Movie halls bear huge losses as films are failing at the box office
Things become worrisome for cinema halls as Bollywood films don’t do as well at the box office. The halls have to bear all the losses. Experts weigh in on the reasons and conclude that only Hindi films alone can’t be blamed for it.
What is the reason?
The revival of cinema halls after the pandemic has brought some hope to the film industry. However, the business is far from returning back to its position as Bollywood films fail to get the response they were expecting at the box office, their return being a worrisome situation for cinema halls across the country.
2023 has given us only a handful of films that did well at the box office. Pathan, Kisika bhai Kisiki jaan, and The Kerala Story were the only few Bollywood projects which fared well. Lack of audience in the cinema halls is resulting in a loss for the theatre owners. Recently PVR INOX reported an integrated loss of Rs. 333.99 crores for the fourth quarter which ended on March 31st, 2023. They revealed that they were shutting over 50 loss-making cinema halls in the next six months.
What experts have to say?
Film critic and trade expert Taran Adarsh says that at the moment, the biggest sufferers are not the producers or the directors, but the exhibitors. When films don’t work, the theatre owners are the first ones to take the hit. The producers or directors can always plan their next films, the distributors can choose not to release particular films at particular times. But exhibitors need at least one or two films each week. With multiple movie halls closing down at the moment, the film halls are in a grave situation.
Trade expert and producer Girish Johar said that the first quarter of the ongoing financial year is 30-35% behind the 2018-19 financial year. One of the reasons for this downfall is the high and rising prices of the tickets.
Atul Mohan, a trade expert, said that we cannot be charged Rs. 600 for a film with a star cast like Shahrukh Khan, and also pay the same amount for a small or medium-budget film. The pricing system needs to vary, especially when people are aware that the films shown are eventually going to be shown on OTT platforms. Cinema is a business of volume he adds, we have already disconnected the masses by raising their prices. The dynamics of the box office have changed as better-quality content and films are screened at the tap of buttons. Going to the cinema halls is when we are seeking some larger-than-life experience, let alone a really expensive one as well.
The CEO of Cinepolis says that apart from Pathaan and a few South Indian titles, not a large number of films have worked. This is not occurring for the first time, and he hopes to go back to normalcy soon.
Who is at fault?
The general manager at the Capital’s Delite Cinema says that this is a dark time for Bollywood. By giving the example of newly released Hollywood films, he says that Guardians of the Galaxy and Fast and Furious did good in the cinemas. It is good content the people are looking for, and the language is not a barrier anymore.
Director Aneez Bazmee feels it is wrong to blame Bollywood films for this, as after a point it was inevitable for movie halls to not work anymore. Admitting that Bollywood isn’t contributing a lot of content in the movie halls yet, he says that we cannot solely blame it on that. There are multiple factors behind this.
Things might seem dark for Bollywood at the time but industry experts have hope that things will look forward with movies like Maidaan, Satyarem ki Katha, Adipurush, and Jawan.