Universal opens Indian office

Sarabjit Singh to head up Mumbai branch

Universal Pictures Intl. is opening a theatrical distribution arm in India to capitalize on the country’s growing appetite for international cinema, UPI prexy David Kosse announced Thursday

The Mumbai branch will be headed by managing director Sarabjit Singh, who will report to UPI prexy of distribution Duncan Clark.

Singh spent more than a decade with Paramount Films of India (UIP) as general manager and sales, marketing and distribution exec. He orchestrated the release of 276 films from U and Par, and was instrumental in introducing dubbing of pics in the local languages.

He will bring U’s 2012 slate to India, including tentpoles “Battleship,” “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “47 Ronin.”

The Mumbai office is UPI’s 14th international branch since it transitioned from its joint venture with Par in 2007.

“Establishing operations in India has always been an ambition of UPI, and with 2012 bringing us arguably Universal’s best slate in several years, we have high aspirations for the market,” said Kosse.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, 75 foreign pics were released in India last year, generating more than $81 million, up 33% from the previous year. Hollywood pics accounted for 4% of total film industry revenues in India in 2010, a number that is expected to increase.

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