Indian box office scripts a blockbuster in 2022, rakes in over Rs 10,000 crore

Box-office receipts in India surpassed ₹10,000 crore in 2022, amounting to the second highest ever as filmgoers flocked to cinema halls with the easing of the Covid pandemic and potentially setting the stage for a record collection this year.

The gross box-office collection of ₹10,637 crore, according to a GroupM-Ormax Media report, was next only to ₹10,948 crore in the pre-pandemic 2019 and despite fewer than usual big-ticket releases by the Hindi film industry and theatre shutdowns in many parts of the country in January and February last year, said analysts.

Ormax Media CEO Shailesh Kapoor said 2023 looks even more promising given that the content pipeline for domestic and Hollywood films has streamlined after two years of Covid-19-led disruptions.

“2023 could be the best year ever for the film industry due to a strong content line-up across Hollywood, Bollywood and regional cinema,” Kapoor said.

‘Could Hit ₹11,000-12,000 crore this year’
Kapoor added that the box-office collection could hit Rs 11,000-12,000 crore this year.GroupM-owned Interactive Television managing director Ajay Mehta said, “Definitely, 2023 has the potential to become the biggest year in terms of box-office collection on the back of a strong content slate. The fact that audiences are receptive to south Indian films that are dubbed in Hindi is an encouraging sign for the industry.”Junglee Pictures CEO Amrita Pandey said four key trends emerged in 2022 in the Hindi film industry. “Movies across genres have done phenomenally well in theatres. The focus has shifted from star-driven system to content-driven system. Trailers need to be fully authentic and true to the movie. The box office has been super polarised with a few Hindi movies that got big theatrical admissions have done spectacular business and the other movies have all seen underwhelming admissions,” she said.

Hindi films had a 33% share of the box office in 2022, according to the report, followed by Telugu (20%) and Tamil (16%). K.G.F: Chapter 2 topped charts with a box-office collection of Rs 970 crore, followed by RRR (Rs 869 crore) and Avatar: The Way of Water (Rs 471 crore).

The report highlighted that Hindi and Hollywood films underperformed in 2022 compared to 2019 even as the four southern film industries surpassed their 2019 collections, led by Telugu and Kannada films.

Hindi films saw a 27% decline in box-office collections, compared with 2019, to Rs 3,513 crore, whereas Telugu and Tamil box office collections jumped 53% and 18% to Rs 2,145 crore and Rs 1,724 crore, respectively.

Kapoor attributed the drop in collection for Hindi films to fewer mega releases in 2022 than in a normal year. “Disruption in flow of Hindi film releases is reflected in footfall and box-office collection,” he said, adding that recovery in business was still strong considering the talk about the impact of over-the-top (OTT) platforms on cinema.

Mehta said 2022 would have been the biggest year at the box office had it not been for the closure of theatres in the first two months of the year. “If you look at box-office numbers for 10 months and pro-rate it for 12 months, it would have been a bigger year than 2019,” he said.

Both Kapoor and Mehta asserted that cinema clearly asserted its pre-eminent position despite the onslaught of OTT platforms.

Mehta also pointed out that cinema advertising bounced back to 65-70% of the pre-pandemic level in 2022. “In 2023, cinema advertising will reach the 2019 level or even surpass it,” he stated.

The report highlighted that the second half of 2022 saw an 18% increase in the number of brands advertising in Indian cinemas compared with the second half of 2019. Food and beverages and consumer durables were the top two categories in cinema advertising in 2022, it said.

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