2020 is set to be the worst year ever at the box office for Bollywood ever since one can recollect. With theaters shutting down for 6 months and now near to negligible audiences, courtesy no new releases and old hits in the running, it is turning out to be a rather bleak scenario when it comes to business of Bollywood.
No wonder, current estimates indicate that by the time 2020 comes to a close, there would be a massive loss of around 3500 crores which Bollywood box office would end up suffering.
This year, there are only 15 notable films that have released between January to March, before lockdown was announced. Out of these 15 films, only five ended up bringing in moolah. While Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior almost came close to hitting a triple century [280 crores], Baaghi 3 missed it out by a whisker [95 crores]. However, Street Dancer 3D [75 crores], Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan [60.78 crores] and Malang [58.99 crores] completed their full run but couldn’t really cover much of a distance.
Add to these other notable films, Love Aaj Kal, Chhapaak, Thappad, Bhoot – The Haunted Ship, Jawaani Jaaneman, Panga and Angrezi Medium, none of which emerged as a hit, and the first quarter was anyways quite low at 780 crores. Had Baaghi 3 and Angrezi Medium run their full course, at least 800 crores would have been crossed but that was not the case to be.
However, the biggest disappointment has been the nil box office between April-September with negligible numbers so far in October. Moreover, except for Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari [13th November] and ’83 [Christmas 2020], no new film has been announced for the remainder of the year either.
Now compare this with 2019 and you know the monumental losses that Bollywood would be facing before the close of year. Last year was record breaking for the box office as 4400 crores had come in just from the release of Hindi films. There was a flurry of 100 Crore Club and 200 Crore Club films, what with Kesari, Total Dhamaal, Chhichhore, Dabangg 3, Saaho, Super 30, Dream Girl, Gully Boy, Bala and De De Pyaar De hitting a century. In fact Akshay Kumar alone hit a hat-trick of double centuries [Housefull 4, Mission Mangal, Good Newwz].
Meanwhile, Bharat scored a double century, Kabir Singh and Uri-The Surgical Strike fell just short of hitting a triple century each, though War managed to do that by entering the 300 Crore Club.
Now all of this seems like a thing from the past as with mere 780 crores in the kitty, one waits to see if end tally of 2020 would even manage to hit the 1000 crores mark. In case it falls even short of that, there is a potential loss of 3500 crores in this calendar year, and that is notwithstanding the growth potential that one can expect on year to year basis. After all, there has been a constant rise in numbers from 2016 [3000 crores], 2017 [3200 crores], 2018 [3600 crores] and 2019 [4400 crores]. At the bare minimum, 2020 was looking at over 4500 crores.
Some of the biggest potential contributors to 2020 box office were Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi, Salman Khan’s Radhe, Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chadha, Ranbir Kapoor’s Brahmastra & Shamshera, Ajay Devgn’s Maidan, John Abraham’s Satyameva Jayate 2 & Mumbai Saga, all of which have been moved to 2021. Kartik Aaryan’s double bill of sequels, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 & Dostana 2, were carrying good reports too whereas Sidharth Malhotra’s Shershaah was set to be a good follow up to Uri – The Surgical Strike. Again, these films would now arrive in 2021.
On the other hand a few other biggies that could have set the box office on fire, be it Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb, Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj-The Pride of India and Varun Dhawan’s Coolie No. 1, are now arriving straight on the OTT. There were hopes that now that theaters are opening, these films could see a parallel release in theaters as well as digitally. However, those plans have come to a naught as well.
The good news though is that Bollywood has always bounced back time and again, and same is expected in 2021 as well. A loss of 3500 crores won’t really be repairable for the current year. However, one just looks forward to a major portion of that getting compensated for once theaters begin to operate full throttle from early 2021 onwards. That should wipe off some losses at least.