So we reach that ultimate moment of Movie Release. 2 weeks to go for October 19th. What’s the spread looking like…in terms of number of prints and screens?
The spread is going to be similar to any of the Hollywood animation film that releases in India… we are looking at around 300 screens across India and the film is released in its original language, Hindi.
Releasing an animated movie in India circa 2012 is a big big challenge, please share with us your agony and ecstasy in doing the same?
Oh yes, I sure do think so. As you already know that the Indian animation industry has not really seen a very promising box office result yet. But what encourages us is to see that the Hollywood films have been gradually seeing a steady rise at the box office and we feel confident that we have a film that will appeal to the Hindi film going audience. We have a strong marketing approach through our digital initiative and also through very direct ground activities in over 3000 schools. We are also privileged and thankful to have a very strong support thru PETA and Bittu Sahgal.
Our film has got screened at Annecy International Film Festival and has also won the best Animated Feature Film at FICCI FRAMES in India, has boosted our confidence in the way the film has come out.
There have certainly been challenges in trying to release an animated feature in India. It is largely because of the past box office performances leading to a poor belief in animated content. Only time will tell, but we are all very excited to release our film on October 19th, 2012 and waiting to see how the audience receives the film. They are the final LITMUS test to a FILM.
Has the presence of popular bollywood actors as the main voices, and the director being from Bollywood, helped in securing more screens or syndication sales?
Good actors always lend credibility to a film. The actors have done a brilliant job on the dubbing and the challenge of acting just through the voice has been very well met. Certainly, the film has been able to leverage upon having a strong bollywood cast and Nikhil Advani as the director of the film. There is an increased faith in the film. And I am sure that the audience will notice the contribution of experienced and known actors and director in the film.
This year has seen more Indian animated movies collectively release than any other year. What are the positive impacts of Chhota Bheem, Krishna aur Kans and Arjun’s silver screen showing that you are observing while releasing Delhi Safari?
It is indeed encouraging to see so many releases in one single year. It shows that the Indian distributors and theatres have started looking at the genre of animation films more seriously than ever before, especially the Indian animation content. Also big houses producing and releasing these film adds to the growing faith. Chhota Bheem has also shown a very strategic path to getting onto the big screen. It’s a lesson for a lot of us to take home.
In terms of a bulleted list, what are the highlights of your marketing plan?
1. Our School Contact Program, where we visiting over 3000 schools in India
2. Send a message to the PM program through schools and our digital initiatives
3. Our Facebook marketing has been very impressive. We have crossed over 500,000 (half a million) LIKES already. And our TV commercials have not even begun.
5. Ads in the BEST buses in Bombay
6. Usual TV ad release plan
7. Addressing the animation community through CG Tantra
8. Support from PETA and CUB and SANCTUARY magazine
9. Could you please elaborate and share about the same?
Our whole marketing strategy was divided into Ground Activity, Internet based strategy, and the usual TV promotions that every film does.
We have, with the help of ARENA, created a strong school contact program where we are talking to over 3000 schools promoting the message of the film on deforestation. We have post cards specially created for children to send a message to the PM. We are hoping to collect almost a million cards from kids across India to send a message to the PM. The same program is synchronised with our Digital Marketing strategy. So people, besides school children can also send a message to the PM. This initiative has been extremely successful and we are very confident that has created a great awareness of both, the issue and the film, amongst the community addressed.
Facebook Strategy has been very aggressive. Before our ads are out on TV we have over half a million LIKES and the engagement of several hundred thousand people has been observed. We had a big challenge on how to address the YOUTH, which is the largest community visiting multiplexes. Our FB strategy has been extremely successful in addressing this exact community and the interaction and the comments and engagement has been very high. Also we are running contests and creating various technical chat sessions within the animation community through CG Tantra.
Who are your major media and other brand partners?
Arena / BPCL / PETA / TINKLE / CUB AND SANCTUARY MAGAZINE / TETRAPACK / C G TANTRA to name a few.
Can you share about the licensing and syndication deals with Delhi Safari in India and abroad?
We are releasing it in India and the world wide release is being handled by our global sales agent, FANTASTIC FILMS INC. They are an LA based company. They helped us with the ENGLISH dubbing of the film as well. We have already sold the film to Russia, China, Dubai and are in talks with several European companies. Our film is also being released theatrically in the US and Canada.
At Anifest, we remember polling with the attendees on how many of them had seen the Indian Animated features released so far this year and the response was not so encouraging. What is your view on the practice of inviting Animation Industry students to come watch Animated movies made in India? How much of an impact can that have on the overall box office of an animated movie in India?
It’s of course very important that the industry people go out and support the industry. But with the increasing costs of watching a film in Multiplex today and the choices that are so much in ample, it’s hard to push people to come and watch a particular film. Also the kind of media blast that a lot of big budgeted hindi films do has increased tremendously. They easily with the big spend, capture the mindshare of the community. And the market share comes directly in some proportion to the mind share that a film can create. The animation films do not have the kind of budgets to push the film the way some of the bigger hindi films push and also its the STAR POWER that plays a significant role in choosing a film. But if we can have a strategy and a compelling content to address our community, it could be a significant contribution to the success of an animated film. We are quite a large number that can be a captive audience.
In terms of the market and revenues, what’s the most positive observation about Indian animation in 2012 that you would like to point out?
Sadly, I am not qualified to comment on this. But I am assured from the box office results of some of the bigger Hollywood animation films in India, that people are willing to come to the theaters.
Please WATCH Delhi Safari! I think it’s a fun film which can engage both the children and the adults!!!