Bollywood distribution giant Eros Intl. is positioning itself to explode in the Indian and Asian regional film industries via co-productions between India and China. And Eros chairman Kishore Lulla says that producing the first $1 billion-grossing film from Asia is now a corporate objective.“The idea of a $1 billion grossing movie from Asia is no longer unrealistic," Lulla told Variety in Cannes. "China has proved that it can make movies that gross $400 million at the box office. Indian movies are now...
One of the key players in the Indian film business, Kishore Lulla is not based in India at all. He keeps a distance by basing himself and Eros, the world’s biggest distributor of Bollywood movies, in a splendid private mansion close to London’s Oxford Street. He prefers “Conservative English values” and the ability to have the company’s legal seat in the Isle of Man.
Eros, founded by Lulla’s father, is an almost unique global distribution entity. Among theatrical distributors, only the Hollywood studios have wider releasing networks. And few can rival Eros’ volume, some 60-75 titles per year, across all platforms.
Ten years ago, Lulla took advantage of the stability afforded by Eros’ distribution capacity to expand into production and finance, raising money from three stock market launches (two for the parent company and one for the Indian subsidiary.) His keen eye on the bottom line means a rigorous stratification of movies into A, B and C titles.
More recently, Lulla is attempting to build online distribution of the company’s massive library through its Eros Now OTT site and to be the first film company to consistently connect the Chinese and Indian markets. “My business model is to be both a film studio and an OTT leader, a combination which scarcely exists anywhere in the world,” Lulla explains.
The company was last year the subject of lurid speculation in certain investment circles that its revenues in the Middle East were a massive fiction, while rivals have questioned the method for counting Eros Now’s users. The easygoing Lulla laughs at both criticisms and says that inspiring jealousy is the mark of success.