Bollywood's reputation as the biggest movie industry in the world precedes it, and obviously it has a lot to do with the huge audience India has. Hollywood has certainly realised the huge opportunities India offers, and has been banking on it for a while now, even premiering big-budget movies in the country ahead of their release in the US.
One of the most anticipated movies of the year, "The Jungle Book", is the latest film to follow this trend. It has been announced that the live-action reboot of the 1967 animated film "The Jungle Book" will be released on Friday, Apr. 8, 2016, which is a week ahead of the US.
This comes as great news for Indians, especially because 10-year-old Indian-origin actor Neel Sethi portrays the hero Mowgli. The Jon Favreau directorial will see live-action and CGI animals and environments blending to recreate the timeless tale woven by Rudyard Kipling.
Kipling's stories are set in the backdrop of an Indian jungle and the names of characters from Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) to Shere Khan (Idris Elba) all trace their origins to Hindi, which is another reason for this early release being special for Indians.
Many movies like "Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn", "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" have tried and tested the theory that releasing in India before the US works wonders for the box office numbers. In fact, Vijay Singh, the CEO of Fox Star, is of the opinion that doing so gives the films a huge PR advantage.
"Releasing the films (first in India) gave us a huge PR advantage and created hype amongst audiences about watching the film before the rest of the world," he told the Economic Times.
Does it actually matter to Indians whether they get to see the movie before the rest of the world? Clearly they do, because Singh said showcasing of films earlier gave them a good boost in the box office ahead of the premiere in the US.
Sometimes, the change in release date may also happen due to the release of a huge Bollywood flick. PVR Pictures CEO Kamal Gianchandani told the Financial Express "Avengers: Age of Ultron" had premiered in India a week ahead of the US release because it overlapped with Akshay Kumar-starrer "Main Gabbar", later renamed "Gabbar Is Back". Meanwhile, "The Three Musketeers" was released to avoid a clash with Shah Rukh Khan's "Ra.One" on Diwali.
Meanwhile, the diversity of the Indian audience also may factor into early releases, according to GroupM ESP's senior business director Ameya Sule. He said although it happens very rarely, studios sometimes study Indian's response to a movie and make alterations ahead of the US release, making the Indian audiences a focus group of over a billion people.
Regardless of the reason, Indian fans of Hollywood are grateful for the early releases and the bragging rights that come with it. The possibility of threatening their overseas friends with spoiler alerts is an added bonus.