A comparative Analysis – Why 2016 Was Not As Good A year For Bollywood As 2015

While regional films and Hollywood enjoyed a superb run at the Indian box office, Bollywood rather had a turbulent ride comparatively in 2016. Compared to 2015, the top 10 films saw a 6.5% dip in combined collection, from Rs 1,484 crore in 2015, to Rs 1,387 crore in 2016. Bollywood didn’t perform better in 2016 though eight of the top 10 films crossed the Rs 100 crore mark, from six last year. The major revenue came from Sultan (Rs 300 crore), Dangal (Rs 216 crore as of Friday and still running in cinemas across the country) and MS Dhoni–The Untold Story (Rs 133 crore). Bollywood just managed to sustain profitability as the top eight films in 2016 gave returns comparable to 2015, and are expected to exceed the (return on investment), considering Dangal, which has already booked profits, will be in theaters for a couple of weeks more, at least.
On the other side, comparing the notable flops, the loss percentage has gone up from 48% in 2015 to 56.4% in 2016. Experts attribute this to lack of rationalization while budgeting for films, a trend that has burdened the sector for a while but is now seeing a better trend.

Ajit Andhare, operations head at Viacom18 Motion Pictures says, movies should be budgeted based on the script and targeted audience.

“I have said this before and I maintain that we (as an industry) need to start budgeting movies depending on the script and who the content is meant for. Only then will we see profitability rise. The other challenge I notice is increasing the footfall to movie screens. There might have been a slight dip in the footfall in 2016 and while inflation in ticket prices makes up for some of this drop, the movie-going habit needs to be encouraged for the industry to grow,”  –  Ajit Andhare, operations head at Viacom18 Motion Pictures.

Sunil Lulla, managing director, Eros International, agrees with this to bring out the optimal box office collection.
“Release strategies and marketing are connected to the cost of production, genre and talent. Marketing is all about smartly reaching the audience through various mediums, through appropriate budgets. Release strategies (number of screens) have to be planned accordingly, so as to bring out the optimal box office collection.” – Sunil Lulla, managing director, Eros International
Bollywood Red Business Analysis 2016 2
In terms on content, it seems that the audience has found a liking for the biopics and sport themes. The top three films of the year (Sultan, Dangal and MS Dhoni) all centered around sport and/or sport personalities (wrestling/wrestlers in the first two and cricket in the third. Non-sport biopics also found favour with the audiences, as is evident from the success of films Rustom, Neerja and Airlift. 

Marketing continued to play a significant role, with studios opting for a measured and targeted approach, rather than going for a general strategy.

“With hundreds of movies releasing every year, is critical in communicating about your film to the audience, as well as building that connect, creating excitement and anticipation. For example, with Dangal, we stayed very true to the movie and didn’t overdo the noise levels.The most important collateral launch, the pay-off trailer, was done in a pure-play digital method, instead of a traditional TV and print burst. We built upon the existing positive buzz by releasing strong audio and video assets. We also rolled out some behind the scene units, such as the ‘Fat to Fit’ video which went on to become viral, as it was raw and real and showed the effort behind Aamir’s phenomenal transformation,” – Amrita Pandey, vice-president, studios, Disney India.

2016 also saw a new entry and a big player in the studio business, with the Punit Goenka-led Zee Entertainment Enterprises launching its Bollywood and regional operations under the Zee Studios brand. Goenka mentioned they were looking at films as an essential vertical for the business, and with hits like Rustom and Sairat (Marathi), it seems to have started on a right note.

Though the demonetization instilled fear of pulling down by many, from the success of Dangal it seems the industry didn’t suffer largely. Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive at PVR Pictures, feels the success or failure of a title cannot be attributed only to the cash crunch from demonetization.

“Content plays a big role. If the content is appealing, the film will do well, as we saw with Dear Zindagi and are seeing with Dangal. The main impact was felt in the first two weeks, when the content from didn’t really excite the audiences either,” – Kamal Gianchandani, Chief Executive, PVR Pictures

Content did play a major role this year, as in the past three-odd ones. Neerja, Pink, Kapoor and Sons, Dear Zindagi, Baaghi, Airlift, Udta Punjab and Rustom were much appreciated by critics and proved that good content sells.

“2016 has been a good year for differentiated content and high concept films. It’s been the year of biopics and realistic cinema which not only entertains but presents a new story that audiences haven’t seen. Most important, once again, it has reinforced the power of good scripts,” – Vijay Singh, chief executive, Fox Star Studios

Bollywood Red Box Office Business Analysis 2016
Studio heads feel the challenges ahead would be much the same as before – recognizing the scale and target group where the content will appeal and budgeting accordingly, dealing with the under-screened nature of the Indian exhibition space, and marketing the movie innovatively and cost-effectively. As the Hollywood and regional slate grows in output and appeal for audiences, Bollywood has a big task ahead in 2017.
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#Hollywood #Bollywood  #Dangal #Sultan #MSDhoniTheUntoldStory #Viacom18 #AjitAndhare #SunilLulla #ErosInternational  #Rustom #Neerja #Airlift #AmritaPandey #DisneyIndia #PunitGoenka  #KamalGianchandani #Sairat #Neerja #Pink #KapoorandSons #DearZindagi #Baaghi #Airlift #UdtaPunjab #VijaySingh #FoxStarStudios

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