Home >Industry >Media >For Bollywood, 2019 is a blockbuster year

New Delhi: India’s Hindi movie industry has notched up box-office revenue of 3,700-3,800 crore in the first three quarters of 2019, seemingly unaffected by the slowdown that has hit other parts of the economy.

This is a huge increase from the 3,000 crore generated in the first three quarters of 2018, according to film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar.

Thirteen films have crossed the 100-crore mark at the box office so far in 2019 compared with the 10 that made the cut in the year earlier.

At this rate, Bollywood’s box-office collections are expected to be at least 20% more than the previous year.

With domestic box-office collections of 276.34 crore, controversial romantic drama Kabir Singh is the highest grosser so far, followed by war film Uri: The Surgical Strike ( 244 crore), Salman Khan’s Bharat ( 197.34 crore), Akshay Kumar’s Mission Mangal ( 192.73 crore), and ensemble comedy Total Dhamaal ( 150 crore). Besides, a bunch of smaller, content-driven offerings such as Gully Boy ( 134 crore), Chhichhore ( 139 crore), and Dream Girl ( 123 crore), also made it to the 100-crore club.

While the entertainment industry is thought to be recession-proof, more deterioration in consumer sentiment may result in people choosing to stream content at home rather than watch movies at a theatre, a relatively more expensive proposition.

(Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint)
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(Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint)

“People are probably watching more movies to escape the challenges of an economic slowdown. Plus, it’s not just about big stars and their occasional outings anymore. Small-budget films too are doing better than expected now," said Devang Sampat, deputy CEO, Cinepolis India.

Each quarter is now throwing up several festive holiday weekends and opportunities to capitalize on them, Sampat added. The Indian audience is now receptive to occasions such as Republic Day, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, and Christmas, unlike the traditional Eid and Diwali dates previously.

To be sure, the movie business is bringing great returns globally as well. Walt Disney alone made $2.79 billion this summer, which outshines its $2.713 billion gross in 2018, according to a Forbes report. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. too pulled in $704.4 million, a huge jump from 2018’s $402.6 million earnings.

Interestingly, Bollywood had managed to trump the recession of 2008 as well, registering a 7.69% growth in revenue over the past year, total gross earnings of 1,608.05 crore and blockbusters like Ghajini ( 114 crore) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi ( 84.68 crore), according to data from trade website Box Office India.

The best has truly been reserved for the last, said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. The final quarter of 2019 will see nearly eight big-ticket releases and a host of smaller films vying for the attention of audiences in theatres with a combined 1,000 crore riding on them. These will try and capitalize on the three big festivals of Dussehra, Diwali and Christmas.

Action drama War, produced by Yash Raj Films and starring Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff, which was released on Wednesday, will be followed by director Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink featuring Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, and Zaira Wasim later in October. The big Diwali weekend will see no less than three releases—Rajkummar Rao and Mouni Roy’s comedy Made In China, Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar’s sports drama Saand Ki Aankh, and ensemble comedy Housefull 4 starring Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, Pooja Hegde, and Kriti Kharbanda.

November will bring action drama Marjaavaan starring Sidharth Malhotra, Riteish Deshmukh, and Tara Sutaria, satirical black comedy Bala featuring Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar, Dil Bechara, a Hindi adaptation of the popular film and novel, The Fault in Our Stars, starring Sushant Singh Rajput, and Jawaani Jaaneman with Saif Ali Khan and Tabu in the lead roles.

December will see the release of Ashutosh Gowariker’s period drama Panipat starring Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Kriti Sanon, romantic comedy Pati, Patni Aur Woh, a remake of the 1978 film with the same name, starring Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar, and Ananya Panday, and Rani Mukerji-starrer Mardaani 2.

The year will end with Salman Khan’s Dabangg 3 for the Christmas weekend, and romantic comedy Good Newwz, starring Akshay Kumar, Diljit Dosanjh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Kiara Advani.

“The year has been fantastic so far, and the audiences have shown that you cannot take them for granted. We’re expecting 2019 to end with a bang. It has the potential to be one of the best years of all time," Johar said.

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