Box Office Report Card: Bollywood clocks Rs 510 crore in 2021; Sooryavanshi, & 83 contribute 62 percent to biz
Here's the report card of how Bollywood films have fared at the box-office in 2021 - The industry on a backfoot with just one real success in the form of the Akshay Kumar's Sooryavanshi directed by Rohit Shetty. Detailed Analysis.
After a lull at the box office in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the trade got some respite in 2021 as cinema halls opened up making way for multiple feature films. While the industry adopted the wait and watch approach from December to March, the first major release of the year was the Janhvi Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao fronted horror comedy, Roohi, which was a part of Dinesh Vijan’s horror universe. The movie opened to a reasonable response and ended it’s run with a respectable figure in the vicinity of Rs 25 crore.
Though not a success per-se, the film gave out the message that the audience is still willing to venture to the cinema halls. This was followed by the John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi starrer gangster drama, Mumbai Saga, which proved to be a damp-squib at the ticket window with collections under Rs 20 crore. The follow up to Mumbai Saga was Saina, which as expected, sank without any trace. Soon after the release of these 3 films, the industry went in hibernation mode again as the governments announced closure of cinema halls following the Delta variant of virus.
After a shut down for nearly 4 months, the process of reopening began again and it was Akshay Kumar who took the bullet for the entire industry by releasing his thriller, Bell Bottom in August. While the film was not a successful venture theatrically, the Ranjit Tewari directorial, which released sans Maharashtra, 50% occupancy and night curfew in multiple states, ended up collecting Rs 32 crore at the box office. Yet again, though not at the pre-pandemic level, the movie gave out the message that people are stepping out in limited numbers to the cinema halls. Bell Bottom was followed by a string of flops like the Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi thriller, Chehre and Kangana Ranaut fronted Thalaivii.
After a shut down for nearly 4 months, the process of reopening began again and it was Akshay Kumar who took the bullet for the entire industry by releasing his thriller, Bell Bottom in August... The film ended up collecting Rs 32 crore at the box office..
The failure of 3 films put a halt to the box office proceedings as the industry waited for the Maharashtra government to reopen their halls. Finally, the day of joy returned to the industry on Diwali with the Rohit Shetty directed Sooryavanshi. The Akshay Kumar film fueled the oxygen in the lungs of this ailing industry by raking in Rs 195 crore at the box-office and emerging highest grossing Bollywood film of the year. If not for Sooryavanshi success, the industry would have seen at-least 20 to 25 feature films take the direct to OTT route by now, and one needs to be grateful to the film’s team for bringing back the audience. In-fact, Sooryavanshi is the only true-blue success of 2021 for the Hindi film industry.
Sooryavanshi was followed by a plethora of releases – Bunty Aur Babli 2, Satyameva Jayate 2, Antim: The Final Truth and Tadap – and neither of them proved to be successful at the ticket window. But the silver lining in here was the jump in collections of Antim over the weekend, which primarily happened due to the presence of Salman Khan in the film, and the respectable start taken by a film like Tadap, which featured a rank newcomer like Ahan Shetty. While Bunty Aur Babli and Satyameva Jayate 2 clocked Rs 12 crore in their lifetime run, Antim fared much better with lifetime collections of Rs 38 crore. The biz was of course boasted by the presence of Salman Khan, as without him, the film would have gone unnoticed with collections under 5 crore, but one expected it to trend better and clock the Rs 50 crore mark in long run. Purely in sense of numbers, Antim is the third highest grossing Hindi film of the year, however, it fell short by Rs 8 to 10 crore to be termed a theatrical success in true sense. Same for Tadap, as it raked in Rs 27 crore in the domestic belt falling short of the successful tag by Rs 10 crore.
While Bunty Aur Babli and Satyameva Jayate 2 clocked Rs 12 crore in their lifetime run, Antim fared much better with lifetime collections of Rs 38 crore. The biz was of course boasted by the presence of Salman Khan, as without him, the film would have gone unnoticed with collections under 5 crore
The biggest shock for the industry came when Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui proved to be a colossal disappointment at the ticket window. Despite positive reviews and feedback from the audience, the movie just couldn’t set things rolling at the ticket window and ended up with below the mark collections of Rs 22 crore. This was followed by the December 17 weekend, which saw two “Non-Bollywood Films' ' – SpiderMan and Pushpa – strike gold at the box-office and prove to be the two true blue successes in the Hindi belts besides Sooryavanshi. While Spider Man is looking to end it’s run around Rs 220 crore, Pushpa is looking to hit the Rs 90 crore mark by the end of it’s run, with an outside chance of hitting the triple century too. But nonetheless, the two films played a major role as outsiders by lending support to the exhibitors of Hindi belts.
The year closed with the release of 83’, which is expected to close it’s run at Rs 120 crore. While these figures standalone look impressive, they are disappointing when compared with the pre-release expectations and the economics of the Ranveer Singh fronted sport drama. The Kabir Khan directorial will be the second highest grossing film of 2021, however, it had to do much better to earn the successful tag at the ticket window. After a slow start, the film held its ground at lower levels in the metros and will end up collecting 10x it’s opening day which suggests acceptance from a certain section of audience. However, the film had to open bigger and there had to be universal acceptance for it to be in the black.
All in all, the year ended with Bollywood films putting up an aggregate total of Rs 510 crore in 2021 with Sooryavanshi and 83’ leading the path. If we put the Hindi figures of Pushpa, SpiderMan and other non-Bollywood films like Kong V/s Godzilla, Fast 9 and No Time To Die to this total, the year would end up with figures in the vicinity of Rs 700 crore. 2021 was a disappointing year for the Hindi film industry on all fronts – from content to monetary – and here’s hoping that the industry pulls up their socks, strategize and comeback in the big way this year.
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Film Journalist and trade analyst. With over 9 years of experience, every day, Himesh attempts to be credible with ex...Read more