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Box office estimated to gross ₹12515 cr in ’22

Box office revenue is expected to touch a record ₹12,515 crore in 2022, beating the previous high of ₹10, 948 crore in 2019, as audiences throng cinemas in large numbers with revenge consumption kicking in after two years of covid-led disruptions, according to a report by media consulting firm Ormax and media investment firm GroupM.

In fact, revenue generated from ticket sales between January and April was also at an all time high of ₹4,002 crore for the period. Besides for the first time monthly average collections was at over ₹1,000 crore, the report added. In comparison, in the first four months of 2019 box office collection was at ₹3,550 crore.

The records were achieved despite the impact of the third wave of covid-19 for the better part of January, when theatres were not allowed to operate and film releases were pushed back. Besides, 18% of cinemas are still not open compared to 2019, and sitting capacity was at 82% of pre-pandemic levels in April. However, operating capacity is expected to breach the 90% mark by June, leading to incremental footfalls in the second half of 2022.

Regional language contribution to revenues has played a major role with Telugu cinema seeing significant growth in share of box office collections in the last three years. In January-April, almost 60% of Hindi box office revenue came from dubbed versions of south Indian films, thanks to two big releases, K.G.F: Chapter 2 and RRR, it said. In the four-month period Telugu films contributed 27% to overall revenues compared to 12% in 2019 while Hindi cinema’s share fell from 43% in 2018 and 39% in 2019 to 38% in 2022.

“These have been the first three or four clean months since March 2020 with no disruption on the business. While there was some concern on the uncertain future of the theatrical business, those have been laid to rest. All 2019 records have been broken despite sub-optimal capacity and absence of a big Hollywood release in this period,” Shailesh Kapoor, founder and chief executive, Ormax Media said.

While the number of operational cinemas is lower than pre-covid times, Kapoor said, most theatres operate at an average capacity of 30-35% anyway and high footfalls are seen only for big-ticket films.

As far as top hits of the year so far go, action film K.G.F: Chapter 2 leads the list with gross box office collections of ₹1,008 crore across languages, followed by period drama RRR at ₹875 crore, political thriller The Kashmir Files ( ₹293 crore), Tamil film Beast ( ₹169 crore) and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi ( ₹153 crore). Ajay Mehta, managing director of GroupM’s cinema advertising and Outdoor business under iTV and Kinetic respectively, said that the universe of films has expanded with audiences now watching content across languages. Large franchises and spectacles from the south have also brought families into the fold of theatre viewing, going beyond the youth.

While there were no Hollywood blockbusters released in the January to April period this year, event films from the American film industry have seen a huge uptake in the post-pandemic world, the report said. Given the line-up of strong films in the rest of the year including Jurassic World Dominion, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Avatar: The Way of Water, 2022 holds potential of being the best-ever year for Hollywood in India, surpassing 2019 gross box office figures of Rs. 1,595 crore. LiveMint

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