Star Movies aims to ride high on Blockbuster power

MUMBAI: What better way to attract traffic to a movie channel than to get more movies on board! 

Star Movie's master plan for the year 2004 is to boggle the audience with more movies, and not just the commercial blockbusters but the offbeat cinema as well.

The channel issued a release captioned 'it's raining blockbusters in 2004 on Star Movies'. Quoting the AC Neilson TAM data, the channel claims that it has been, in fact, the number one channel in the last two years, that is, 2002 and 2003.

The channel has, in a bid to bolster its position, lined up of big blockbusters in the next few months. The titles that Star's movie arm plans to air include Minority Report, Signs, Road to Perdition, Catch me if you can, Monster's Ball, Ice Age, Original Sin, Tuxedo, Bulletproof Monk, The Pianist, and Pearl Harbour.

Touted as India's No 1 English movie channel, Star's movie arm claims to be leading both primetime and all-day shares over HBO.

According to the official release, Star Movies had nine out of 10 top movies in 2002, while it had seven out of top 10 in 2003. Quite contrary to the claims made by HBO South Asia country manager Shruti Bajpai that December saw 11 of the top 15 movies coming from the HBO stable, when it ran the Best of 2003 block

Bajpai had, in a tete-e-tete with, offered that HBO's share for the prime time 9-11 pm slot 42 per cent, while AXN, Zee MGM, Hallmark and Star Movies shared the rest.

But the data provided by Star Movies seems to offer a different picture.

Surprisingly, the rating list provided does not even figure HBO's 2002 blockbuster Mission Impossible II in the top 10 movies, while the archival 1973 Bruce Lee movie Enter the dragon ranks third.

For the year, 2004 Star Movies has already has a good start with it's Made in India festival, a series of the best of Indian-English films. While HBO just aired its big ticket for the quarter Spiderman a fortnight ago.

While both the channels have lined up a bunch of Oscar- winning and nominated movies, Star Movies does have an upper hand with the Oscar Fever culminating to the 76 Academy Awards, shown live and exclusive on 1 March, 6:30 am.

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