Telugu films are turning out to be the Baahubali of the Indian film industry. So much so, that industry insiders say that soon Tamil and Telugu industry will be bigger than Bollywood.
Over the years, the Telugu film industry has been on a high growth trajectory. This year is turning out to be a landmark year for Telugu films, especially in the overseas market.
The power of Telugu films is rising in India as well as abroad. Their global footprint is expanding in newer markets. Earlier this year, two Telugu films, BharatAneNenu and Rangasthalam, created ripples in the overseas market.
The two films entered the top five list of opening weekend grossers in Australia. While BharatAneNenu added Rs 1.72 crore (A$ 339,133), Rangasthalam earned Rs 1.47 crore (A$ 289,768) in the country.
Currently, AravindhaSametha is storming both the US and Australia. It has hit the $2 million (Rs 14.49 crore) mark in the US. The film emerged as the first choice of movie-goers in Australia and earned Rs 1.50 crore in the opening weekend.
The three Telugu releases, Rangasthalam, BharatAneNenu and AravindhaSametha grossed higher numbers than most Indian imports in Australia in 2018, including Hindi and Punjabi movies.
The Baahubali series has been a game changer for the film industry, particularly Telugu films. Baahubali: The Beginning and Srimanthudu earned around Rs 41.9crore and Rs 18.8 crore respectively in the overseas markets.
After the success of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion another lucrative market opened up for well-made Telugu films – Australia. They are being welcomed with open arms and are making it to the Top-10 charts in the country.
At times, Telugu films have outdone their Bollywood counterparts like action drama Jai Lava Kusa. The film had collected close to $1.39 million (Rs 10.17 crore) in 2017, over a five-day opening weekend in the US, compared to Sanjay Dutt-starrer Bhoomi, which managed USD 200,000 (Rs 1.46 crore).
In 2016, top 10 Telugu movies garnered nearly 13 percent higher revenue compared to the previous year in the overseas market, said a 2017 KPMG report.
The US contributes 85 percent of the overseas revenue and 5-10 percent of overall box office collections. The large Telugu-speaking population in the US, mainly in the 35-40 age group, has contributed to this share, the report added.
In addition, Indo-Americans represent one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in North America, with the latest census data showing a 69.4 percent increase in their numbers between 2000 and 2010, and similar growth patterns in Canada, an EY 2018 report has said.
As a whole, they tend to be extraordinarily avid consumers of films compared to the general population, with per capita film ticket purchases 50 percent higher than average. At any given time over 1,000 film screens in the territory may be dedicated to showing Indian films.
Telugu cinema in the US is driven by mainstream family entertainers and star-driven commercial movies. A big Telugu movie gets a similar screen count as a Hindi movie, around 300-400 cinemas.
In 2016, a KPMG report had said that the Tamil and Telugu film industries shall soon surpass Bollywood in terms of the share of box office collections by language.