2023 was best-ever year for Indian cinema

Shah Rukh Khan in Jawan. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Business calculations for Indian cinema, especially Hindi cinema, have always been dicey propositions. And yet, some credibility can be hopefully given for neutral bodies that have their own (trustfully authentic and well-researched) figures let out. And Ormax is one such.

Ormax started in 1985 as a specialist Qualitative Research company, the first of its kind in India. Today Ormax has evolved into a full Consumer Knowledge firm that operates worldwide. It amalgamates decades of experience, knowledge and understanding with the latest concepts in research, bringing a holistic approach to understanding consumers and their relationship with brands.

They state, “It is important to appreciate that all our work is rooted in a direct interaction with the consumer through various research techniques. As, in today’s competitive environment, it is no longer enough to rely on intuition or gut feel alone. The real consumer is frequently (and dangerously), very different from what we think he or she is. An essential and distinctive aspect of our work is that we do not see ourselves as mere suppliers of data but get actively involved in strategy formulation and planning.”

As per their media release, reported by Bollywoodhungama.com, the gross collection figures of Indian cinema for the last nine years are as follows:

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in Pathaan. Photo: Yash Raj Films

India gross box-office in crore:

2015 – Rs. 8,315 cr.

2016 – Rs. 8,649 cr.

2017 – Rs. 9,630 cr.

2018 – Rs. 9,810 cr.

2019 – Rs. 10,948 cr.

2020 – Rs. 2,056 cr.

2021 – Rs. 3,772 cr.

2022 – Rs. 10,637 cr.

2023 – Rs. 12,226 cr.

A study 

The results clearly seem to show that Indian Cinema had its best year in 2023, belying the many prophets of doom, who had predicted that Cinema on big-screen as a community-viewing experience would be dead after the pandemic eased. Obviously, the figures had been alarmingly low during 2020, which saw the bulk of the lockdown, and even 2021, which saw a partial lifting in some parts of the country for short phases.

The point to note here are that these figures apply to Indian cinema and not Hindi alone, with the South chunk (especially Telugu, followed by Tamil) being huge as well, as those films frequently equal or often surpass all-India collections of Hindi cinema. Another fact: these are gross figures, which mean theatrical incomes, and so they do not take into account revenues from streaming and satellite rights et al or overseas collections, which may not be synchronous with Indian ones.

Also, no allowance is made for increased admission rates and the discrepancy between single-screens and multiplexes, small towns and metros and so on, apart from the omnipresent inflation.

However, what is more significant, relevant and important is that the value of Rs. 100 in 2015 was Rs. 150 in 2023 as per inflation calculators. And by those standards, the value of Rs, 8,315 crore then is equal to Rs. 12, 473 crore in 2023! And this, in the final analysis, means that recovery is almost complete but there is no actual improvement!!

Having said that, since 2015 itself, some South films and some Hindi films have shown mammoth collections. Wikipedia presents the following highest domestic earners in South films:

1        Bahubali 2: The Conclusion  Rs.1,811 crore Telugu / 2017

2        RRR   Rs.1,387 crore  Telugu / 2022

3        KGF: Chapter 2  Rs.1,200–1,250 crore  Kannada / 2022

4        Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire  Rs. 715 crore  Telugu / 2023

5        2.0  Rs. 699.89 crore  Tamil / 2018

6        Jailer Rs. 607–610 crore            Tamil / 2023

7        Bahubali: The Beginning   Rs. 600–650 crore  Telugu / 2015

8        Leo  Rs. 595–620.50 crore  Tamil / 2023

9        Ponniyin Selvan: I Rs. 450–500 crore          Tamil / 2022

10      Vikram   Rs. 435–500 crore  Tamil / 2022

11      Saaho          Rs. 419–439 crore            Telugu / 2019

12      Kantara Rs. 393–450 crore   Kannada / 2022

13      Pushpa: The Rise—Part 1 Rs. 365–373 crore  Telugu / 2021

14      Adipurush   Rs. 353–450 crore  Telugu / 2023

15      Ponniyin Selvan: II   Rs. 350 crore  Tamil / 2023

16      Enthiran   Rs. 320 crore   Tamil          / Way back in 2010

17      Kabali  Rs. 305 crore   Tamil / 2016

In Hindi cinema, sadly, the worldwide box-office figures are more readily available instead of Indian, and so we must consider the highest nett collections, which include the 500-crore club of Pathaan, Jawan, Gadar 2 and Animal (as reported in 2023), Bahubali2—The Conclusion, which collected Rs. 510 in Hindi alone in 2017, followed by Dangal, Tiger Zinda Hai, Sultan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, PK, Sanju and Padmaavat, all of which netted above Rs. 300 crore between 2015 and 2019 and so had much higher Indian gross collections.

Quotes Bollywoodhungama, “These numbers (in 2023) were possible mainly as Hindi cinema bounced back with a bang. Shah Rukh Khan starrers Pathaan and Jawan, Sunny Deol starrer Gadar 2 and Ranbir Kapoor starrer Animal were huge blockbusters as their collections exceeded expectations. Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire was the biggest Telugu hit while Leo and Jailer were the biggest grossers in Tamil cinema. These 7 films contributed nearly 30 percent of the total domestic collections of all films of Indian cinema in 2023.”

Last but not least, we sincerely hope that similar figures will be attained in 2024. As of now, Fighter is no longer proving a hit proposition. So we can only pray for a figure that is not just more but also higher considering the vital aspect of inflation. And that means a minimum Rs. 13,000 crore!







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