin, the biggest obstacle to overcome during the course of production was lighting the cave system. It’s not everyday that you get to light a cave. It’s an environment where there’s no natural light whatsoever; all the light is brought in by the characters in the film. So, representing the cave and the story through this lighting was an exciting challenge. Also, the very fact that a real life underwater environment had to be re-created in 3D for the audiences was challenging in itself. The 3D should be transparent from the actors’ standpoint and, ideally, from the director’s standpoint.
Do you plan to share the photography techniques you developed while filming Avatar?
The cameras used on Sanctum included the same cameras developed for and used on
Avatar. The team knew that if they were to fully immerse the audience in the underwater world, it had to be in 3D. Along the way, the men developed a new photographic system that could operate in these extreme environments and deliver a cinematic experience that is beyond any other. It’s a system I was thrilled to use on Avatar and which screenplay writer, Andrew Wight, utilized on Sanctum—the Cameron/Pace Fusion 3D Camera System—a stereoscopic HD camera system which can deliver flawless IMAX projection in 3D. But as mindblowing as all this new technology is, filmmaking is not about the equipment. It’s about ideas, images and imagination. It’s about storytelling, and I believe in this story.
Are we to expect more 3D films from you - to complete a trilogy at least?
As of now Avatar 2and 3 but you will just have to wait and watch!
Are you a good swimmer? Any underwater scares you’ve experienced?
Five years ago, Andrew Wight, my long time collaborator, brought me the idea for Sanctum, and I loved it. Andrew and I had previously been on some great adventures together. We dove deep into the ocean to uncharted depths to explore and discover never-before-seen parts of the ocean floor and marine life for Aliens of the Deep. We dived down to the Titanic(for Ghosts of the Abyss) and the Bismarck.
Are we to expect more 3D films from you - to complete a trilogy at least?
We were so glad to see the response we got from India for Avatar and hope for the best with Sanctumas well.
INOX to buy majority stake in Fame India
By Aminah Sheikh
January 16, 2010
Theatre chain INOX Leisure is close to acquiring the promoters’ stake of 44 per cent in Shravan Shroff’s Fame India. The company has been valued at Rs 101 crore, much lower than its market capitalisation of Rs 134 crore.
“Talks have been on for the last two months. Inox may not buy stake at a premium because Fame has around Rs 80 crore debt,” said a source. Anand Shah, analyst, Angel Broking, added: “Fame has debt on its books and has been looking for buyers since a long time.”
Sources say Inox will announce the deal next week, after its Board meeting on January 22. “INOX may consider buying additional stake through the market as well, bringing its stake up to 51 per cent,” said a source. Then, INOX would replace PVR’s second position in the multiplex space.
The number of cinema halls under INOX’s fold would go up to 204 (including Fame’s 95)from the current 108. Anil Ambani’s BIG Cinemas leads the pack of multiplexes with 242, followed by PVR Cinemas with 134 screens (including DT Cinemas’ screen acquisition).
This deal would help INOX increase its presence in Western India, specially in Mumbai, where it has just one property. It has enjoyed strong presence in the eastern region. Considering INOX’s turnover of Rs 226 crore as on March 2009 and Fame’s of Rs 110 crore, it should emerge a strong competitor to the leader. PVR’s turnover as on March 2009 was Rs 305.3 crore.
Fame’s share price was up by five per cent today, at Rs 38.40. INOX’s stock was down one per cent to Rs 82.30. This would be the second big acquisition after PVR Cinemas took over real estate developer DLF’s theatre business, DT Cinemas, this year.
Under the deal, PVR would issue 2.5 million shares to DT Cinemas, representing 10 per cent of PVR’s fully diluted paid-up capital. This values the shareholding at Rs 32.2 crore, given its then market capitalisation of Rs 322 crore. PVR would also pay Rs 20.2 crore for the acquisition, putting the deal value at roughly Rs 50 crore.
Reliance MediaWorks inks pact with Russian World Studios
By Press Trust Of India
Courtesy Business Standard
December 24, 2010
Anil Ambani group company Reliance MediaWorks has said it has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Russian World Studios (RWS) and Obyadinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinokollektsia (OGK).
The MoU was signed during the India visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a press release issued here on Thursday stated.
