India is estimated to have 15.7 crore (157.4 million) theatre-goers, who watched at least one film in a theatre in 2023, as per a report released by Ormax Media. This marks a 29 per cent increase compared to the previous year (12.2 crore). It also surpasses the pre-pandemic level (14.6 crore) by 8 per cent, the media analytics firm said.

“These 15.7 crore audience contributed to the 94.3 crore footfalls at the domestic box office in 2023, which comes to an average of 6.0 films watched by a typical theatre-goer in India, across all languages put together,” the report added.

 The report is based on research conducted in January, 2024 among 8,500 Indian audiences across both urban and rural areas.

Hindi-language cinema has seen the most significant growth, with its audience increasing to 9.2 crore in 2023 up 58 per cent increase over 2022. Tamil (-3 per cent), Telugu (-6 per cent) and Kannada (-9 per cent) films have witnessed degrowth in audience shares. However, Malayalam cinema experienced a 19 per cent increase in audience, rising from 1 crore in 2022 to 1.2 crore in 2023.

Marathi movie-going audience base grew by 44 per cent to 10.1 crore in 2023 over 2022, while Punjabi movie-going universe was up 27 per cent to 4.3 crore. Bengali and Gujarati movie-audience base also grew by 19 per cent and 48 per cent in 2023 over 2022.

Sanket Kulkarni, Head: Business Development (Theatrical) at Ormax Media, said, “While it is well understood that the theatrical business has made a sound recovery post the pandemic, this report aims to quantify the recovery, at the level of markets, languages and demographics, leading to a deeper understanding of India’s theatre-going population.”