The spring is back in Indian cinema with box office collections for 2022 soaring past ₹10,000 crore, according to data provided by Ormax Media — only the second time it has done so since 2015.

After two successive flop years when the industry was ravaged by the pandemic, and collections were a mere ₹3,701 crore (2021) and ₹2,056 crore (2020), Indian cinema has staged a massive rebound. Despite the rising popularity of OTT, theatres managed to pull back audiences. Collection estimates for the month of December are yet to be fully computed. Therefore, it is too soon to tell whether the cumulative domestic box office collections have crossed the all-time high figure of ₹10,948 crore achieved in 2019.

South leads rebound

Southern movies contributed to the big bounce-back, dominating the Top 10 list of the highest-grossing films for 2022. RRR and KGF2 led the pack, breaking several records. Only three Bollywood movies made the list — Brahmastra, Kashmir Files and Bhool Bhulaiya 2.

Despite marquee Bollywood projects such as Amir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha, Dharma’s Liger and Akshay Kumar’s Ram Setu faring abysmally at the box office, thanks to the strong showing of the southern movies, cumulative collections proved to be substantial in 2022.

Hindi still consumed most

While the popular perception suggests that Bollywood is struggling to recover after the pandemic — the share of films consumed in the Hindi language did improve to approximately 35 per cent this year, in comparison to 27 per cent in 2021. The number of films consumed in Hindi has not, however, recovered to the pre-pandemic levels, when 44 per cent of all movies consumed domestically were in Hindi. Telugu language films were the second most popular category, making 21 per cent of the movies consumed in 2022. The overall share of Telugu language films in cumulative box office collections dropped from 29 per cent reported in 2021, even as the Tollywood film industry gave back-to-back blockbusters.

James Cameron’s Avatar: Way of Water closed the Indian box office collections on a high note in December, having collected almost ₹300 crore so far.