With the completion of the first half of 2019, the Hindi film industry has recorded a decent growth in terms of its box office collection. Buoyed by films like Uri: The Surgical Strike, Bharat, Gully Boy, Kabir Singh, Kesari and Total Dhamaal among others, the collections witnessed a 10-12% growth from Rs 2200 crores earned in the first six months of 2018.
Film trade analyst Girish Johar said, “Last year, in the first six months, we roughly recorded a collection of Rs 2200 crores, and this time we have collected roughly around Rs 2400 crores. So, it’s a 10-12% increment which nonetheless is good but I was expecting at least 15-20 per cent growth because of the kind of releases we had. It’s an optimistic growth but I am doubly optimistic about the second half of the year.”
The year started on a high with Vicky Kaushal starrer Uri: The Surgical Strike’s double century (Rs 245.36 crore) which was followed up by hits like Gully Boy (Rs 140.25 crore), Total Dhamaal (Rs 154.23 crore), Manikarnika (Rs 92.19 crore), Luka Chuppi (Rs 94.75 crore) and Kesari (Rs 154.41 crore) in the first quarter.
Later, Salman Khan starrer Bharat’s Rs 210.68 crore, De De Pyaar De’s Rs 103.19 crore and Kabir Singh’s Rs 190.64 crore (still running) added to the first half of 2019’s collections.
The total earnings of the first half of the year has shown audience’s interest in going to the theaters, their inclination towards good content and the willingness to watch their favourite stars on the 70mm screen. Despite a few reports about the era of superstars coming to an end, the latest box office trend suggests otherwise.
Stating his observations from the half yearly box office collection, Girish said, “Audience wants reasonable ticket prices. They want good content, and they are willing to watch the stars. It is not like the era of stars is gone, take for example Total Dhamaal and Bharat. Both the films had a great opening and it is the content which gave them their final BO numbers. So, the star has to provide the content which the audience thinks is right for his image. Salman’s Dabangg 3 may have even a bigger number.”
He added, “Earlier it was the star on the top of audiences priority but now it is the content. It’s like how people earlier used to associate Aamir Khan with good films, now they have started expecting something similar from Ayushmann Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal. Actors have started making smart choices as well.”
Meanwhile, the contribution of hits like Avengers Endgame (Rs 373.22 crore) and Captain Marvel (Rs 84.36 crore) to the total collection of the first half of the year has proved how Hollywood has emerged as a bigger player in the Indian market. “Earlier, we only used to see which Hollywood film is releasing. Hollywood is on an upswing and is giving a tough competition to Bollywood,” asserted Girish.
When asked if a boom in the OTT space is affecting the box office figures, Girish said, “With OTT, there is so much content consumption happening. It has become difficult to lure the audience but the one who passes the test gets good numbers. Now the competition for quality content has increased but otherwise in terms of numbers, OTT hasn’t affected the box office.”
Now, the second half of 2019 will see the release of films like Super 30, Saaho, Mission Mangal, Dabangg 3, Housefull 4 and The Sky Is Pink which are expected to set the cash registers ringing.