Bollywood First Quarter 2023
The first quarter of 2023 is over and while the accountants are settling up their share of tax returns, we are here to take a look at the Hindi film industry (Bollywood) and just how things turned out for it.
It is no secret that the biggest story of these first three months of 2023 continues to be the gargantuan box office collection of Pathaan and the comeback of superstar, Shah Rukh Khan. And it is also almost as worrisome that there is barely any other film that even got a marginal profit on its budget and marketing costs, let alone being a blockbuster.
A majority of the 'bigger' films tanked and only a few managed to show some signs of promise. This piece takes a look at the performance in the first quarter while also foreseeing how things look in the next one-
The January Blast
Unsurprisingly, the month of January till Republic Day did not see films coming to-and-fro like it does in other months. Only the ensemble cast-led Kuttey saw a theatrical release and it tanked miserably going on to collect only 4.65 crores. The other two noteworthy films were Chhatriwali and Mission Majnu but both opted for a digital release. Then came in the juggernaut in the form of Pathaan. The comeback for Shah Rukh Khan, a sleek and stylized mega actioner. Pathaan went on to do exactly what was expected from it - break records on every possible day. With 543 crores in India and 1050 crores (approx) worldwide, Pathaan continues to be the only point of salvation that Hindi film industry needed.
The shortest month of the year did not capitalise on the Pathaan wave that was going on. Small films like Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohobbat and Faraaz not performing well at the box office was expected but what wasn't anticipated having an entirely abysmal run where both films fetched 25 lakhs and 35 lakhs respectively in their lifetime run. The only ray of hope for everyone was the Kartik Aaryan led big film, Shehzada. However, the film under-performed to the shock of many, A last-minute change in its release date and mixed reviews did not work in the film's favor and it fetched 32.20 crores. Little did one know that the biggest shock was only going to take place in the next week as yet another big scale film, Selfiee arrived. However, with just 2.55 crores on Day 1 and a lifetime of 16.85 crores, Selfiee turned out to be one of the biggest disasters in recent history.
It seemed like nothing was going right and even thought hopes were pinned but it was the idea of being cautiously optimistic with one of the most-awaited films of the year, Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar. To everyone's relief, TJMM not only received rather glowing reviews but also opened well. Day 1 of the film clocked 15.73 crores and the trend continued to do decently ahead. By the end of week 1, it wasn't away from entering the 100 crore club and so it did. The lifetime collection of TJMM being 141.52 crores isn't close to being humongous as it should have been but being a film post pandemic, it is encouraging and mildly satisfying. Other smaller films like Zwigato, Bheed and InCar did not fetch any numbers noteworthy enough except Mrs. Chatterjee v/s Norway, that witnessed a fairly decent collection of 19.67 crores. And then the month ended with Bholaa, who was yet again, expected to rake in big numbers and while there were a few days in its run that were good, the overall collection of Bholaa which was 62.21 crores*, turned out to be rather shocking.
To put in essence, Pathaan and Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar - together went on to have a collective total of almost 700 crores while a barrage of rest of the films barely raked in a little more than 100 crores - and this continues to be a huge concern for Bollywood.
What makes things even worse in terms of predictions, analysis and normal trade talk - is that things aren't looking any better for the industry in this next couple of months as well. The likes of Gumraah has already proved to be a non-factor and there is no big release coming up in this week till Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ka Jaan arrives on 21st April 2023. The mega film continues to have a mixed buzz going into release where the songs and glimpses have been met with trolls and flak but it is still a Salman Khan-led project, the same Salman Khan, who is also on the high of making a cameo in Pathaan. May looks even worse where, as of now, not one big film is scheduled to release in the month. It looks like the second quarter might have to rely on June. A June that has four extremely big films up for release - Jawan, Adipurush, Maidaan and Satyaprem Ki Katha. It is being said that Jawan might see a postponement in its release date but even then, the other three will have a lot of hopes riding on them to make this quarter worthy.