Summit journeys to India

Mini-major sets deal with PVR for distribution

LONDON — Summit Entertainment is getting ready to sink its teeth into Indian auds.

The mini-major has inked an exclusive deal with Indian distrib PVR Pictures to release its pics, including the company’s vampire franchise “Twilight” and sequel “New Moon,” in the country for the first time.

A Summit spokesman confirmed the pact, adding that it covers the two “Twilight” pics and a “select” number of other Summit titles.

With a cine-literate population nearing a billion people, India has become an increasingly important market for American companies. While the majors have been ramping up their distribution and production activities in the country, the Summit-PVR pact marks a step forward for an independent.

English-language films generally have a limited potential in India unless they are dubbed into regional languages and released beyond the major cities, although “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” grossed approximately $4.4 million earlier this year.

Summit pics have previously been limited to home entertainment releases in India.

The first pic to be released theatrically out of the pact will be “Twilight” on Nov. 20. PVR will then release sequel “New Moon” on Dec. 4.

“This deal gives Summit a foothold in India,” PVR managing director Sanjeev Kumar Bijli told Daily Variety. “People are dying to see the ‘Twilight’ films here and there are only a few independent companies like Summit who make high quality films.”

PVR Pictures is the moviemaking arm of one of India’s largest exhibs. Its distribution operations have specialized in releasing English-language pics by the likes of Miramax and Focus Features. While PVR also produces Hindi-language pics, the deal with Summit currently only covers distribution. That may change in the long run.

Summit declined to comment.

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