The Indian film segment grew 27% in 2017 due to a combination of high growth in overseas theatrical releases (particularly in China), growth in satellite rights values and domestic box office collections. All sub-segments, with the exception of home video grew and the film segment reached Rs 156 billion in 2017.
According to the latest FICCI-EY report, ‘Re-imagining India's M&E sector’, the growth would be 18% if global theatrical revenues are restated based on what the Indian studios earned, and not at gross box office values.
“While the overall growth in films is promising, it is not a linear business, and depends heavily on the number and type of releases. In 2017, growth was narrow - it was due to select movies like Baahubali and Dangal driving growth in both domestic and international markets,” the report said.
Though the success of Baahubali may result in increased focus on high budget and regional movies in years to come, the domestic box office collections also need to support such higher investments.
According to the report despite comprising only 17% of the films made in the country, Bollywood contributes almost 40% of the net box office collections annually. Films in 29 other Indian languages account for approximately 75% of the films released but they contribute approximately 50% to the annual domestic box office collections. Hollywood and international films comprise the balance.
In 2017, nine films joined the Rs1 billion club, the biggest grosser for the year was Baahubali 2: The Conclusion which was a Tamil-Telugu bilingual dubbed in Hindi. This film emerged as one of the greatest blockbusters of all time selling 52.5 million tickets at the box office for its Hindi language release. Tiger Zinda Hai, Golmaal Again, Judwaa 2, Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Fukrey Returns and Badrinath Ki Dulhania were the big hits for bollywood in 20172.
The top 50 films contributed approximately 97.75 per cent of the total net box office collection while box office collections of the top 50 films grew by 11.60% in 2017. Further, the number of films crossing the Rs 1 billion mark in terms of net box office has also increased in the year 2017 as compared to the previous years.
Bollywood stories aside regional cinema too left a mark in 2017. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion didn’t just bring in great numbers to the box office but also took regional cinema to new heights in 2017. The Telugu film segment clocked a 47% growth. Backed by Baahubali, Telegu film’s net domestic collection in 2017 was Rs 15.33 billion, up from Rs10.42 billion in 2016.
Online ticketing platform BookMyShow reported average occupancy of 45-46% for regional films last year, compared to around 39-40% in 2016. Within the regional space, Gujarati films registered a 44% increase over 2016 in terms of transactions on the site, followed by Malayalam films registering a 38% rise. Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi cinema in particular have been known to for their keen focus on content-driven cinema and they did not disappoint this year as well. A very significant revenue for the regional language films, with the exception of Tamil and Telugu to some extent, still accrues from theatrical window while the growth of vernacular television and OTT make incremental contributions.
The box office collections of Hollywood (inclusive of all the Indian language dubbed versions) in India remained stagnant in 2017, totalling Rs 8.01 billion, as against Rs 7.95 billion in 2016. This comprises around 13% of the total theatrical box office. After three consecutive years of healthy growth since 2013, Hollywood footfalls in India remained stagnant at 75 million last year, marginally down from 78 million in 2016.