Home / Industry / Media /  Theatres hope festive season big-ticket movies will drive recovery

NEW DELHI : The exhibition sector is hopeful that a bunch of upcoming big-ticket movies in the festival season will revive fortunes, after serial box office bombs during the year that made the film industry reconsider tried and tested ways.

Traditionally, the third quarter of the year is lucrative for theatres, with box office collections of 2,200-2,500 crore across languages. With films like Chiranjeevi’s Godfather, Salman Khan’s Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, Rohit Sherry’s Cirkus and Hollywood films Black Panther and Avatar: The Way of Water headed for theatres, multiplex operators said they are looking to the festive period to bring back audiences and sustain similar revenues.

“The October to December quarter is the most prolific for the movie entertainment industry each year, with the universality of festivals being the cornerstone for box office success. Some of the best films across languages and geographies are released around this time," said Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer, cinemas at ticketing site BookMyShow.

“We are expecting a strong box office performance in this period this year too. In line with the current trend, we foresee this festive season crossing benchmarks achieved in the past few years, especially 2019," said Saksena.

School and college breaks also create opportunity for families to come to theatres together, he added.

In 2019, the festive quarter had seen big-ticket Bollywood films such as War, Housefull 4 and Good Newwz besides surprise hits like Bala, Marjaavaan and Pati Patni Aur Woh, recalled Rajendar Singh Jyala, chief programming officer at INOX Leisure Ltd.

Apart from the big-ticket movies, this season will also see smaller scale films like Ajay Devgn and Sidharth Malhotra-starrer Thank God, Ayushmann Khurrana’s Doctor G, Sooraj Barjatya directed Uunchai featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Varun Dhawan’s horror comedy Bhediya, he said. “If there’s a deficit, we’re expecting Hollywood to make up for it, with Avatar, Black Panther and Black Adam," Jyala said.

Agreeing that Avatar: The Way of Water could arguably be the biggest Hollywood movie of the year, Devang Sampat, chief executive officer, Cinepolis India expects Hollywood’s contribution to increase this quarter compared to the past nine months of 2022.

Independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said Hollywood has a big advantage with a strong hold in the five states. “Also, American films go beyond just top cities like Chennai and Bengaluru," he added.

The festive cheer could kick in as soon as this weekend with the release of Mani Ratnam’s period drama Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 in multiple languages and Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan’s Vikram Vedha. The two are estimated to make 25 crore and 15 crore on day one respectively, according to estimates by Karan Taurani, senior vice-president at Elara Capital Ltd.

“Hindi box office has reported a dip of 20% versus pre-covid levels in the first half of FY23. Some respite is expected in the third quarter (of FY23) on account of the festive season and large-scale releases," said Taurani adding that while overall net box office could grow 10% versus pre-covid levels in the coming quarter, Hindi film revenue will decline 5% versus pre-covid in FY23.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lata Jha

Lata Jha covers media and entertainment for Mint. She focuses on the film, television, video and audio streaming businesses. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She can be found at the movies, when not writing about them.
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