Reliance Entertainment's Big cinemas ready to open in US

Mumbai, April 2 (IANS) Reliance Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. (REPL) is all set to start its cinema chain in the US under the brand name Big from next month. More than 200 theatres will screen Hindi as well as regional films from India.

Confirming the schedule, a company official said: "We are still renovating and refitting the cinemas we have acquired in some cities there. A formal announcement about their opening will be made later."

Over the last one year, Reliance Entertainment has acquired over 200 cinema halls in 28 North American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and Washington.

Taken on a long-term lease, these theatres will bear the company's entertainment brand name Big, and not Adlabs, as REPL's cinemas in India are called.

It is learnt that REPL has also bought over an American theatre management firm to oversee the operations of its Big cinema chain.

REPL may also distribute movies overseas. Since it is already into producing movies in Hindi and other Indian regional languages under the Big Pictures banner, its exhibition outlets abroad will help it firm up its distribution venture.

In order to expand its overseas exhibition network, the company is now scouting for more cinema halls in other countries as well.

The Big cinema chain in the US will not only screen Bollywood movies, but will also run Indian regional language movies, particularly the productions from the south, and movies from other Asian countries to cater to large expatriate populations.

These 200-odd cinema halls are located in cities where there are large concentrations of people from the Indian subcontinent and other parts of Asia.

The chain will be marketed as any other American cinema chain. Mainstream Hollywood movies, art house productions and movies made by the independent producers will also adorn the marques of the Big cinemas.

REPL's cinema operations in the US, spread across different cities, will go a long way in making the presence of the Bollywood movies, in particular, more prominent there and help them reap good harvest from the US box-office.

Already, some recent Bollywood movies have made it to the top of the US box-office chart. UTV-distributed Tip Films' "Race," for example, has secured 18th position in the US box-office in the first week of its release on 96 screens.

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