Bollywood set to cross 75% of 2022 box office collections in September quarter

The resurgence is on the back of blockbusters such as Jawan, as well as mid-sized movies like Dream Girl 2 and OMG 2. (PTI)
The resurgence is on the back of blockbusters such as Jawan, as well as mid-sized movies like Dream Girl 2 and OMG 2. (PTI)


  • Overall, the first nine months of 2023 seem to be on a par with pre-covid business levels

The Hindi film industry made a remarkable recovery in the September quarter, raking in over 1,300 crore, which adds up to 75% of Bollywood’s total earnings for 2022.

This significant resurgence is on the back of blockbusters such as Gadar 2 and Jawan, as well as the successful run of mid-sized movies like Dream Girl 2 and OMG 2. The movies have got audiences back to theatres from big cities as well as small towns.

Now, all eyes are on the December quarter. Despite concerns over a limited number of major Hindi releases—Salman Khan’s Tiger 3, Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dunki—there is optimism that Hollywood and regional films will contribute to maintaining the industry’s momentum.

Certainly, theatres bore one of the harshest blows from the pandemic. Cinemas remained closed for extended periods while film releases were scarce even after reopening as audiences moved to OTT platforms.

Over 1,500 theatres are estimated to have shut shop during covid. That said, following the revival of the industry led by South Indian films with hits like RRR and Pushpa: The Rise—Part One, several trade experts sounded the death knell for the Hindi movie industry.

“The July-September quarter surpassed highest expectations, marking a record-breaking period for the industry. We have witnessed a remarkable resurgence in theatres, especially those that were hit hard by covid. The renewed enthusiasm can be attributed to the availability of the right content that has deeply resonated with viewers. Diverse genres and themes attracted a broad spectrum of audiences, ensuring a broader appeal," Devang Sampat, chief executive, Cinepolis India, said.

The current quarter is likely to outshine all others, potentially surpassing the April-June quarter’s earnings by 15-20%, Sampat added.

Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, executive director, PVR Inox Ltd, agreed. He estimates that admissions and Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) for the multiplex chain are almost three times that of an average quarter.

The momentum began with Hollywood films such as Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One, Oppenheimer and Barbie in July, followed by Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, Gadar 2, OMG 2, Dream Girl 2 and now Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan that is set to breach the 500 crore mark. Regional language films like Rajinikanth’s Jailer have also rallied along, Bijli said.

According to estimates by Girish Johar, a film producer, trade and exhibition expert, India’s Hindi-speaking market clocked earnings of 800-820 crore in July-September 2018, 1,135 crore in the same quarter of 2019, and 1,700-1,800 crore this year.

Overall, the first nine months of 2023 seem to be on a par with pre-covid business levels, but it remains to be seen whether the momentum continues till the year-end, thanks to an unusually high number of hits, Johar added.

There are, however, concerns whether the momentum will sustain in the October-December period, which, despite several festive weekends, seems low on the number of mass-market Bollywood offerings.

“The months of August and September have been an exceptional time for the business and cannot be considered the new normal. That said, filmmakers are going back to the drawing board to create visual spectacles as audience palettes have changed. For cinemas, it is problem of plenty now with so many films ready for release," Amit Sharma, managing director, Miraj Cinemas, said. He pointed out that Akshay Kumar’s Mission Raniganj: The Great Bharat Rescue is slated for early October, along with comedy drama Thank You for Coming. The Dussehra weekend is packed with southern films like Leo, Bhagavanth Kesari and Tiger Nageswara Rao, while The Marvels will release along with Tiger 3 for Diwali.

December, meanwhile, will see the release of Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal, biographical drama Sam Bahadur, action film Yodha, an untitled Shahid Kapoor and Kriti Sanon film, and Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi’s Merry Christmas, closing with Dunki and Hollywood film Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom.

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