Russian World Studios is one of the largest private film companies in the Russian market and has produced several projects, both for TV and the big screen. It also owns two studios which are spread across 22,000 sq mtrs.
RWS is a part of JSFC ‘Sistema’, a large diversified financial corporation in Russia and the CIS serving more than 100 million customers across varied industries such as telecommunications, high technology, fuel-energy complex and petrochemistry, radar and space, banking, real estate, retail, mass media, tourism and healthcare.
OGK is Russia’s federal state unitary enterprise that preserves and manages the Russian film archives.
RWS and Reliance MediaWorks have associated to outsource work related to film restoration, image processing and enhancement and HD conversion from Russia to the Indian company’s facilities in Mumbai and Burbank in California, the release said.
Reliance MediaWorks’ CEO Anil Arjun said, “By combining RWS’ leadership, know-how and expertise in the Russian market with our experience and versatile technology, we are geared to provide next-generation services to RWS and OGK’s vast film archives.”
“Russian cinema has been a true embodiment of their rich history and by offering restoration services in Russia, we are honoured to have the opportunity to revive some of these classic movies,” he said in the release.
Depending on requirement and developing business potential, Reliance MediaWorks and RWS will also explore the possibility of jointly setting up a dedicated restoration and digitisation facility within RWS studio complex at St Petersburg for image processing and touch-ups, the release said.
RWS CEO Yuri Saprono, said: “Russian film and television industry is moving towards digitisation...We are pleased to have found a partner in Reliance MediaWorks who shares our commitment for excellence and has time-proven hardware, software and custom R&D and can help us restore the Russian film legacy.”
The restoration and digitisation services would be provided by Reliance MediaWorks to RWS and OGK through its media BPO, which is one of the world’s largest dedicated film and video restoration facility.
By Anupama Bose and Mauli Singh
Courtesy: Mumbai Mirror
December 19, 2010.
With failing big-buck films and subsequent drop in the brand equity of big stars, production houses in Bollywood are putting their bets on a mixed bouquet for 2011
The single thought prevalent in the film industry these days is that 2010 has been the worst year in the history of Bollywood; the less cynical call it the ‘year of the schizophrenic’!
In Dabangg, the industry scored its second highest grosser ever. Since then, ‘desi’ in a Hindi hinterland has become cool. Along the lines, there were startling discoveries in directors such as Abhinav Kashyap (Dabangg), Abhishek Sharma (Tere Bin Laden), Abhishek Chaubey (Ishqiya) and Anusha Rizvi (Peepli Live), to name a few. Small budget big idea films like Udaan, Tere Bin Laden and LSD created a stir. It is also the year when Bollywood’s A-listers crashed — Vipul Shah (Action Replay), Kunal Kohli (Break ke Baad), Ashutosh Gowariker (Khelengey Hum Jee Jaan Se), Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Guzaarish), Rakesh Roshan (Kites), Eros (Anjaana Anjaani), to name a handful. And with them crashed the star equity that most film companies feel is safe to ride on — Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai and Akshay Kumar.
“2010 has been a dismal success ratio of 7% - 8%, with the small indie films being the major saving graces,” says independent distributor and industry watcher Suniel Wadhwa. And Bollywood’s money bags are really jittery.
DOING THE MATH
“You could spread your risks with a bouquet of smarter, smaller films instead of putting all your eggs in one basket with a single, big budget film,” says Shibashish Sarkar, CFO, Big Pictures. “But,” he adds, “film corporates have different reasons for taking on projects — some are for sheer business gains whereas the rest are for building up portfolios purely to fulfill their capital market urgencies.”
He should know. He was part of the team that set up UTV’s first international co-production The Namesake (2008). It was a reasonably successful venture with Fox Searchlight. UTV had gained international visibility, accolades as well as revenues.
In 2011 they are set to think differently. “Though international projects have been financially successful we want to do Indian projects only,” says Siddharth Roy Kapoor, CEO, UTV. “With international studios, the fate ultimately rests in their hands. We want to be completely involved in the making of our films —not just financial investors.”
