Off lately, we have come across box office numbers making headlines after the release of any commercial celluloid. The 100 crore clubs mark as a gateway to show how successful a film has been. This falls in place apart from the usual ratings given by film critics. With that being said, how much of it is true? Numbers can be easily doctored to favour businesses even in the entertainment industry, kind of on the similar lines as a books of accounts kept to calculate growth of an establishment.
Box Office, is nothing but the ticket counter, again expanded on the digital platform. When the makers are ready with their reel, they sell the theatrical rights to distributors across the country or even globe now, which is further rented out to exhibitors for a specified amount. The profit earned from the sale of these tickets is divided up the chain.
Films especially in Bollywood count the gross collection, whereas the actual profit lies in the net, which comes from the deductions of distributors and exhibitors. The ideal number is what remains with the producer. The lack of a credible source makes it difficult to keep a track, hence websites and entertainment portals get away by posting different figures.
The ticketing trend in India is a hotpot with a mixture of various elements. Content driven films may not always rock the numbers like those under a commercialised umbrella under reputed chains. For example a film like Badhaai Ho took time to show up on the 100 crore radar but something like Race 3 (a disaster in itself) managed to garner the numbers.
In 2019, Salman Khan’s biggest release showed an opening on first day as Rs 41.62 Crore on Box Office India, whereas Bollywood Hungama put up a figure of Rs 42.30 Crore. It gets worse with the Net calculation, wherein BOI shows Rs 141 Crore, but BH shows Rs 209 Crore.
According to the EY-FICCI report 2019, the Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) sector reached Rs 1.67 trillion (USD 23.9 billion) in 2018, with a growth of 13.4 per cent over 2017. With its current trajectory, the sector in India is expected to cross Rs 2.35 trillion (USD 33.6 billion) by 2021, at a CAGR of 11.6 per cent.
It further states that India has approximately 9,601 screens, however this number need not be accurate with the distributors in the case of a single film. The number of screens can alter the final output of the box of collections if there are any errors. For instance, a 2016 report in Business Standard suggests that screens back then were around 10,000. This lack of current data (considering the major gap) helps to create a pseudo figure of a film’s success ratio.
The main question, is the 100 crore club trend overrated? Yes. Filmmakers shouldn’t depend on numbers to decide their next move. The cardinal principle for any film to work lies with the reviews given by the audience, but it seems like the new crossroads are defined by box office collections, which clearly do not indicate if a film is worth a watch. Makers need to be cautious of their audience and what they feed them. Trade analysts can sugar-coat the numbers, but it might not work for long, as the illusion could result in the downfall of some major players in the coming years in entertainment.