More than 70 per cent footfall, good returns and movie mania at its peak — the first quarter of this year looked good for Bollywood and trade experts have given a thumbs-up to the hit line-up.
In January, Raees made Rs 131.65 crore, while in February, Jolly LLB 2 went on to make Rs 107.4 crore. March had Badrinath Ki Dulhania enter the club with Rs 110 crore. This is a pattern that has not been observed too often in the past few years.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan says, “Most of the films have had 70 -80 per cent occupancy in the theatres. Only a few films, such as OK Jaanu and Rangoon, didn’t have the kind of return that could pull them through. It’s a very rare scenario to have a 100 crore movie every month from the beginning of the year. This is a very good sign. March is said to be a bad month for the film industry, as there are exams, but Badrinath Ki Dulhania surprised everyone. The year 2017 looks healthy to me, since we’re in the second quarter and we have a great line-up coming every month.”
Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, “Footfall has increased compared to last year. If you look at the number of hits in the first three months, it has been better than any year [for the same period].”
‘Quality has to get better’
The films have minted money, but industry observers feel that the content has not been as great as expected. “I think that unless the quality of the films gets better, people aren’t going to spend money. They’re increasingly being driven away from the movies because everyone in the film industry is thinking only about the commercial aspect and is doing on-the-table calculations and that doesn’t necessarily work,” says film critic Omar Qureshi.
Qureshi is not so impressed by the first quarter box office figures. “I think all movies have fared average or below-average. I don’t think any of them in the first quarter have done reasonably well or [done well] beyond all doubt.”
Producer Pritish Nandy feels that in order to do well at the box office, filmmakers often drop the idea of offering audiences path-breaking stories. “We didn’t have path-breaking as well as commercially huge films in the first quarter of this year,” he says. “If you want path-breaking films, don’t expect them to make big money. Path-breaking films happen in the non-commercial area. Hopefully, we’ll have both path-breaking and commercial films. You can’t judge movies on quarter-to-quarter basis. Everyone is too busy going out there and cashing in.”
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