Considering UTV has had an array of films in 2010 — from the commercially successful Raajneeti, to its indie wonders like Udaan and the boutique film but box office disaster Guzaarish —his money has probably been where his mouth is. 2011 looks similar with biggies like Anurag Basu’s Barfi starring Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor, to indies like Raj Kumar Gupta’s No One Killed Jessica Lal.”
SMALL IS BIG
Yashraj is quietly re-vamping even as rumours of promoters shying away filter in. Apart from the usual biggies like Dhoom 3 and a Yash Chopra-directed film, 2011 will showcase small films like Shaad Ali’s next with Ranveer and the debut films of television directors like Bumpy (Roadies - MTV) and Atul Sabharwal (Powder).
Reliance Big Pictures
burnt their fingers in 2010 with big ticket losers like Raavan. Their 2011 line-up interestingly includes Shonali Bose’s extensively researched and much appreciated Chittagong. However, they have no regional films in 2011.
TV18 too has re-thought its strategies. Their financial plan includes a 45-crore multi film deal with Anurag Kashyap Productions which, apart from Anurag’s Gangs of Wasseypur, also includes two small films made by debutants -- Ribhu Dasgupta’s Michael and Bijoy Nambiar’s Shaitan.
Eros is hinging its bets in the regional films space, sourcing content across Marathi, Punjabi and through it subsidiary Ayngaran in Tamil and Telugu. “The regional space is going to accelerate and we are poised to exploit the same with a very interesting slate under development. As a strategy we will be looking at books for sourced material (both national and international) for our scripts,” says the CEO of Eros, Ram Mirchandani. “As a studio, we have an additional advantage of monetising across various platforms. When 3G becomes a reality, we will be able to show a full length movie on mobiles, hopefully.” Two major international studios Warner Bros. Pictures India and Disney have gone the indie way. Post expensive but disastrous debuts, Chandni Chowk to China (with Ramesh Sippy Films) and Roadside Romeo (with Yashraj Films) respectively, both have revised their India perspective.
Disney released the delightful Do Dooni Chaar and then moved southwards for its big budget venture with the promising Anaganaga O Dheerudu by director Prakash Kovelamudi. “From the conception of the story to the marketing and promotion, we have applied Disney’s unique and innovative approach,” says Swati Shetty, executive director, Walt Disney Studios International Productions, India. “We have graphic novels, comic books, a video game and a whole range of merchandise including watches which will be available just before the release of the film.”
Warner, on the other hand, is celebrating Phas gaye re Obama. “What we saw in Obama was an unpolished gem,” says Denzil Dias, deputy managing director (Theatrical) Warner Bros. Pictures, India. “It’s all about believing in content and the filmmaker, and making sure that with a limited marketing budget you try to make the maximum noise.”
SEEKING THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
“Edgy marketing and smart distribution for small indie films is very important. Like Balaji did with LSD and Aamir Khan did with Peepli Live this year and as UTV Spotboy had done with Dev D in 2009,” says Ranjan Singh of 4sight Analytics — Bollywood’s first film campaign trackers.
Even as film companies own up to having acquired and released successful indie films, there are those that continue to wait for a release. Dibakar Banerjee’s Khosla Ka Ghosla was acquired by UTV and it took more than three years to release it! UTV, of course, has evolved since then — with its Spotboy arm successfully mentoring and releasing small budget big idea films.
A bit of probing leads you to the laundry list. PVR — which had started on a promising note with Taare Zameen Par, and lost its bearings with the disastrous Mere Khwaabon mein jo Aaye (2009) and Khelengey Hum Jee Jaan Se (2010), now actually has Shivam Nair’s Ghost ghost na raha lying unreleased. PNC’s Saluun, Ek Tha Mumbai, UTV’s Paan Singh Tomar, Peter Gaya Kaam Se, Chillar Party;
and Warner’s SRK —all have been waiting in the wings for a while now.
BIG OR SMALL?
So, if it’s mostly indie acquisitions, a few big ticket films and a huge cut in the total number of films being announced in 2011, where are all the crores going next year?
“Production has come down,” agrees Shibashish Sarkar. “The market went into unholy kind of numbers way back in 2008. Some correction has to happen.”
