Warner Bros set to distribute 20th Century Fox in India

MUMBAI: Warner Bros. is in the process of signing a deal to distribute movies from the Rupert Murdoch-promoted 20th Century Fox stable in India, a development that goes to prove that arch rivals can get together to promote their business interests.

Recently, 20th Century Fox shut down operations in India following a long period of losses and financial mismanagement. The winding up process has ended.


"Warner is entering into a distribution deal with 20th Century Fox," says an industry source. This will mean that 20th Century Fox will release its movies in India through Warner, once the agreement is inked.

Among the Hollywood players in the film distribution business, Sony Pictures Releasing of India (earlier Columbia TriStar) is the most successful with a turnover of Rs one billion in calendar year 2004. While Spiderman II grossed Rs 360 million, Anaconda earned Rs 220 million.



In India, Hollywood studios are entering into alliances to drive the distribution of their movies. Sony Pictures Releasing, for instance, has a running deal to distribute Walt Disney movies. The trend also is to mix the lineup with distribution of local Hindi products which are popular.

The closure of 20th Century Fox's operations is unfortunate, industry analysts feel. "The distribution business is risky in India. Distributors will have to know what price they are paying for acquiring the rights to distribute these movies. Besides, there is a requirement to have the right local products," says an analyst.

The studio had also come up with local releases such as Jhankar Beats, Pinjar and Tehzeeb. “However, of these Hollywood films, only X-Men broke even, while Jhankar Beats turned out an encouraging show,” the sources said

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