Following the recent success of Twilight at the Indian box office, local distributor-exhibitor PVR Pictures is ramping up the December 11 release of New Moon (pictured) to around 400 screens.

In contrast, Twilight opened on 25 film prints and 14 digital prints across 52 screens on November 20 in India. Although PVR’s worldwide distribution head, Deepak Sharma, wouldn’t give exact figures, he said the film has performed way past expectations for an older title.

“It has witnessed a very good opening with over a 60% occupancy ratio on the weekend,” said Sharma. “PVR Pictures will be releasing the movie not only in metros but also in small centres in the days to come. We are expecting a gross collection of close to $42,802 (Rs2m) during the run of the movie.”

Initially, PVR was planning to only release New Moon in English and Hindi, but following its strong worldwide opening, and the local response to Twilight, the company decided to widen the release by dubbing it in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil and increasing the number of screens.

PVR recently signed an exclusive distribution deal with Summit Entertainment that covered Twilight, New Moon and a select number of other Summit titles. New Moon is set to cross more than $200m worldwide.

Meanwhile, Sony is also enjoying success in India with 2012 which has become the highest grossing foreign film ever in the country, grossing $14.9m (Rs700m) since its release on November 13. The record was previously held by Sony’s 2007 release Spider-Man 3, which grossed $14.5m (Rs680.7m).

“It looks like 2012 is heading towards the $17m (Rs800m) mark,” said Sony Pictures India managing director Kercy Daruwala. “We initially released with 676 prints – the widest ever for a Hollywood release – but added several prints due to huge demand. There are currently 725 prints in play.”

Expectations are also high for James Cameron’s Avatar, which Fox Star Studios is opening on December 18. Multiplexes across India are upgrading infrastructure to enhance the Avatar experience in both 2D and 3D formats.

Aditya Shroff of local exhibitor Fame Cinemas said: “I believe that the 3D version of Avatar is going to be the revolutionary movie for this generation. Hence Fame is trying to go as wide as possible with the 3D release.”

The number of 3D screens in Indiais said to have increased from around 12 to 40, with another 20 screens expected to be ready by Dec 18.

Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios India said: “There is an incredible buzz building up for Avatar. The dramatic increase in the number of 3D screens, as well as the strong interest that we are getting from the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu language markets reaffirms this.”