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Disney India To Exit Hindi Film Production; Will Focus On Hollywood Instead


The Walt Disney Company India will be exiting Bollywood, shifting its focus from producing local-language features to marketing Hollywood films instead. Disney suffered a setback with Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro, its biggest miss since starting operations in the country.

According to an ET report, Disney India’s decision to shift focus to Hollywood is purely because of how ‘unviable and loss making‘ it was in the country. Siddharth Roy Kapur, the Managing Director of UTV Motion Pictures owned by Disney India, will continue working till January as per his contract. UTV Motion Pictures, started by Ronnie Screwvala two decades ago, has been a titular part in the production of several Hindi films. Bought by Disney in 2012 for an offer of $454 million, Siddharth Roy Kapur took over and acquired a stake in UTV. The production company has not been doing well for the past few years. In many instances, the company failed to recover money at the box office.

In addition to its TV business, UTV has a few major releases to its credit including Anurag Kashyap’s  Dev D (2009), and co-production credits in Mira Nair’s The Namesake. The Disney takeover proved successful in a few cases, especially when 2014’s PK was estimated to have grossed more than $100 million. Some of its other hits include dance-drama ABCD 2 with its collection of Rs 105.7 crores at the box office, and Baaghi with its Rs 78 crore collection.

Perhaps, the game changer for Disney India was Hollywood film The Jungle Book collecting a whopping Rs 185 crore from India alone. Even Captain America: Civil War performed fairly well in India, collecting close to Rs 60 crores.

But Disney has had its fair share of misses as well, in addition to shutting down operations down South a few years ago. Romantic-drama Fitoor, released in February, starring Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapoor, bombed at the box office. Saala Khadoos and Tamasha, too, failed to make a big impact. Ashutosh Gowariker’s period drama Mohenjo Daro, starring Hrithik Roshan, has reportedly performed the worst, faring low at the box office. Reportedly made at a budget of around Rs 120 crores, the film has managed to make only Rs 56 crores in the two weeks since its release.

Meanwhile, amidst shutting down, Disney India is also gearing up for a few releases such as Aamir Khan’s much-awaited wrestling drama Dangal, slated for a 23 December release and Jagga Jasoos starring actor Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, slated for an April release next year.

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