Today, most big stars like Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan have gone the SRK and Aamir Khan way. They co-produce the big ticket films they star in. Apart from a great marketing boost, the cost of production also comes down as the star cost gets part incorporated into profit shares and other backend deals.
2011’s greater obsession seems to be Hollywood. “Hollywood’s market share grew from 5-6% in 2009 to 7-8% in 2010,” says Wadhwa. “It will, however, go up to 12% in 2011 and to 15% by 2012.” 3D screens across many centres will help the growth.
So with a dip in production (almost to 60%) in 2010 and a further dip predicted in 2011, Bollywood is perched on very precarious ground. Is it the Wallmart-ification of the world’s largest film producing nation? Many Asian countries, with the exception of Japan and China, have faced this. Local talent is known to be reduced to poor clones of their western counterparts or else get lost in translation. While a lot of young talent is successfully experimenting with new, edgy stuff, their low visibility will get further submerged under the marketing might of Hollywood. As Ranjan Singh says, “Finally, film companies need to invest and nurture home grown content.” There needs to be a tendency to work on scripts instead of putting together ‘star projects’. In 2011 Reliance Big Pictures is steering almost clear of Bollywood. “We released our first two Hollywood films —
Dinner for Schmucks
(with Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studio) and Skyline (acquisition for India). We expect to do many more Hollywood movies next year,” says Sanjeev Lamba, CEO, Big Pictures. “Our new projects are all co-productions or productions with Reliance Pictures.” And these films, again, are mostly from the Dreamworks-Reliance alliance stable.
The Warner stable shows lots of Hollywood next year — the sequels Harry Potter (the final part); and Hangover; Sucker Punch, and The Superhero in 3D. Fox, which had been quietly promoting indie films like Quick Gun Murugan (2009) took the middle path with My Name is Khan in 2010. But even their 2011 stable concentrates on Hollywood with Caesar: Rise of the Apes, 127 Hours and X Men: First Class to name a few. Bollywood fare is limited to Rohan Sippy’s Dum Maro Dum and Nishikant Kamat’s Force.
Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox - India says, “The pie of Hollywood films has grown in India. Even audiences in tier 2 cities are getting access to Hollywood films in greater numbers as they are getting dubbed in regional languages.” Given their marketing and distribution might smaller indigenous content doesn’t really stand much of a chance. A viewer needs top of the mind recall to decide his weekend fare.
Nobody is negating star-studded entertainers, but for any industry to survive and grow, it has to nurture a robust repertoire. It’s time for Bollywood to wake up and smell the coffee.
"We released our first two Hollywood films and we expect to enter into many Hollywood alliances next year"
SANJEEV LAMBA CEO, Big Pictures
"Audiences in Tier 2 cities are getting access to Hollywood films in greater numbers as they’re being dubbed in regional languages."
VIJAY SINGH CEO, Fox Star Studios
"We have graphic novels, comic books, a video game and other merchandise which will be available before the film’s release"
SWATI SHETTY Exec Dir, Walt Disney Intl Productions
"Edgy marketing and smart distribution for small indie films is very important"
RAJAN SINGH 4sight Analytics
3D animation powers India into big league
By Priyanka Joshi & K Rajani Kanth
Courtesy: Business Standard
December 10, 2010
Companies like Crest and DQE focus on the global industry.
With every passing year, animated movies seem to hit a new record with commercial and critical success. At present, the global film industry is buzzing around 3D and Indian animation studios are riding on this 3D wave.This year, Crest Animation Studios’ Alpha and Omega – 3D stereoscopic animated film – has been shortlisted for Oscar nominations. Of the 15 films selected, only three will make it for final nominations, but A K Madhavan, CEO of the company, is not resting on his laurels yet.
Crest has become the first studio outside the US to have entered into a deal of three feature films with Lionsgate. The two have announced the co-production of the next film in this genre, Norm Of The North, that will be distributed by Lionsgate in North America. Crest also has collaboration with Malaysia-based KRU Studios to co-produce its 3D animated feature film Ribbit.
The shift to 3D animation/stereoscopic from 2D animated films has not happened suddenly. However, most of the work that Indian firms are doing in the 3D animation space continues to be for global markets.
