If 2009 was the year of stars being forced to cut fees, production houses rationalizing budgets and astronomical marketing budgets giving distributors the Blues (pun intended), then 2010 is likely to see a big change in the way the business of film entertainment is conducted.
For one, the increase in digitized cinemas and the proliferation of multiplexes will see the emergence of new markets, namely B-towns. Places such as Varanasi, Bathinda, Gorakhpur, Ranchi, Raipur and Meerut, to name a few, will contribute in a bigger way to the box office.
Prabhat Chaudhary, of movie marketing and communications agency Spice, says: “The metro market has reached a plateau. Growing awareness of movies and multiplexes percolating into B-towns is making a difference. There is so much more of India out there that we are not catering to yet.”
Changing the script: Innovative marketing and New Age ideas will define blockbusters. Rajkumar/Mint
Hand-in-hand comes the second trend—innovative marketing, with campaigns designed to cater to new markets. As Chaudhary adds: “The muscular markets of last year which saw spends of up to Rs18 crore on the marketing of Blue, Rs16 crore on Kambakkht Ishq, Rs11 crore on Kurbaan contributed in large part to the films’ losses. Cheeky marketing by movies such as Love Aaj Kal, Dev D and 3 Idiots did the trick. Reducing your marketing budget immediately affects the bottom line.”
Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO of UTV Movies, predicts “lower and more innovative ways of marketing films, by cutting out the waste and focusing single-mindedly on the core target audience for each film.”
Creatively, the year will see the ongoing tussle between mainstream commercial content and New Age themes explored by independent film-makers. While the former banks on star appeal, the latter focuses on getting the script right and finding fresh ways of telling a story. “Big ideas, not a big star cast, will rule,” says Kapur.
On a lighter note, here are three populist predictions for Bollywood:
1. Hrithik Roshan will finally cut his hair, but only after the release of Kites and after wrapping up Guzaarish because he will be preparing to collect all the acting awards. But Roshan’s paraplegic will face stiff competition from Shah Rukh Khan’s autistic Khan.
2. Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor will continue to battle for the top spot. While the media continues to speculate on their love affairs, marriage plans, in-laws’ blessings, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will quietly emerge the winner, sweeping awards for her roles in Raavan or Guzaarish.
3. Aamir Khan will march steadily to the powerful position of No. 1 producer, marketing brains and actor as he promotes the living daylights out of his productions Dhobi Ghat and Delhi Belly.