The multiplex industry is betting on the September quarter to see an improvement in collections after a tepid performance of the box office in the June quarter. Experts pointed out that Hindi box office collections are still 25-30 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. Some believe the industry is perhaps facing structural issues due to changes in consumer’s consumption patterns. However, the industry pointed out that there is a strong line-up of content across Bollyood, Hollywood and regional genres in Q2.

Karan Taurani, Senior Vice-President, Elara Capital, said: “There are various factors at play here. Small and medium budget films are just not clicking with the audiences. We also did not see any big hits in terms of regional content which brought some respite to the box office last year. Only selective big-budget films are doing well. So, overall, this has led to a lack of consistency in drawing footfalls to the cinemas. There seems to be some structural issues. The unit economics of big-budget films need to change as some of them are making hefty losses.“ 

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Taurani pointed out the September quarter is expected to be better in terms of the box office collections, compared to June quarter. But he added that it remains to be seen whether the content line-up will be robust enough to sustain this momentum through the second half of the year

Holiday season

Producer and film business expert Girish Johar pointed out that the industry did not leverage on the June quarter well, which is the holiday season for college and schools. “Hardly any big movies were released during this period. The OTT dynamics has also changed audience consumption preferences. So, average or weak content has no chance of working at the box office anymore as consumers have multiple entertainment options. One is also seeing that the content rejection cycle has become shorter. Earlier it used to take 6-7 days for weak content to see a dip in footfalls now that is happening within two days.”

But the multiplex industry is hopeful that the tide will turn during the September quarter. Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Executive Director, PVR INOX Ltd, said: “The entire second quarter would consistently see a hefty serving of big screen spectacles in every genre, for every audience segment. Be it the Hollywood, the Bollywood or the lineup in the other Indian languages, the cinema-going audiences across India are set to have an entertainment feast in the run up to the festive quarter.”

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The Hindi movie content line-up includes Rocky aur Rani, Animal, Gadar2, Dream Girl and Jawan among others. Some of the key Hollywood flicks slated to be released in September quarter includ Mission Impossible-7, Barbie, Oppenheimer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Insidious among others.

“It is not about a small budget or big budget film, it is all about good content. We are seeing this across markets where we operate that when a good story, which is well-marketed and perceived gets released it definitely attracts footfalls. While Q1 did see a lesser supply of good content getting released at the box office, Q2 looks promising with a strong content line-up,” said Devang Sampat, CEO, Cinepolis India.