Hyderabad-based DQ Entertainment (DQE) is another example. DQE started using 3D animation in 2004 with Mickey Mouse Club House for Walt Disney. It is running for the fourth season. “About 90 per cent of our production is in 3D for all major production houses, broadcasters and distributors worldwide,” said Tapaas Chakravarti, chairman & chief executive officer of DQE Entertainment.
DQE, which plans to add 1,000 people to work on its 3D films, is giving finishing touches to an animated 3D stereoscopic feature film, Prodigies, for Warner Bros and Fidelity Films of France that is scheduled to release worldwide next year. “We are also in the process of signing contracts for three more high-value 3D stereoscopic movies,” said Chakravarti.
However, Indian firms are not eyeing the domestic market as yet. “There is no consumption of Indian animation in the domestic market and hence studios and firms continue to look out. Every animation firm in India while focusing on creating their own IP, are also looking oversees for quality work,” said Pankaj Khandpur, creative director, Tata Elxsi.
The other issue in the domestic market is the inability to back big-budget animated movies. Khandpur feels producers are not confident of investing in projects that exceed Rs 5 crore in India. “For some reason this is a safe zone as they can recover the money. But a good animation movie will need a similar budget,” he said. Khandpur will know, as Tata Elxsi was the firm that worked on India’s first animated movie Roadside Romeo.
At present Tata Elxsi is working on two animated 3D stereoscopic projects. “We completed our first 3D stereoscopic work in January and since then we have seen a trend wherein, every project involves a 3D element.”
But there are others who are backing the Indian 3D space. Amitabh Bachchan’s AB Corporation has tied up with media entertainment major Toonz India to produce a full-length animated film. While Bachchan will lend his voice to the animation film, it will be directed by Priyadarshan. The film is reportedly being made for Rs 20 crore.
Ashish Kulkarni, CEO, Big Animation takes immense pride in the company’s maiden 3D animated series Little Krishna that was acquired by TV channel Nick in 2009. “Little Krishna garnered highest TRP among kid’s programmes in the country,” he said.
The TV series has also added partners like Evergreen Entertainment, one of the biggest international distributors, for its global distribution rights.
Pune-based Big Animation and Accel Animation Studios, a division of Accel Transmatic, will co-produce the popular TV superhero character Shaktimaan in animation. Big Animation has another 3D property titled Mr D in the pipeline but Kulkarni refused to draw any favourites between 3D and 2D animation films. “We are in the business of storytelling and filmmaking, where the key ingredient is creativity. Whether the medium is 2D or 3D doesn’t matter. We are entertainers and have to learn it on the by, set up self-sustaining units and then scale it up from there,” he said.
But Chakravarti of DQE seems to favour stereoscopic 3D for his company’s future. “DQE’s focus is primarily on 3D stereoscopic, which is the latest version of 3D, very similar to the big movies like Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3 and Avatar,” he said.
DQE’s production pipeline boasts of 3D stereoscopic projects like Iron Man (season 2) with Marvel Comics, Casper — The Friendly Ghost (season 2) with US-based Classic Media, Twisted Whiskers, Jungle Book, which is DQE’s own property, New Adventures of Peter Pan, Lassie (high-definition TV).
The Indian animation industry is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 22 per cent to reach $1 billion by 2012. So far, Indian animation industry has lived up to the expectations.
Cinepolis earmarks Rs 1,500 cr to open 500 screens by 2016
MUMBAI: Global multiplex chain , Cinepolis, plans to open about 500 screens across 40 cities in India at an investment of around Rs 1,500 crore by 2016, a top company official said.
The Mexico-based international film exhibitor that runs the megaplex format of cinema complexes, plans to open a similar format in India with each megaplex featuring about 14 screens in a single complex. Each screen would be of 8,000 sq ft area.
"We plan to revolutionise the megaplex concept in India by providing international standards of movie viewing. Our plan is to open about 500 screens across the country and build the megaplexes in malls only. We have tied-up with several mall owners for about 250 screens that will be coming up in the next 12 months," Cinepolis India's Country Head and Managing Director, Milan Saini, said on the sidelines of the India Retail Forum here.
Cinépolis is the biggest cineplex chain in Mexico with 205 theatres in 65 cities and the largest chain in Latin America with 230 theatres, 2,160 screens and over 13,000 employees throughout Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and Peru.
