'English-Vinglish' heads to Korea, Japan

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BERLIN – Bollywood distributor Eros Intl. is to give a 15- screen release in South Korea to its 2012 comedy “English Vinglish.” The self-distribution move points to a growing penetration of international, and East Asian markets in particular, by Indian movies.

The pic, directed by Gauri Shinde, releases Feb. 6, following recent outings in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Germany. Released in December, “Vinglish” is the second biggest Bollywood in Taiwan with a gross of more than $300,000.

“‘English Vinglish’ is a universal story that truly resonates with global audiences, especially as it relates to acceptance and the challenges of learning a new language,” said Kumar Ahuja, Eros Intl. Media’s president, business development. “In several new markets, including Asia, audiences have shown that they love Indian ethos and drama.”

The company plans to release other titles including “Dabaang,” “Dabaang 2,” “Ra.One” and “Go Goa Gone” into the mainstream segments of several new markets in the coming year.

Many of these films have already had enjoyed nearly complete business cycles in India and in Indian diaspora segments of many territories. The comeback vehicle of 1980s star Sridevi (pictured) “English Vinglish” was released in October 2012 in India, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Netherlands, Singapore and parts of the Middle East. Releases in Hong Kong and Germany followed in March and June 2013 respectively.

Eros, says it will this year release “Cocktail,” “Student Of The Year” and “Table No. 21” in Taiwan, and “Chalo Dilli,” “English Vinglish,” “Dabaang,” “Student Of The Year” and “Agent Vinod” in Japan. 2007 Shah Rukh Khan megahit “Om Shanti Om” was released last year in Japan on 14 screens and earned more than $150,000.

It is making similar assaults on Eurasia and Russia with plans to release established hits “Yeh jawaani hai deewani,” “Rockstar,” “Zindagi na milegi dobara,” “Student of the Year,” “Vicky Donor” and “Desi Boyz” in 2014. Last March “Cocktail” was released on 19 screens in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and became the first Indian film in these countries to gross more than $ 100,000.

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