Disney+ Hotstar, the streaming platform of Disney in India, has announced that its direct-to-digital Bollywood acquisition The Big Bull, starring Abhishek Bachchan, will start streaming from 8 April. The film directed by Kookie Gulati and co-produced by Ajay Devgn is based on the life of stockbroker Harshad Mehta.
The biographical crime drama on Harshad Mehta — Scam 1992– The Harshad Mehta Story, is already a success on SonyLIV, the streaming platform of Sony Pictures Networks.
“Introducing The Big Bull…The mother of all scams,” Bachchan tweeted to announce the film’s release date. Incidentally, Scam director Hansal Mehta also shared the film’s teaser to which Bachchan thanked him and added, “Hope we can live up to the immensely high bar that you have set.”
Last June, Disney+ Hotstar, had announced the acquisition of seven Bollywood titles to be taken directly to the streaming platform featuring top stars like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt. Estimated to be a whopping ₹400 crore, the big bulk acquisition bust the myth that only mid-sized films were skipping a theatrical release during covid-induced lockdown. Apart from The Big Bull, the Hollywood giant’s streaming service had notched up big-ticket films such Akshay Kumar‘s Laxmmi Bomb, Ajay Devgn‘s Bhuj: The Pride of India and Alia Bhatt-starrer Sadak 2.
The move was strategic for Disney that rebranded Hotstar, the video streaming service of the erstwhile Star network to its current name, to compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others in India. The big Bollywood titles were expected to help cement Disney’s library as a formidable force among the clutter of foreign and local players.
Disney+ Hotstar has around 25 million paid users out of Disney’s global total of 94.9 million, the company said in February. Walt Disney reported revenues of $1.62 billion for the quarter ended 2 January.
Meanwhile, rival US streaming giant Netflix may close 2020 with 4.6 million paid subscribers in India, according to a recent analysis by Media Partners Asia (MPA), an independent provider of research, advisory and consulting services across media, telecom, sports and entertainment industries in Asia Pacific. Amazon Prime Video’s subscriber base is estimated at 17 million by MPA.