Bollywood Movies

Dry Time For Movie Biz As Election Season And IPL Take Centrestage?

April 29, 20244 Mins Read

Movie Posters | Image:Republic

2024 theatrical business has been off to a bumpy start. While experimentation in storyline has managed to pull in the audiences to the cinema halls, it hasn’t necessarily translated into big box office returns. According to a report in Box Office India, the first quarter business can be classified as decent at best. Meanwhile, with the Indian Premiere League and Lok Sabha elections ongoing, major releases lined up for May have been pushed to the latter half of June (The Sabarmati Report, Kalki 2898 AD, Baby John and Mr And Mrs Mahi). This is not a good sign for the box office as the beginning of the second quarter will inadvertently be running dry.

Image for representation | Image: X 

With sports and politics taking centrestage, movies seem to have taken a backseat. The arrival of big films at the box office has almost halted. In the meantime, some small films are testing the waters still but to no avail.

Manoj Desai, Executive Director Of G7 Multiplex and Maratha Mandir in Mumbai reiterated the lull at the box office has witnessed so far. “2024 has been very bad for us. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and Maidaan could not do well. We prepared for their release but we are helpless. Public did not like these films. People are more interested in travelling to Lonavala, Khandala, Matheran and Panchgani than visiting cinema halls. Movies are not to their liking so their attention has been diverted. Post Covid, Bollywood was in a bad state but Pathaan, Jawan and Gadar 2 came and things changed. I am hoping for a miracle like that to repeat.”

Big releases fail to live up to the expectations in Q1

This year’s big-ticket release was Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone starrer Fighter. The film was first-of-its-kind aerial actioner. Fighter had big stars and music, but the appeal remained limited. Witnessing mixed reviews and low turnout in the mass circuits, the film managed to do average business.

Fighter poster | Image: IMDb

This was followed by Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya and Article 370, which were above average hits, but earned praise for their out-of-box storytelling attempts. Shaitaan, however, emerged as a bonafide hit. The film’s family setting coupled with the elements of horror catered to the audience and it worked well, even affecting the business of films that followed like Crew and Yodha.

The worrying part is that list of flops is longer — Yodha, Swatantrya Veer Savarkar, Madgaon Express, Laapataa Ladies, Crakk, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and Maidaan have failed to leave any mark.

Still from Bollywood films | Image: IMDb

Will the second quarter be able to make up for the non-performing first four months?

Producer Anand Pandit remained optimistic about the first quarterly performance of Bollywood movies when he said that audiences are welcoming novel themes with open arms, further encouraging filmmakers to experiment with style and form.  

“This year has seen a lot of thematic diversity which means the creative envelope has been pushed considerably. While entertainers like Shaitaan and Crew have done very well, we have also had films like Laapataa Ladies which have been immensely appreciated.”

Still from Bollywood movies | Image: IMDb

Emphasising that election season, sports and movie business are mutually exclusive, he asserted, “Be it during elections, or otherwise, a film’s success depends on its content and how it is promoted. A good film always finds its audience even during tournaments like the IPL and the World Cup. As far as box office success is concerned, even the pandemic could not bring us down for too long.”

Pandit remains hopeful of the coming time, saying “the year will end with many resounding hits”. He added, “The Hindi film industry is slated for some major releases in the second half and I am sure, they will do very well. The pandemic tested us immensely but the film industry has already demonstrated its ability to adapt and be resilient. Makers are taking far more creative risks now and I have no doubt that the coming months will pay rich dividends.” 

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 3 will release on Diwali | Image: IMDb

“I predict and wish that the second half is better. Audience knows it all. Everything is in their hands. They make or break a film. So makers have to be careful of what they are offering the audiences,” Desai further shared.

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