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First quarter of year ends on a good note for BW box-office

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Joined: 23 December 2014
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Posted: 15 April 2016 at 2:10pm | IP Logged

A good start!

3 months, 3 hits! The first quarter of the year ends on a good note for the Bollywood box-office

 Harshada Rege

March has ended and with it, Bollywood has begun to take stock of the money it made in the first quarter of the year. The film industry believes in numbers and the good news is that the year hasn't just begun on a positive note, but an encouraging one with figures standing at '590 crore, as compared to '385 cr in the same period last year. The leap in fortunes is there for everyone to see. Yes, there have been some disappointments, but the positives outweigh them.

The slow period

The first quarter of the year is traditionally believed to be the slow period for business in Bollywood. Because there are no major festivals or holidays. Says trade analyst Taran Adarsh, "The first three months are generally slow. It's that time of the year when there are no major festivals around. The Republic Day weekend is the only major weekend during this time. And so, the business doesn't really have pace around this time."

However, this year every month has seen a movie that has done well. Adds Girish Johar of Zee Studios, "Usually, business is slow in the first quarter. Apart from Republic Day, Valentine's Weekend usually sees an upswing. But those two apart, it can be a dull period. March is the time when schools have their exams so that's a bit slow. However, this year has been fabulous. We have clocked in around '590 crore, which is a huge leap from the numbers last year."

One big movie every month

If January saw Airlift raking in the moolah, Sonam Kapoor's Neerja did great business in February, and March belonged to Kapoor & Sons. Says Amul Mohan, Editor, Super Cinema, "As compared to last year, this year has been much better. Movies that were made at modest budgets did exceedingly well. Fitoor, probably, was the biggest movie, budget-wise, but it didn't do well, whereas Kapoor & Sons did well even when the T20 World Cup was being played, that, too, in India". Girish feels that Indians don't shun theatres anymore just because a sporting event is on. "I think we are past that phase."

When the IPL began, there was hysteria around it. But now, people have calmed down. Yes, there still are one or two slow days like the India-Pakistan match at the T-20 World Cup, though. Overall, Airlift, Neerja and Kapoor & Sons did very well and that has really boosted business." However, Taran feels that things could have been better. "Three movies doing well is not enough," he feels.

Content is king

A big lesson that Bollywood learned is that content matters. You can have the biggest stars, a promising director and a massive budget, but if your movie isn't worthy of their time, movie buffs aren't going to waste their money on it. Says Taran, "The audience gave a clear verdict. They proved that if the content wasn't good enough, they wont accept any and everything."

Amul adds, "Fitoor was the biggest film in the first three months, but it couldn't do anything at the box-office. However, smaller films with good content did well."

The audience also showed that though comedy is a popular genre, they aren't game to watching anything passed in the name of entertainment. Kyaa Kool Hai Hum 3 and Mastizaade were two clear examples.

Taran says, "Mastizaade started off well, but failed to maintain the momentum." Amul adds, "The two movies released within a week of each other, the cast seemed similar as did the genre. It was a clear case of overkill. But it's also noteworthy that Airlift and Neerja, which belonged to a similar genre " real-life stories made in a gritty manner - released close to each other. But both did well. It goes to prove that people will watch a movie that is well made and not fall for gimmicks."

Manage the budget

The other major lesson that Bollywood took away from this trimester is that a planned budget can make all the difference to a project's viability at the box-office. Girish says, "Any film that's made at a modest budget definitely has a better chance. Akshay Kumar is one actor who hasn't booked any festive weekend. His movies come at any time. But they prove to be profitable, not just because the content is good, but also because they are budgeted well." Amul says, "With Fitoor that had a good cast, people were looking forward to what Abhishek Kapoor would direct next after Kai Po Che, the movie was mounted on a massive scale, but eventually it flopped. Filmmakers have to realise that the budget has to be right. Yes, there is the multiplex audience, but here's also this middle India that really liked an Airlift and Neerja. That made a huge difference to those movies. Kapoor & Sons was a niche film, yes it ticked many boxes " it had a good-looking cast, decent music, etc, but it was not a typical Bollywood movie. Yet, it did well because there was a good balance between budget and content and that's something filmmakers should keep in mind."

Big Bang next quarter

B-Town has now stepped into the second quarter. April has begun on a good note with Ki & Ka doing well at the box-office. The Jungle Book has done stupendous business and now there's Shah Rukh Khan's Fan that has a lot of buzz around it. While Ki & Ka once again proved the formula of making movies high on content while controlling the budget, The Jungle Book has charmed the kids and has the adults wanting to relive their childhood. This probably could be the first Hollywood movie that will hit the '100 crore mark in India.

Tiger Shroff-Shraddha Kapoor-starrer Baaghi will hit the screens in April, while Azhar, based on the life of cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin, will hit theatres in May. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Randeep Hooda's Sarbjit will release the week after Azhar in May. June will see Akshay making his second entry at the box office with Housefull 3. It will battle at the box office with Ranbir Kapoor's Jagga Jasoos, which is yet to be completed. Udta Punjab, starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh is also up for release at the end of June. Taran says, "April has begun well with Ki & Ka doing well. I feel sky is the limit this year. We just have to wait and watch which movie does what kind of business." Girish adds, "The three hits in the first trimester have built a momentum which going ahead will prove to be a morale booster."

Picture abhi baaki hai

After June, all hell breaks loose as Akshay Kumar's Rustom, Salman Khan's Sultan, Shah Rukh Khan's Raees, Hrithik Roshan's Mohenjo Daro gear up for release. The next three months will see Varun Dhawan-John Abhram's Dhishoom, Sidharth Malhotra-Katrina Kaif's Baar Baar Dekho, Tiger's A Flying Jatt, Sushant Singh Rajput's first biopic Dhoni: The Untold Story, Vishal Bhardwaj's Rangoon starring Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Saif Ali Khan hit the screens.

The last three months will be a starry huddle. Harshvardhan Kapoor makes his debut with Mirziya, then there's Karan Johar's ambitious Ae Dil Hai Mushkil starring Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma and Fawad Khan. Ajay Devgn will open his account at the box office this year with Shivaay, Farhan Akhtar will be seen in Rock On 2. Aditya Chopra's Befikre starring Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor is next in the line. The year will end with Aamir's Dangal as the Christmas release. Says Amul, "The first quarter has set the ball rolling in the right direction. It's given everyone in the industry a big boost and a year to look forward with a lot of big movies up for release."

Published Date:  Apr 16, 2016

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