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Bollywood’s highest grosser of the year, at  ₹292.71 crore, was Yash Raj Films’ action thriller War
Bollywood’s highest grosser of the year, at 292.71 crore, was Yash Raj Films’ action thriller War

2019 a Bollywood hit as collections top 4,000 crore

  • A cut in the tax rate for movie tickets priced above 100 from 28% to 18% last December helped boost revenue
  • This is the first time that box office collections in a calendar year have crossed the 4,000-crore mark, according to trade experts

New Delhi: Revenue from Bollywood films jumped more than 30% to cross the 4,000 crore-mark this year, notching up a surprise first in the middle of an economic slowdown that has hit multiple bellwether sectors such as automobiles and retail.

Trade experts said this is the first time the box office collections in a calendar year have crossed the 4,000 crore-mark for Bollywood, clearly making for a milestone.

Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema estimated the final net domestic box office collection for Hindi films in 2019 at 4,350 crore, several notches above the 3,300 crore collected in 2018 and the 3,000 crore in 2017. “We’ve seen a lot of successes in 2019 thanks to a variety of content, from mindless comedies to patriotic and slice-of-life, realistic films," Mohan said.

Bollywood’s highest grosser of the year, at 292.71 crore, was Yash Raj Films’ action thriller War. It is followed by Kabir Singh ( 276.34 cr), Uri-The Surgical Strike ( 244 cr), Housefull 4 ( 205.60 cr), Bharat ( 197.34 cr), Mission Mangal ( 192.67 cr), Kesari ( 151.87 cr), Total Dhamaal ( 150.07 cr), the Hindi version of Saaho ( 148.84 cr) and Chhichhore ( 147.32 cr).

(Graphic: Santosh Sharma/Mint)
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(Graphic: Santosh Sharma/Mint)

A cut in entertainment tax helped boost revenue. Last December, the tax rate for movie tickets priced above 100 was brought down to 18% from 28%.

However, content deserves credit for the numbers. “We realize that streaming services are a big option for audiences but they will still come to theatres provided they get the right cinematic experience backed by good storytelling," said Film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar.

“Earlier, there were only five to six faces you could rely on to open films but now even smaller budget films and names are doing fantastic business." These include films like Chhichhore, Badla, Luka Chuppi and, most importantly, Uri, all of which have strong stories.

In contrast, some big-budget spectacles like Kalank and Panipat failed to recover their production costs.

Going to the movies is seen as an impulsive decision families make at least four to six times a year. Industry experts say that is probably the main reason showbiz has trumped the broader slowdown in the economy.

“Cinema is the only way to escape the mundane, stressful reality of life especially with the pressures of other businesses not doing well, particularly for the working population," said Saurabh Uboweja, founder and managing partner at management consulting firm Brands of Desire.

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