The company has already opened a small format with four screens in Amritsar and will be opening its first megaplex with 14 screens in Thane's Vivacity Mall, said to be the largest mall in the country, by next year.
Robot, Anjaana Anjaani sweep box office
MUMBAI: Name: Chitti. Speed: 1 terahertz. Memory: One zeta byte. Processor: Pentium. Inventor: Dr Vasi. Access: September 2010. Box-office collections: around Rs 50 crore in first three days.
Robot is the biggest Hindi release for Tamil superstar Rajinikanth. It is estimated to have clocked nearly Rs 10 crore from the non-South box-office although it had a lukewarm opening on Friday.
“On Friday, Robot’s occupancies were around 40-45%. On Saturday and Sunday, the occupancies went up to 90% and in some places nearly 100%,” said Balkrishna Shroff, Partner, Shringar Films — the company is distributing the film in Mumbai.
“The occupancy is 100% in South and more people are queuing up to buy tickets for which ever show they get, even if its after a week,” said Devang Sampat, president – operations, Cinemax India.
The film is expected to garner over Rs 35-40 crore in the first three days from the South box-office alone. Robot (Endhiran in Tamil) is released across 2,000 screens, of which nearly 800-1,000 screens were in non-South markets.
The movie is produced by Kalanidhi Maran-promoted SUN Pictures. “In some places tickets are being sold in black for Rs 5,000,” said film trade analyst Komal Nahata.
Meanwhile, Ranbir Kapoor-Priyanka Chopra starrer Anjaana Anjaani too is sweeping the box-office with opening collections estimated to be over Rs 25 crore, according to industry experts.
“This weekend was the biggest weekend of 2010 for multiplex owners with both movies having a good start across India,” said BIG Cinemas COO Ashish Saksena.
Anjaana Anjaani, produced by Eros International , was made with a budget of around Rs 43 crore, of which the film has already recovered Rs 22 crore through sale of satellite rights to Star India, Rs 8 crore from music rights sold to T-Series and theatrical distribution rights sold in a few territories earned around Rs 13 crore, say Eros sources.
Crest's 3D animation film gets good response in US
Alpha and Omega, a full-length 3D stereoscopic film produced in India by Crest Animation, has collected $9.2 million in the US in its opening weekend. It was released in 2,625 screens in the US on Friday and the makers claim it to be the widest release for any animation film from India.
It’s their first computer-generated, full-length animation film. A story about two packs of wolves, Alpha and Omega has been designed and produced by Crest Animation and Lionsgate. The film had a budget of around $45 million and after its release in the US, Singapore, Russia and the European countries, it will release in India later this year.
It has received mixed reviews from critics. While the film saw an 80 per cent jump in box-office collections on Saturday over Friday, there was a 33.7 per cent dip on Sunday, according to Boxofficemojo.com.
“The film is a 50:50 deal between Crest Animation and Lionsgate, a Hollywood distributor. It is the first time that an overseas distributor has invested half of the money in an animation film produced by an Indian animation company. Alpha and Omega has been made at one-fifth of what a Toy Story or Shrek film would cost,” said A K Madhavan, CEO, Crest Animation Studios.
Toy Story 3 was produced at a cost of $200 million and released in over 4,000 screens in the US. It had collected $110 million in its opening weekend.
Considering that Alpha and Omega has managed to recover around 25 per cent of its production cost through theatrical collections, the film is expected to generate cash profits for its makers.
According to Kagan Research, animated films typically earn one and a half times their worldwide box office revenues through sale of DVDs, pay TV, cable and satellite, and other licensing and merchandising avenues within 12 to 15 months after release.
Madhavan said the film designing and post-production was done in Crest’s Los Angeles facility in the US. “The entire production work of the film from characterisation, modelling, lighting and rendering was done in India. It was rendered using the cloud computing capabilities of Eka — the world’s fourth fastest supercomputer developed by Tata Group company Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) — and was completed in three years. Generally, a 3D film of this nature takes around four-five years to make,” he said.
Madhavan said Crest was in discussions with distributors in India and the film would be released in both 2D and 3D format here later this year. Crest Animation Studios shares fell by nearly 10 per cent cent to Rs 95.60 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday.
