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Box office hits record Rs 1,500 cr in March; April likely to be as good

Based on the trends in March and April, Gianchandani said the industry expected FY23 to be the best year for it 'ever' with overall revenues expected to hit Rs 14,500-Rs 15,500 crore

Topics
Indian Box Office | Box office | PVR

Surajeet Das Gupta  |  New Delhi 

Have Salman, Shah Rukh lost their mojo at box-office?
Gianchandani said the best year for the industry was in pre-Covid FY20 when it hit Rs 12,000 crore in box office revenues.

After being battered by the pandemic, it has been a record month for multiplex theatre operators. The Multiplex Association of India (MAI), the apex body for the industry, revealed that it has made Rs 1,500 crore in revenues in March, its best performance in a month ever (the best earlier was Rs 1,200 crore).

The final numbers for April are still being collated but they are expected to remain at the same level as March owing to pent-up demand. The industry believes it is now poised to hit revenues of Rs 15,500 crore in FY23, beating its peak performance just before the pandemic in FY20.

Kamal Gianchandani, president of the association and also head of business strategy and planning for Ltd, was pleased with the results. “With all screens open and no government restriction in capacity and with movie-goers coming back in huge numbers, this March has been a record year for the industry,” he said.

Based on the trends in March and April, Gianchandani said the industry expected FY23 to be the best year for it “ever” with overall revenues expected to hit Rs 14,500-Rs 15,500 crore.

Industry estimates suggest that multiplex owners control around 3,000 screens, some of which had closed down or changed hands during the pandemic. It is not clear how much of the 350-400 new screen capacity, which was shelved or was in various stages of completion, has come back to the market.

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Also, just a few months ago, and declared that they were merging to become a 1,500-plus screen behemoth, with nearly half of the total multiplex screens in the country.

Gianchandani said the best year for the industry was in pre-Covid FY20 when it hit Rs 12,000 crore in revenues. Then, with the pandemic forcing theatres to close and leading to a sharp fall in new movie releases, box office revenues for multiplex owners fell precipitously to Rs 3,000 crore, a fourth of the previous financial year.

Revenues were expected to bounce back in FY22, despite the second Covid wave. Hopes were raised with the success of Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi last November, Maharashtra re-opening cinemas, albeit with capacity restrictions (35 per cent of box office revenues come from this state), and a healthy pipeline of 25-30 blockbusters ready to be released.

Yet, with the third wave of the pandemic hitting India in January, the expected growth did not happen. Box office revenues ended at around Rs 4,500-Rs 5,000 crore, even after a big March performance.

MAI lists three reasons why box office collections are up: all screens are up and running; ticket prices have increased by around 20 per cent after a hiatus of over 22 months (the last price hike was in January 2019); and, despite the hike, capacity utilisation in movie screens has gone up by 6-7 per cent over FY20.

In addition, many of the movies, such as Kashmir Files (released in March) and Gangubai Kathiawadi (February) hit the jackpot. There was also RRR (March), which was dubbed in Hindi and which touched Rs 1,133 crore in revenue across all languages.

The trend continued in April, with KGF2 (which was also dubbed in Hindi) alone making Rs 1,185 crore across all languages in the domestic box office.

Multiplexes, which are language-agnostic, get a substantial share of revenues not only from Hindi films but also from movies in other languages.

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First Published: Wed, May 18 2022. 23:51 IST
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