Sony's Indian channel, Sony Entertainment Television (SET), is moving into international theatrical distribution of Hindi films, starting with Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir which opens in the UK on October 26.
The film, which features Indian star Hrithik Roshan, opens in the US the following day, before rolling out to six other European territories, including France and Germany, and Middle Eastern territories, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.
Mission Kashmir and SET's future theatrical releases will also be distributed and heavily promoted on SET worldwide. The channel has distribution in Asia and the Middle East via the PAS-4 satellite and in Europe via Astra. In the US it is carried by the EchoStar platform.
SET is already involved in the production of Hindi movies. Its first production, directed by Mahesh Manjrekar and starring Hindi film actress Sonali Bendre, is currently shooting in Bombay.
20th Century Fox has also unveiled plans to enter production and international distribution of Hindi films through its Asian platform Star TV. Under a deal with India's United Television, Star plans to co-produce up to 12 Indian-language films a year. Star will take global satellite rights to the titles which fellow News Corp subsidiary 20th Century Fox will release theatrically in India. UTV retains Indian broadcast rights.
Meanwhile Columbia TriStar - which handles Buena Vista product in India - has announced that it plans to spend $150,000 on promoting the Indian release of Disney animation Dinosaur. The ad spend, to be spread across satellite channels and leading newspapers, is the company's biggest on an animated film. The picture will be released October 27 in English, Hindi and Telugu.