Eros Int'l IPO price band Rs 158-175
Indian movie distributor Eros International Media Ltd said on Wednesday it has set a price band of Rs 158-175 for its initial public offering to raise as much as Rs 350 crore.
The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eros International Plc, plans to use the proceeds of the offering to acquire and co-produce Hindi and other regional films.
Eros International Media owns rights to over a thousand films, a company official said.
"Content library is the key competitive advantage we have. It is the crown jewel of our Indian business and we will monetize it in times to come," Jyoti Deshpande, executive director, told reporters.
Enam Securities Private Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Capital Co Ltd, Morgan Stanley India Co Private Ltd and RBS Equities (India) Ltd are lead book running managers of the offering, which will open on Sept. 17 and close on September 21.
For anchor investors the book opens on September 16, one of the bankers said.
PVR to sell Phoenix Mills multiplex for 100 crore
By Aminah Sheikh
Courtesy:The Economic Times
MUMBAI: Film exhibitor PVR has put its multiplex at Phoenix Mill mall in central Mumbai on the block with a price tag of 80-100 crore, says a senior executive.
“We plan to sell the property and take it back on lease,” said PVR CFO Nitin Sood. “We aim to close the transaction by this financial year.” PVR Phoenix, the multiplex, has a sprawling 65,000 square feet of area. It is the only property that the theatre chain owns. PVR, India’s third-largest multiplex operator, runs 136 screens in 32 properties.
The sale of the Phoenix Mill property will help fund PVR’s future capex needs, said Angel Broking in a research report ,which the domestic brokerage published on Monday , after meeting PVR CFO. PVR plans to open 57 screens this year.
Anand Shah, analyst at Angel Broking, wrote in the report that PVR bought the property almost five years ago for around 60 crore and spent another 25 crore. “It (the sale) will also boost the company’s RoCE (return on capital employed) as the deal would unlock substantial cash, which is currently locked in,” said the report.
While the sale proceeds will help the company expand operations, the rentals could be as high as 1 crore per month, said real estate analysts. The per-sq-ft rate in central Mumbai is hovering around 150-200 .
“There will be many investors willing to buy the multiplex given that the returns are secured on the property, “said Anuj Puri, chairman, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj. “Any buyer will be able to get a return of at least 10-12 % per annum which is lucrative.”
In Hollywood, everybody’s a digital revolutionary
By Brooks Barnes
Courtesy: Financial Express, Aug. 3, 2010
The previous surge in i digital entertainment i occurred in 2007 and-with the exception of a few standouts like r Hulu.com--fell flat with the braoder i economy in 2009
The previous surge in i digital entertainment i occurred in 2007 and-with the exception of a few standouts like r Hulu.com--fell flat with the braoder i economy in 2009
On May 10 came word of i-Trailers, a new company devoted to movie advertising on the Web and mobile devices. On May 11, Diva Mobile declared itself the entertainment industry's "first crossplatform solution for video-ondemand" services. Arriving on May 13 was SulSet.com, a site promising to stream live, behindthe-scenes video from movie sets for a one-time $9.99 fee. And the frenzy has continued. Just last month came Xumanii.com, which said it was "revolutionizing the way in which live entertainment and social networking come together." But at some point, it's worth asking: Is this a true boom, backed by serious investors with clearheaded business models? Or has the cost of entry become so low that this is just a false flush? To some,it seems like the latter.
"The problem is the same as in every gold rush: the gold is easier to see than to mine," said Lindsay Conner,a lawyer at Manatt,Phelps & Phillips who specializes in en tertainment finance. More serious financing is starting to trickle in, he said, "but we're a ways away from truly cashing in on either the cost-saving or revenue-generating potential of the Internet for entertainment."
Jordan Levin, chief executive of Generate, a digital production and distribution company, was more blunt."Ad dollars are coming back,and digital deal-making may be quickening," Mr. Levin said. "But it's not enough to fuel a robust and dynamic market, and by that I mean a market that isn't just a bunch of meaningless announcements." Start-ups, many of them self-financed,see it quite differently .
