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First half of 2022 sees highest box office revenue in last 5 years, driven by RRR, KGF 2

Big ventures like RRR and KGF: Chapter 2 raked in Rs 902 crore and Rs 1,000 crore at the domestic box office, becoming the highest grossers of 2022 so far, and also helped in taking the contribution of films from the south to 50 percent in the overall revenue pie.

July 04, 2022 / 07:07 PM IST
Representative image.

Representative image.

After being battered by COVID-19 with pickings falling three to fourfold in the last two years, India’s box office revenue has picked up pace and surpassed pre-COVID levels in the first half of 2022.

In the January to June period of 2022, films in India collected Rs 5,565 crore at the box office, up from Rs 4,717 crore in 2018, said Gautam Jain, partner, Ormax Media, a media consulting firm.

He noted that the first six months of 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels have been the highest ever, driven by the contribution from Alia Bhatt, Ram Charan and Jr NTR-starrer RRR and Kannada superstar Yash’s KGF: Chapter 2.

Domestic box office collections in the first six months of 2019 had reached Rs 5,153 crore but dropped to Rs 1,992 crore in H1 2020 and Rs 1,331 crore in H1 2021 due to closure of theatres because of the pandemic.

“Big-scale spectacles are getting audiences back to theatres. Also, franchises, especially big star-cast-led films, will become a necessity for filmmakers across languages. Creation of the universe of characters would take precedence over standalone films,” said Jain.

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If we look at Hollywood ventures in India this year, out of the Rs 393.3 box office collection in the first half of 2022, 80 percent came from the top three films, pointed out Jain.

“Only tent-pole Hollywood films have seen a good run at the box office including Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Jurassic World Dominion.

He added that films that have worked either in Hindi or other languages fall into two categories. “They are either global in their appeal like RRR or KGF or they are hyper-local like (Telugu films) Jathi Ratnalu, DJ Tillu.”

Big ventures like RRR and KGF: Chapter 2 raked in Rs 902 crore and Rs 1,000 crore at the domestic box office, becoming the highest grossers of 2022 so far, and also helped in taking the contribution of films from the south to 50 percent in the overall revenue pie.

In the first six months of 2022, the Hindi film industry recorded a share of 34 percent, Telugu 26 percent and Tamil 16 percent. The top three industries in terms of box office contribution were followed by Kannada with 8 percent and Hollywood with 7 percent share, said Jain.

Clearly, while the south-based film industry has gained growth momentum, Bollywood’s share has seen a dip.

“In the first six months of the year, Hindi language’s share of the domestic gross box office stands at about 35 percent, down from 44 percent in the pre-pandemic year (2019), but up from 27 percent in the two pandemic years put together (2020-21),” noted Jain. But he added that the twist in the tale is that 43 percent of the Hindi box office in January-June 2022 came from south Indian films dubbed into Hindi.

“Till now, because of RRR, KGF: Chapter 2, Gangubai Kathiawadi, The Kashmir Files and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, we have managed around Rs 2,000 crore, a 25-30 percent shortfall versus pre-COVID level as the industry was clocking upwards of Rs 2,500 crore pre-pandemic. While it is a healthy sign, the Hindi film sector needs more months to come to stability," said film producer and trade business analyst Girish Johar.

He added that for the south movie industry the growth percentage is better as both big and smaller films did well. "They have come to stability faster than the Hindi market,” he said.

Even in 2021, the Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam film industries had contributed 60 percent to the overall box office pie with collections to the tune of Rs 2,250 crore out of the entire year’s revenue of Rs 3,700 crore. On the other hand, Bollywood brought in Rs 700 crore.

“While streaming platforms grew at a brisk pace, the exhibition sector had a setback of two years because of the pandemic’s impact on cinemas. When cinemas reopened, the content was old for Hindi cinema audiences who couldn’t resonate with the films. This is why certain films could not even make a start at the box office, and others saw a drastic fall," added Johar.

"And for Hindi language films, the major cities like Delhi and Mumbai took more time than others to restart as compared to south markets which were mostly open in the last two years. So, the pressure was more for Hindi language films. In addition, big films were stuck and this backfired,” he said.

But in the second half, he said, Hindi films will start picking up pace. “For south films going forward, the growth momentum will not be the same because Hindi films will change gears with big releases,” said Johar.

“There are many big Hindi films lined up for release for the second half including Shamshera, Brahasmtra, Laal Singh Chaddha, Vikram Vedha and Cirkus, among others. One hopes these films will continue to get audiences back to the theatre in large numbers to make this one of the biggest years for Hindi films,” said Jain.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Jul 4, 2022 07:07 pm
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