Lionsgate has partnered with Dharma Productions and Sikhya Entertainment to grab distribution rights in North America and the UK for the Indian actioner “Kill.”
While Indian films have played in North American theaters regularly, often in semi-wide or wide releases, it’s much less common for a major Hollywood studio to participate stateside. In fact, this is the first for a Hindi-language feature.
The Hindi-language flick, due for theatrical release in 2024, can be loosely described as “Die Hard on a train,” with the lone wolf hero (Lakshya) doing his best to dispatch the bandits (led by Raghav Juyal) so he can complete his journey to save his beloved (Tanya Maniktala) from an arranged marriage.
Directed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat, “Kill” is produced by Karan Johar & Apoorva Mehta for Dharma Productions and Guneet Monga Kapoor & Achin Jain for Sikhya Entertainment. The picture made its acclaimed premiere at TIFF as a Midnight Madness selection, where it earned comparisons to the likes of “The Raid,” “John Wick” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It certainly seems a good fit for the studio which offered up “John Wick,” “Expendables,” the Gerard Butler “Has Fallen” series and this year’s Nazi-killing thriller “Sisu.”
“American audiences have become more open than ever to bold filmmaking from all corners of the world. We were astounded by Kill and dazzled by the artistry of director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat,” said Lionsgate senior vice president Acquisitions and Co-Productions Lauren Bixby. “We’re confident that ‘Kill’ will find an audience ready to delight in this film’s exuberant mayhem.
In a joint statement, producers Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta from Dharma Productions and Guneet Monga Kapoor and Achin Jain from Sikhya Entertainment declared, “It is a huge leap and moment for us to be joining hands with Lionsgate for our US and UK theatrical releases. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the studio that’s behind the success of globally acclaimed cinematic masterpieces such as ‘John Wick.’ This is a historic moment in Indian cinema, and we’re elated to be creating a new milestone with our commercial Indian action thriller Kill, a never-before-seen genre film in India.”
Whether this means that Lionsgate found an overseas actioner that plays to its existing specialties or whether this is a sign that Hollywood has noticed the demographically specific successes of “Pathaan” and “RRR,” it will be an interesting test case. Come what may, it’ll be a case of both Hollywood studios and theater chains not simply relying on stereotypical Hollywood releases to fill out the theatrical space.
WME Independent, which is handling global sales, brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers alongside Christopher Davis and Kaycee Holcomb for Lionsgate.