"We think we are reinventing television," said David Levy, C.E.O. of Philo, a month-old social networking service that lets groups of people interact while watching television. "More people understand this time around that you have to have a serious idea," he said. "Just because the barriers to entry are so low that anybody can start a company doesn't mean that just anybody should."
Technology is increasingly ripe for this kind of experimentaW tion, says Larry Kramer, founder of MarketWatch.com and author s of the forthcoming book C-Scape: Navigating the Rapidly Changing Worlds of Media and Business. He noted that Apple's iPad and the rush by networks and movie studios to be a part of it -ABC was quick to offer 20 shows for iPad streaming -cre ated a burst of activity by themselves. Internet-equipped television sets are also becoming more mainstream.
And digital sales of movie and TV shows continue to grow. The Digital Entertainment Group, a trade organization, said the category generated $1.1 billion in the first six months of the year, up 23 percent from the period last year.
The previous surge in digital entertainment occurred in 2007 and -with the exception of a few standouts like Hulu.com -fell flat with the broader economy in 2009. ManiaTV , a Web broadcaster that produced original shows, couldn't refinance loans amid the financial crisis and closed its doors in March 2009. (It subsequently returned as a celebrity video site.) Ripe TV , heralded as the Maxim of Web video,died in June 2009.
Eight months to a year ago, a smattering of venture capitalists, studios and advertisers started dipping their toes back in, financing start-ups that began arriving on the market in the spring. In other instances, fledgling companies that did survive the downturn -like Break.com, dedicated to goofball videos and original Webisodes -have recently started to make waves again.
Last month, a consortium of movie studios, television networks and consumer electronics manufacturers unveiled UltraViolet, an ambitious effort to make it easier for consumers to access and manage digital entertainment regardless of where it was bought.
But an awful lot of the companies angling for a piece of the action are long on goals and short on specifics. WowioTV .com, a digital channel devoted to comics, gossip and celebrities, "has big plans for the entertainment industry," a news release says. Brent Weinstein, head of digital media for United Talent Agency, describes many of the ideas that are starting to surface as "junior varsity ."
"Where the market stands today there are more digital opportunities than ever," he said. "Those that will be successful are the ones who understand the unique aspects of the platform and the audience."
The new Avatar of the global box-office
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Last year was unusually good for film business globally and the US, EU and China lead in this revival, according to Focus 2010, a report on world film trends released at Cannes recently. In the US, the largest market in the world, total box office revenues jumped a billion dollars to cross $10 billion, after three years of stagnation. That was a little less than half the box office gross in four major regions – North America, EU, China and Japan.
Films produced in America and by US-based studios continued to rule the box office globally, with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince at the top of the 2009 numbers. That is because the film at number two position, Avatar, was still running in theatres in December 2009, when these figures were compiled (see table). It is estimated that eventually Avatar will bring in more than Harry Potter’s sixth adventure
James Cameron’s ecofantasy is, in fact, changing the structure of the film business globally
It was in the race to catch the release of Avatar in mid- December 2009 that theatres across the world digitised and, more importantly, went for 3D instead of 2D digitisation. While the total number of digital screens doubled in 2009 over 2008, 2D digital screens grew about 20 per cent; 3D grew over three times the number in 2008. This was led in large part by the urgency to capture the upside on revenues from Avatar, also released in 3D format (see chart).
The report details trends on admissions, box office takings and films produced, among other variables, from almost every major country in the world. It is put together every year by the European Audio Visual Observatory, a part of the Council of Europe.
The speed of digitisation, however, is causing concern about the survival of independent exhibitors (theatre firms) in Europe. The issue was also the subject of a conference in Barcelona, earlier this year. Many theatres are not able to bear the costs while the transition to digital, an expensive proposition, happens. While they raise the money and get equipment in, they may actually miss a few major releases and lose money, especially in an economic slowdown year. Whether they should be subsidised in some form during the transition period has been the subject of discussion and debate
The India section, not surprisingly, only shows the top 10 Hindi films. There are very few reliable sources of data on Indian films and most of them focus on Hindi, the biggest chunk (in value) of the $2-billion gross box office revenues in 2008. Incidentally, the share of non-Indian films was eight per cent of total box-office, according to the report. That is up from an estimated five per cent a few years back. All those dubbed superhero movies seem to be working.
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