After a long dry spell, theatres now have a calendar full of releases, including big Bollywood ventures, which will hit the screen soon.
Theatrical release of around 17 Bollywood films has been announced so far, including big ventures like Ranveer Singh's 83 and Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Akshay Kumar's Bell Bottom, Ranbir Kapoor's Shamshera, and Ajay Devgn's Maidaan.
It was Yash Raj Films that first came out with its release calendar for 2021, giving exhibitors a big relief.
Theatre owners have been struggling for content after reopening in October last year.
Theatres in the country had shut shop due to coronavirus-led lockdown in March last year and were allowed to open from October 2020.
While a few Hollywood and regional films did help bring audience back to theatres, exhibitors have been eagerly waiting for Bollywood films as Hindi films contribute 60 percent to overall box-office business.
And now with a mix of Hollywood, Bollywood, and regional films, Karan Taurani, Vice-President, Elara Capital, estimates that FY22 will see highest number of Rs 100 crore films.
Ranveer Singh alone is expected to contribute around Rs 400 crore with his ventures 83 and Jayeshbhai Jordaar expected to do a business of Rs 250 crore and Rs 170 crore, respectively.
Other big star-led ventures like Salman Khan's Radhe, Ranbir Kapoor's Shamshera and Ajay Devgn's Maidaan are expected to add Rs 175 crore, Rs 135 crore, and Rs 110 crore, respectively to overall India box-office business this year.
It wouldn't be a tall ask for the big Bollywood ventures to do business of over Rs 100 crore considering the improvement in number of Indians going to theatres.
Despite the restrictions, theatres saw a jump in number of people going to theatres from five percent in November-December last year to 23 percent in January this year, according to a recently released Elara Capital report.
In addition, big Hollywood and regional ventures that released in the last few months have performed well at the box office despite the 50 percent capacity in theatres.
When theatres had reopened in October last year they were permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity which proved to be a big challenge for many exhibitors.
Yet, films like south superstar Vijay's Master, Telugu films Krack and Red, Hollywood offerings Wonder Woman 1984 and Tenet minted Rs 1,945 crore, Rs 600 crore, Rs 300 crore, Rs 130 and Rs 106 crore, respectively.
And now with the Ministry of Home Affairs allowing theatres to operate at full capacity from February 2021 onwards, box office business is expected to get a big boost.
So far, seven states (Delhi, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat) have allowed theatres to operate at full capacity.
There is no denying that tables are turning in favor of cinemas. In fact, Taurani believes that FY22 could be one of the best years for cinema.