People aren’t going to the movies like they used to. According to media consulting firm Ormax Media’s annual box office report for 2017, Bollywood has just recorded its worst performance of the past five years, with domestic net theatrical collections declining by 9%, from ₹2,780 crore in 2016 to ₹2,525 crore in 2017. These don’t include Hindi dubbed releases like Baahubali: The Beginning or Baahubali 2: The Conclusion . The corresponding figure was ₹2,718 crore in 2013, ₹2,745 crore in 2014, and ₹2,619 in 2015.
The Tamil film industry, too, showed a “de-growth”, with net domestic collections falling by 5%, from ₹996 crore in 2016 to ₹946 crore in 2017. The Telugu film industry, however, bucked the negative trend by clocking a 47% growth. Its net domestic collection in 2017 was ₹1,533 crore, up from ₹1,042 crore in 2016. However, a big chunk, ₹285 crore, was contributed by one film, Baahubali 2 .
As for Hollywood (inclusive of all the Indian language dubbed versions), its box office collections in India remained stagnant in 2017, totalling ₹ 801 crore, as against ₹795 crore in 2016.
In keeping with the fall in collections, the footfalls, too, have shown a decline. Footfalls for Hindi films (excluding dubbed releases) dropped a steep 16%, from 29.4 crore in 2016 to 24.8 crore in 2017. This is almost on par with what it was in 2011, when it recorded footfalls of 24.6 crore. The footfalls had risen to 30.8 crore in 2012, and hit a peak of 33.2 crore in 2013, before climbing down to 31.7 in 2014 and 28.8 in 2015. This is despite the average ticket prices remaining more or less steady, moving from ₹132 in 2016 to ₹133 in 2017. Ticket prices have otherwise been rising sharply over the years: ₹97 (2011), ₹105 (2012), ₹113 (2013), ₹120 (2014) and ₹127 (2015).
After three consecutive years of healthy growth since 2013, Hollywood footfalls in India remained stagnant at 7.5 crore last year, marginally down from 7.8 crore in 2016.
For Tamil cinema, footfalls dropped from 14 crore in 2016 to 12.6 crore the next year. Total footfalls for Telugu cinema saw a 37% growth, from 17.5 crore in 2016 to 24 crore in 2017. Of this, Baahubali 2 alone accounted for 4.3 crore footfalls.
How does one explain this decline in spending on cinema, that too at a time when ticket prices have been stable? Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO of Ormax Media, attributes it to the combined stress of GST, demonetisation, and economic disruptions.