Box office: Closing gap between big hits and sleeper hits; Bollywood films share the spoils

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Updated: Feb 24, 2020 10:19 AM

In sync with this, the share of the next 11-25 movies went up to about 35% last year from less than 25% in 2017.

Box office, Kotak Institutional Equities, Aamir Khan, PVR, Inox, box office collectionsIn sync with this, the share of the next 11-25 movies went up to about 35% last year from less than 25% in 2017.

For decades, the top hits of Bollywood brought in bulk of the box office collections. But that trend seems to be changing, if slowly. In 2017, for instance, the top 10 films snapped up over 60% of the collections but that share fell to below 50% in 2019.

In sync with this, the share of the next 11-25 movies went up to about 35% last year from less than 25% in 2017. Analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities (KIE) pointed out that not so long ago — CY12-CY17 — the the top five films walked away with bulk of the collections.  But it’s a lot more democratic these days with the spoils being shared by many more films.

Consider this: collections for the top 10 films grew 10.51% in 2019 but on the back of zero growth in 2018. However, for the next set of 11-25 films, collections jumped 30.86% in 2019 even on the exceptionally strong 52.36% increase in 2018. As has been well-documented the reason why many more films are doing well is thanks to strong storylines and good performances; even budget movies made typically at a cost of Rs 20 crore-Rs  70 crore are able to win over audiences.

In 2019, Uri raked in a whopping Rs 244 crore at the box office, though the producers spent just Rs 44 crore to make the film. In 2018, mid-sized movies Stree, Raazi and Badhaai Ho crossed the Rs 100-crore mark. Shahrukh Khan’s Zero earned Rs 88 crore while Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan notched up a collection of Rs 138 crore, way below the staggering Rs 300-crore budget.

However, Jehil Thakkar, partner, Deloitte, does not see the gap between the top 10 movies and the next 11-25 movies narrowing further. “The difference will remain or the big hits will bring in more,” Thakkar said. He explained that as OTT platforms become popular allowing consumers the option to watch movies at their convenience, only an exceptional film that provides them a larger-than-life experience like a Baahubali, would draw them to the theatre.

Rajib Basu, partner, PwC, however, believes the gap between the top 10 and the next 11-25 could narrow further, given that the ‘star culture’ appears to be fading and many more well-directed films being made with good plots and relevant themes. “Stars may pull in the crowd for the first weekend but not for longer,” Basu said, pointing out that an Andhadhun with its gripping story and tight narration was more likely to draw audiences.

If collections are growing fairly well, that’s also due to rising prices of tickets. Average ticket prices (ATP) at Inox rose to Rs 197 in the six months to September 2019 from Rs 164 in FY15. At PVR , ATP increased to over Rs 200 in H1FY20 from Rs 178 in FY15.

In the meanwhile, seating capacity has increased as has occupancy. While Inox’s capacity increased to 1.4 lakh seats in H1FY20 from 98,782 seats in FY15, PVR’s capacity went up by 60% during the period. Together, PVR and Inox control the bulk of theatre capacity in the country and boasted 3.24 lakh seats at the end of December 2019.

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