The box-office collections are expected to grow by a moderate 3 per cent to close at ₹1,930 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31. Weak box-office collections could weigh some broadcasters’ movie (distribution/syndication) revenues in the quarter. 

While small and medium-budget films like Hanuman gave a much-needed respite, the film industry awaits a blockbuster to bring footfalls back to the theatres.

Blockbuster Buzz

A huge response to the teaser of Pushpa-2, a sequel to Allu Arjun-starrer Pushpa, yesterday rekindles hopes to the industry. It was viewed 44 million times on YouTube. The film, which became a sensational hit three years ago and created a buzz across the country, is slated for an August 2024 release. Also scheduled for release in 2024 are Kalki 2898 AD (Prabhas), Singham Again (Ajay Devgn), Devara (Jr NTR) and Game Changer (Ram Charan)

Analysts forecast a drop in footfalls and pressure on margins owing to weakness in the ad environment and sharp moderation in the movie business.

“Given modest collection growth, we expect PVR-Inox to report footfalls of 33 million (about 23.4% occupancy), resulting in a break-even at the operating level. On the broadcasting side, ZEEL’s performance is likely to be impacted by continued weakness in the ad environment and sharp moderation in the movie business,” Jinesh Joshi, Research Analyst, Institutional Equities, Prabhudas Lilladher, said.

Analysts at JM Financial, however, felt that the fourth quarter might see early signs of stability in broadcasters’ ad- revenue growth. “A favourable comp and gradual improvement in FMCG’s ad spend will help. Lower working days and an early start to IPL this year are potential headwinds,” they said.

Elara Securities (India) Private Ltd said that ad revenue growth had been declining as a few verticals, such as telecom, education, and e-commerce, were not doing well, excepting the FMCG sector, which has seen a respite.

Mid-range Momentum

There, however, has been a respite in small- and medium-budget content in the quarter. This is the first quarter post-Covid where small- and medium-budget Hindi films, such as Hanuman, Article 370, Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya, and Crew, have shown traction.

The share of box-office collection from these films grew to about 35 per cent, compared with 10-12 per cent in the post-Covid era. This was also helped by lower ticket prices and offers, but better content quality has led to growth.

“Large films such as Fighter and Shaitaan posted in-line performances. The box-office collections of English and regional content remain weak due to the absence of films reporting healthy collections. We expect about 24 per cent occupancy due to muted footfalls,” it said.

Research firm Emkay said that the lack of big-budget movies in Bollywood and Hollywood, coupled with no sleeper hits, should result in sub-par occupancies in the quarter.