The Hindi film industry has faced massive losses in the past couple of years. The business was booming back in 2019 and there was growth at the box-office with every passing year. However, when the pandemic hit, and the lockdown was announced on this very date two years back, everything got shattered and the business was brought down to bits.
As the film industry completes two years of the very first Covid lockdown, let’s glance at how much losses have been faced by the film industry and the theatre business.
“If you think of the box-office, there has been a growth every year before the lockdown. The 2019 box-office was 4400 crores, the 2018 box-office was 3300 crores, the 2017 box-office was 3000 crores. So, the average business was growing year after year. But in 2020, the business received a massive hit. The first 3 months itself had ‘Tanhaji’, ‘Baaghi 3’ and a few others and they did good business. But when the theatres opened up in October 2020, there was no business at all. In 2020 the total box-office was just 650 crores. In 2021, the box-office was just around 450-500 crores. This was the overall Hindi theatre business,” says Trade Expert Atul Mohan.
Speaking of the restrictions that have been levied all through, Mohan reveals, “It was just last month that the theatres were opened up with ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’. A lot of places theatres were shut for almost the entire duration, and finally, they’re getting back to normalcy. There had been a few releases here and there in the middle, but in most of the states it was either shut or opened up in limited capacity.”
Talking about the same trade Expert Taran Adarsh says, “The business has not at all recovered. You cannot recover the losses of two years in just 2-3 months. It’s not possible. The films have been delayed. The theatres had been shut and everything came to a standstill. So, obviously, it’s not going to be easy.”
“In 2022, the business has seen around 380-390 Crores in just these two-three months. ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ and ‘The Kashmir Files’ are pretty much the only two that have contributed to this figure. Even ‘RRR’ you shouldn’t ideally calculate as it’s a south film basically, and we can’t take it in Hindi. Even ‘Pushpa’ and ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ we can’t calculate as they were not Hindi films. They all fall in the dubbed category. The problem is also that the ticket prices are high now and audiences know that in three or four weeks, the movie will come on Amazon Prime or Netflix, etc, so why would one spend that much money? If they’ve waited for so long, why not wait for another few days,” says Mohan talking about the current scenario.
And what does the future behold? “The lineup of films is great. From what it can be seen on the outset, it feels like the year should end at 2000-2500 crores,” adds Mohan.
“It’s going to take time. It’s going to happen slowly slowly. With many films doing well, the future looks bright,” concludes Adarsh.
With big films like 'RRR' having been released today and a flurry of releases happening in the coming weeks, the film industry is definitely hoping to see brighter days ahead.