India is an important market to the US-based Marvel Studios as the Asian country has such a movie-going culture, says the studio’s president Kevin Feige.

India has its own indigenous movies, and he says it’s nice to see the fan base of their films growing stronger in the country.

According to industry sources, in India, close to 32 Marvel movies have released generating over 100 million admissions. The third part of the “Iron Man” franchise performed better than the first two and registered a growth of 300 per cent over the second “Iron man” movie.

The sources also shared that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, released in 2014, registered a growth of 2628 per cent over the first movie “Captain America: The First Avenger”. “Captain America: Civil War”, which hit the screens earlier this year, registered a growth of 175 per cent over the second movie and 7412 per cent over the first one.

Dubbed content almost contributes in the range of 25 per cent to 45 per cent to the total box office collection. Major dubbed contribution comes from the Hindi market.

Marvel’s franchises have also gained immense traction in India amongst children and adults alike. There are Marvel products across categories including toys, home, stationery and publishing.

For “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”, the company witnessed over 50 brand associations in India and now with “Captain America: Civil War”, it has increased to 70 brands, shared industry sources.

And now, the studio is ready to bring their latest offering “Doctor Strange” to Indian screens on Friday, the same day as its North American release.

“India is important to us. India has such a movie-going culture. They have their own movies that are amazing. To be able to have (our films’) fan base growing…that’s nice,” Feige told IANS here during one of the promotion events of the action-adventure, helmed by Scott Derrickson.

The fact that India is important to them can also be seen in their 2012 film “The Avengers”. It shows actor Mark Ruffalo as the brilliant scientist Bruce Banner (superhero Hulk) finding refuge in Kolkata’s slums though they didn’t actually fly down to the east Indian city for shooting.

That’s not all. One of the inspirations for the lead character Doctor Stephen Strange from their latest release was the radio show “Chandu the Magician”, which featured a magician who learned magic in India. For “Doctor Strange”, the makers shot extensively in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, which is just over 1,000 km away from Delhi. But the crew gave India a skip. Why’

“I would love to shoot in India. It will be great. As a matter of fact, there is a scene in our upcoming movie. I can’t give it away. Like in ‘The Avengers’ that takes place in India. But we didn’t shoot it there. It was just one scene. It’s too expensive to fly the whole crew and cast across the globe for one scene,” said Feige.

“But if we had something that was more of a story that took place there, then it would have been amazing to shoot there,” he added.

What about an Indian superhero’

“It would be my dream to have heroes that represent all cultures in the world. We still, at this point are pulling heroes from the comic books. ‘Doctor Strange’ is our 14th movie, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ will be our 15th and ‘Spider-Man’ 16th. So, the more we make, the more opportunities we have to bring more heroes on the big screen,” he said.

And not all their superheroes are played by Americans. British star Benedict Cumberbatch plays the protagonist — a surgeon-turned-sorcerer vested with powerful magical powers and skills — in “Doctor Strange”. Fellow British actor Tom Holland was introduced as Spider-Man in their 2016 release “Captain America: Civil War”.

“They are really good,” he said.

“Doctor Strange” also features Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton.

(The writer’s trip to Hong Kong was at the invitation of Disney India. Natalia can be contacted at [email protected])

By Natalia Ningthoujam

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