Hollywood is going all out to up its game in India and the proof of this is its localisation push in the country. Stars like Rana Daggubati and Ranveer Singh are being roped in to lend their voices for the dubbed versions of Hollywood movies.
Released on May 8, the dubbed Hindi trailer of Deadpool 2 features the voice of Ranveer, who was brought on board for his smart, witty, irreverent humour, according to a statement by Vijay Singh, CEO Fox Star Studios. Similarly, Daggubati lent his voice to Thanos in the Telugu version of Avengers: Infinity War.
Deadpool 2, starring Ryan Reynolds, will hit theatres on May 18.
How important are dubbed versions for Hollywood?
Over the past few years, the audiences have grown more discerning about the movies they watch, appreciate different genres and have become language agnostic. Good cinematic experience of Hollywood movies has been appreciated by audiences across different demographics in India.
This has led to an increase in the number of these movies being dubbed into regional languages. Over last 2-3 years, nearly 40 percent of English releases are dubbed in atleast one local language, according to KPMG report.
Dubbing into different Indian languages helps to reach wider audience base leading to increase in the contribution from dubbed versions to overall revenue collection in Indian market.
The Jungle Book, which was the highest grossing Hollywood movie in India before Avengers: Infinity War took away the title, garnered more than half of the box office revenues from non-English versions. The dubbed contribution was a staggering 56 percent and English was 44 percent.
For the Hindi version, Disney had hired popular actors to voice characters with Priyanka Chopra performing Kaa, Irrfan Khan Baloo, Om Puri Bagheera, Shefali Shah Raksha and Nana Patekar Shere Khan.
Has Hollywood seen success for its localisation push?
Box office collections of the dubbed versions of English films validate the success of Hollywood’s localisation push in India. In 2016, contribution of the dubbed versions of The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War and Finding Dory stand at 58 percent, 41 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
A year before in 2015, Avengers: Age of Ultron’s dubbed contribution was 45 percent, Ant-man’s local versions got 27 percent business and Star Wars: A Force Awakens dubbed versions earned 15 percent of the overall revenue.
The local language versions of Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy managed to get 33 percent and 27 percent, respectively of the overall revenues.
What is helping dubbed versions of Hollywood films to attract audiences?
Fan base of Hollywood films in India is increasing with every single new release. It is either the variety of content on offer like fantasy films, superhero drama, science fiction, horror or the cinematic experience that these movies are providing, more and more moviegoers in India are lining up for Hollywood films.
And this has encouraged studios to dub these films in local languages to reach to a wider audience which has helped to cater to the movie going population in tier II and III markets. Studios have also tasted success for their effort as content consumption is not just growing in tier I market but in smaller cities and towns as well.
In addition, exhibitors have also upgraded their facilities from E screen cinemas to D screen cinemas in tier II and III cities on a large scale, giving more avenues to Hollywood films to reach unexplored territories.