New Delhi: Salman Khan’s Eid release Sultan, which opened to more than ₹ 180 crore last weekend, is only the first of the many offerings Bollywood has lined up for the second half of 2016, which so far has been dominated more by the unexpectedly huge successes of Hollywood and regional movies. Nearly ₹ 1,000 crore is riding on these Hindi films put together, according to industry experts.
At least some of these big-ticket films need to do big business if the industry is to trump the ₹ 2,657.069 crore box office collections of 2015, of which about ₹ 1,628.447 crore was earned in the second half of the year. So far in 2016, Hindi films have earned about ₹ 1,062 crore.
“It’s been a trend for the past eight to nine years for major movie business to happen only in the second half of the year," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. “The first half is all about exams and the Indian Premier League (IPL) which, at the end of the day, are excuses for producers. But all the major holidays and festivals—Eid, Dussehra, Diwali and Christmas—fall only in the second half."
To be sure, the overall business for Bollywood in itself may not have been completely disappointing. While films like Housefull 3 ( ₹ 109. 04 crore) and Airlift ( ₹ 128.1 crore) crossed the ₹ 100 crore mark, others like Neerja ( ₹ 75.61 crore) and Kapoor & Sons ( ₹ 73.29 crore) also did well for themselves.
“There has been a double-digit growth in box office thanks to increase in admissions (ticket sales) as well as ticket prices," said Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer, PVR Pictures. “But Hollywood has performed slightly better this year because of one outlier, The Jungle Book."
Gianchandani added that a phenomenon like that happens once in three to four years and is difficult to replicate. Disney’s fantasy adventure made more than ₹ 182 crore across India; it was dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
To be sure, industry experts like Mohan and Gianchandani agree that the second half of the year, already having begun with a bang with Sultan, looks much stronger than the first. John Abraham and Varun Dhawan’s action fest Dishoom is slated for later this month and Akshay Kumar’s romantic thriller Rustom and Hrithik Roshan-starrer and Ashutosh Gowariker-directed period drama Mohenjo Daro are clashing in the Independence Day weekend on 12 August.
“Mohenjo Daro marks the return of Hrithik Roshan to the big screen after two long years and that too in an action-packed avatar, which his fans love. The film is an epic action romance set in a prehistoric era," said Amrita Pandey, vice-president, studios, Disney India.
On 25 August, there is Tiger Shroff’s superhero film A Flying Jatt, directed by Remo D’Souza. The good news continues in September with Sonakshi Sinha’s woman-centric outing Akira. The film, directed by A.R Murugadoss (of Ghajini and Holiday fame), also features Konkona Sen Sharma and director Anurag Kashyap. Then there is Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra’s Baar Baar Dekho, the annual Bhatt horror offering Raaz Reboot and Sushant Singh Rajput’s take on the iconic cricketer, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story.
It would be in October, however, that viewers will be spoilt for choice. Karan Johar returns to direction after four years with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, while Ajay Devgn brings action epic Shivaay, which he has directed and in which he also plays the lead. The two films are expected to clash on the Diwali weekend.
November is the month of sequels with Rock On 2, Force 2 and Kahaani 2. The year ends on a high note with Aditya Chopra’s directorial vehicle Befikre, featuring Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor, and Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal, which is produced by Disney and, according to Pandey, is “a movie that every family should watch together".
Many of these films, Mohan said, have already started generating excitement and curiosity.
“Plus, you never know about the dark horses that may come in as a bonus. People are always happy and willing and spend around festival time," he said.
All figures have been sourced from movie website Bollywood Hungama.