Indian multiplexes bringing diversity to film business
Indian single-screen theaters are being replaced by Amercan-style multiplexes. The Hindu has an article detailing how this move has brought diversity to the Indian film industry, crowding out local films.
The closing of all those grand old single-screen talkies marked the end of a certain kind of movie-going culture in India that existed up to the ‘90s. Going to a movie was a thrilling, singular experience then. Those were the days when you had to stand in a long queue to get a ticket. You came an hour and half before the show. Standing in the queue, you came across regulars. That was what was so cool about the whole thing: you stood there talking to a total stranger about a movie that both of you saw the last time you were here.
However, multiplexes have also allowed American films to gain a foothold.
Did you notice how all the English movies that play in these multiplexes now are only Hollywood? And the drama as a genre is mostly missing — what plays now is only action, romance, comedy, and horror.
You can read more at theHindu.
The 8 screen Movie City in Edison N.J. shows mostly Indian movies now, especially since private ownership took it over about 3 years ago. Nowadays, you see maybe 1 or 2 mainstream movies, and the other 6 screens play Indian movies. Also what helps is the large Indian population in the 2 to 3 square mile area around this theatre.
Indian movies are gaining a foothold here. I’m researching a story about Pyramid Saimira, which is one of India’s largest theater chains. They bought a US company called FunAsiA which is based in Texas. They have movie theaters in Houston, Irving, and Richardson, TX and have expanded to Chicago and the Washington, DC area. They also own radio station KHSE-AM in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a glossy magazine called DesiPages. Their goal is the “rapid expansion” into major North American markets. They’re converting all their theaters to digital projection and are also setting them up for video conferencing, wedding receptions and banquets. They’re also syndicating their radio programming into the new markets they’re entering and distributing their magazine within their theaters. And they’re looking for new ethnic groups to target.
So as India gets more American movies, we’re getting more Indian movies.
Reliance Media will soon own Dreamworks if the Hollywood based studio parts ways with Paramount. Reliance is based in India.
Allston Cinema, in Boston’s Allston section, was a Bollywood cinema for a short while before it closed down.
The Towne Theatre in San Jose California, built in 1925 as the Hester, has been operating as an Indian triplex for several years now. It was San Jose’s first movie theatre outside the downtown, eventually became an art theatre, then went to porn, then back to art/indie/foreign/rep (and occasional silents with a salvaged Wurlitzer organ) in 1990, was soon triplexed, carried on until a little after the new Millenium, then went to the current policy. There is talk, however, of diversifying programming to have some art film fare once again from time-to-time while keeping the Bollywood.