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September could be a rundown month for Bollywood if moviegoers also ditch Brahmastra


July 2022 saw a total box office collection of Rs 270 crore, while August was lukewarm with much lower collections of Rs 142 crore.

The beginning of September brings the holiday season with a few new movies slated for release. The line-up has some big releases like brahmastra, The beast, Vikram Veda and some Tamil and Telugu films. Movie releases have promising odds, but the question is, can they translate to a lot of money?

Analysis of the first two months of the second quarter gives a better idea. July 2022 saw a total box office collection of Rs 270 crore, while August was lukewarm with much lower collections of Rs 142 crore.

July collections missed expectations due to weaker than expected box office performance of some star-studded films like The Return of Villain Ek, Rocket, Shamsheraand Shabaash Mithu – based on the life of retired cricketing icon Mithali Raj. ‘Thor’ was the only outlier with collections exceeding Rs 100 crore.

Film releases in July 2022 (Note: numbers are rounded; source: Bollywood Hungama)

Film Collection
Thor: Love and Thunder Rs 102 cr
Villain Ek returns Rs 42 cr
Shamshera Rs 42 cr
Rocket Rs 26 credits
Shabash Mithu Rs 2 credits

For August 2022, the content pipeline was strong, with big star movies lined up like liger, Raksha Bandhan and Laal Singh Chaddha. The highly anticipated Laal Singh Chaddhastarring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan, managed to attract around Rs 50 crore. Raksha Bandhan, featuring Akshay Kumar, failed to cross Rs 50 crore as its lifetime collections. Same liger failed to attract viewers, resulting in it being labeled a flop.

Jinesh Joshi, Media and Entertainment Analyst at Prabhudas Lilladher, said, “Films like Raksha Bandhan and Laal Singh Chaddha were a complete quashing of audience expectations. PVR & Inox will experience a drop in attendance in Q2FY23.”

Film releases in August 2022 (Note: numbers are rounded; source: Bollywood Hungama)

Film Collection
Laal Singh Chaddha Rs 57 cr
Raksha Bandhan Rs 43 cr
liger Rs 6 credits
Make Baaraa Rs 4 credits
Total Rs 142 cr

Given the weak content show in July and August 2022, T2FY23 could well be a soft quarter for players in the theatrical exhibition industry, which is already battling for eyeballs with OTT players. What has progressively hurt business are unflattering reviews, particularly on social media, of released films, which deter moviegoers from going to the cinema, and dwindling interest in what are said to be poorly designed Bollywood productions. The success rate of Bollywood films has dropped sharply, from 42% in 2019 to just 7% this year.

% of Bollywood blockbusters drops sharply after Covid (Source: Emkay)

Year %
CY2017 30
CY2018 34
CY2019 42
CY2021-22 (till date) seven

Will September bring a sigh of relief to the movie entertainment industry?

A short-term catalyst could be the release of Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt’s highly anticipated film “Brahmastra” on September 9, 2022. Abneesh Roy, Executive Director, Institutional Equities – Edelweiss Securities, says brahmastra advance booking is strong at at least 27,000 tickets.

Film lineup for September with release date

  • The beast: September 2, 2022
  • Yaar Mera Titliyaan Warga (Punjai): September 2, 2022
  • Brahmastra, part one: shiva: September 9, 2022
  • The king of women: September 16, 2022
  • Dhokha Round D Corner: September 23, 2022
  • Vikram Veda: September 30, 2022
  • Ponnyyin Selvan : September 30, 2022
  • Unless some of the big movies become blockbusters or a few underdogs surprise at the box office, September 2022 shouldn’t sound like a joy for the cinema exhibition industry.

    Joshi said, “If brahmastra fails to gain traction, September could be a pretty rundown month.”

    This is ultimately a downside risk for film exhibitor stocks. PVR & Inox saw declines of 15% in the last month (as of September 1, 2022), while the Nifty Media index is down 3%, unlike Nifty which rose 1% last month.

    A big reversal in the stock performance of film exhibitors is only likely once the box office achieves a turnaround.

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