- Both PVR and INOX reported their best ever quarterly performances in the June quarter of the current fiscal year.
- The duo needs some big Bollywood movies to keep the crowd from coming in, if they’re to maintain their growth.
- Most of the big budget Bollywood movies of the past few months have been duds at the box office.
Shamshera, Samraat Prithviraj and Jayeshbhai Jordaar have something in common. It’s not just the latest Bollywood movies that Indians couldn’t bring back to theaters – it’s also three consecutive A-listers releases that flopped.
This lack of enthusiasm for Bollywood affects not only the actors and producers, but also cinemas counting on superhits to get back in the black – after a long period of pandemic-induced shutdown.
Real estate agencies worry that more Bollywood releases won’t enthuse the OTT-saturated audience to hit the theaters. It will impact audience numbers and have a cascading effect on ad revenue, the theater chains’ ability to push through price increases, and more.
Several analysts questioned Inox CEO Siddharth Jain about the same during the quarterly earnings conference call. Jain emphasized several times that bad movies would not affect the number of visitors for his company.
“Q1 [April to June] has been great, but few movies have failed after that. That’s not to say that people won’t shy away from coming to the cinema… One or two movies that don’t work, or don’t go well for a month, doesn’t mean people won’t come to the cinema to watch a movie or the whole pipeline is bad,” he said.
Still, analysts have not calmed down. They don’t believe audiences are ready to go back to “average movies,” especially as they are spoiled for choice with multiple OTT options, in addition to traditional TV.
When big movies flop, theaters lose as much as producers. “The top priority goal for multiplexes like PVR and INOX is to fill the theater with audiences to maximize their profits. But flop films fail to achieve this goal. As a distributor, they lose no less than the producers,” Manoj Dalmia, founder and director of Proficient Equities Private, told https://londonbusinessblog.com/ India.
Lockdown boredom plus content equals footsteps
PVR’s CEO Kamal Gianchandani, in the company’s post-profit analyst call held on July 25, however, said he believed their performance in the first quarter was a combination of people bored with lockdown ‘going out’ and content.
He stressed that the quality of films released between April and June was “exceptional” and that this played a big part in people’s enthusiasm for watching films in the cinema. “The consumer appeal of cinemas has remained intact and so has the quality of the content,” he noted.
The theaters put in a stellar performance in March thanks to South hits like KGF and RRR, alongside Kashmir Files and Gangubai Kathiawadi. Despite the sales, the two listed film chains – Inox and PVR both posted net losses for the first quarter of 239 crore and ₹478 crore respectively in the fourth quarter.
They are still on the road to recovery and for that they need more ‘recoverable films’, and that can only come from Bollywood. According to analysts, while Southern movies have helped in the past, only major Bollywood movies released on multiple screens can bring them the recovery they need.
|Movies releases||Publication date||Opening day||Earn for life, like on August 1|
|shamshera||July 22, 2022||₹10.25 Crore||₹45 crore|
|Thank you||July 22, 2022||₹4.5 crore||₹9.43 crore|
|Vikrant Rona||July 28, 2022||₹35 crores||110 crore|
|Ek Villain returns||July 29, 2022||₹7.95 Crore||₹26.5crore|
Source: Bollywood Hungama, Media Reports
Time for Bollywood to stand up
Both companies have pinned their hopes on films such as Laal Singh Chaddha, Raksha Bandhan, Liger, Brahmastra and Vikram Vedha to help maintain visitor numbers in the current July-September quarter.
“The films are looking good in August and in September we also have some great films on offer. And I’m hopeful that these movies will be treated well at the box office,” noted Jain of Inox.
According to the trend, many major releases across multiple screens and languages have flopped badly in the past six months – be it Kangana Ranaut’s Dhaakad, Akshay Kumar’s Bachchan Pandey or Prabhas’ Radhe Shyam. Ranveer Singh’s 83 was doing average business while Puspa along with it was the only outlier to be a super hit.
As PVR itself admits, despite high expectations of blockbuster performance from movies in the pipeline, they don’t expect a full recovery for another six months.
“Our feeling is that by December of this year, where we’ve had a big run of movies, the recovery should really take full shape because you also have to understand that in a country like India there’s a very large proportion of people who shows up. only once or twice a year in theaters,” said Nitin Sood, CFO of PVR.
This whole struggle is inextricably linked to the already low ad revenue, which is a huge part of the revenue for any multiplex company. Both PVR and INOX, despite a strong film pipeline in the first quarter, have not yet reached their pre-Covid ad revenue. Achieving it depends on good content.
“Good content is very important to a customer because they know that content will attract visitors and more people will see their ads. More eyeballs will be watching his ads,” Jain added.
Until the film comes out, it remains to be seen whether Bollywood delivers the blockbusters that the theaters so badly need.
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