Bollywood movies: one blockbuster a month is the hero India’s film industry needs to free itself from the clutches of villains

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Mega merger PVR INOX is awaiting the green light from shareholders next month to create the largest multiplex chain in the country, but more than that, what the industry needs right now may be at least one blockbuster per month to reclaim audiences, who have angered recent flawed stories telling movies especially in Hindi and high costs in cinemas opted to stay home with quality content on OTTs.

“It’s very important that a blockbuster is there every month. There are four weeks you would need to fill in terms of occupancy at least more than 25% to 30% for a very good number,” Abneesh Roy, Director executive, Edelweiss Securities, told ET Now.

Multiplexes need a good movie every month for the industry to do well, but that hasn’t been the case in recent months, he added.

The flop show

In a recent report, SBI said it believes all Bollywood needs is just one blockbuster that could dull the pain of a series of flops which several experts attribute to a combination of factors including growing disconnect. industry with the masses, lack of creativity, flawed storytelling, too much emphasis on stars, and calls for boycotts against stars and movies.

Of Bollywood’s 26 releases this year, 20 – or 77% – were flops, defined as losing half or more of their investment, according to website Koimoi, which tracks industry data. That’s about double the failure rate of 39% in 2019, before the pandemic forced hundreds of millions of Indians weaned themselves from cinemas, for decades Bollywood’s bastion and main source of income. .

Against 70 to 80 films released annually in Hindi language and a collection between Rs 3,000 and 5,500 crore, 61 films have been released since January last year till August 11 in Hindi, including original and southern films or English dubbed into Hindi. They collected just Rs 3,200 crore, 48% of which came from 18 dubbed films, the report says citing data from Koimoi.com.

Roy said that the last major Hindi film was The Kashmir Files and despite having star cast, many films failed to be hits.

Buy entertainment

“This type of consumer behavior is seen when a customer goes there, spends a lot of money, and the content doesn’t click with them. Then they decided to only go back when they were sure about the content” , added Roy.

What Roy ponders is the thought of any consumer looking to get the best return on their money invested in good entertainment. It’s sacrosanct from the perspective of any consumer, whether it’s good food in a restaurant or movies, something Bollywood has largely failed to deliver at a time when the industry was looking for a rope to get out of the pandemic blues.

Tickets at multiplexes even sell for over Rs 2,000 per person for a premium experience. For example, a ticket for Brahmastra in 3D at Delhi’s Ambience Mall PVR for Saturday night is priced at Rs 2,200. Inox Leisure sells Insignia tickets for the film at around Rs 1,650 per seat. Even for the non-premium segment, ticket prices can go up to Rs 1,000 per seat. Add to that the inflated prices of popcorn and cola if one wants to buy them.

Unlike a 5-7% increase in ticket prices each year, the PVR has increased ticket prices this year by up to 23% due to inflation, labor costs and costs. of redevelopment. Multiplexes are also increasingly dependent on advertising revenue. PVR CEO Gautam Dutta had told ET that they air 16-18 minutes of advertising.

Ramesh Sippy, the director of Sholay, which is still considered one of the biggest blockbusters in Bollywood history, told Mint years ago that in the past most viewers paid a minimum amount for movies. seats and made the most of the cinema. But, in the multiplex, the cinema has completely lost this audience partly because they simply cannot afford it or because they can watch it on their mobile or on pirated platforms.

Faulty movie content


Roy from Edelweiss pointed out that since many films weren’t released during Covid, some content is old. Rusty content won’t work for audiences who have benefited from better content in foreign and regional films at the galloping pace of OTT adoption.

The average rating for Hindi films since January last year is 5.9, compared to 7.3 for the 18 dubbed films. An additional IMDB rating leads to Rs 17 crore more collections, according to SBI.

Course correction occurs in terms of content. Now producers and writers are coming back to the table in terms of what the client wants. Hopefully we’ll see better movies, Roy said.

A difficult Q2 and a long way to go

There is short-term concern over how the fiscal second quarter numbers for multiplexes and the industry will turn out, as the first two months have been “very difficult”, he said.

The street will have to review the numbers for the second quarter, while waiting for Brahmastra’s trade figures which were released yesterday and which were touted as a possible game changer to break the curse of Bollywood.

“There will be a downsizing because the first two months of the second quarter were weak. If Brahmastra is also weak, then maybe the second quarter definitely looks weak,” he said. “But in terms of festive spending, we’re quite optimistic and Vikram Vedha is definitely ahead of the festive season. In the second half, we have a good lineup of movies.”

Nonetheless, whether it’s an industry player or a movie buff, everyone will want the blockbusters to return in a heroic avatar. Everyone will want to visit the giant screen and savor the experience of the story being told – whether it’s something like Masaan or Rank of Basanti that can leave you sitting and pondering even after the movie is over, or be it family dramas or even Dabangg which will naturally prompt the
seetis, taalis and crazy dance steps in front of enigmatic screens.

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