The first quarter of 2020 has been a rather tumultuous year not only for the general populace but also for the film industry. With the year starting off with calamities like the Australian fires, earthquakes, threat of a new world war, and more recently the Coronavirus outbreak, theatre going audience have chosen to stay away from cinemas. In this special report we take a look at the first quarter of 2020 analysing how the box office graph has fared in comparison to previous years.
Given the global scenario in the first three months of 2020, Hollywood releases have severely underperformed at the India box office. In fact, estimates state that the first three months of 2020 witnessed around Rs. 50 cr. coming in from box office collections with the film 1917 and Dolittle generating Rs. 10 cr. each. When compared to previous years, 2019 saw approximately Rs. 125 cr. coming in with Captain Marvel and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World contributing Rs. 85 cr. and Rs. 12 cr. respectively.
On the other hand 2018 was a slow year with approximately Rs. 75 cr. coming in, while 2017 saw Rs. 135 cr. being collected with XXX: Return of Xander Cage and Logan raking in Rs. 31 cr. and Rs. 35.29 cr. respectively.
Reasoning why the first quarter of 2020 has been rather disappointing at the box office, film trade analyst Girish Johar says, “If you look at the releases in 2020 as compared to previous years, the first three months did not feature big ticket releases that would draw in the audience. Films like Fast & Furious 9 which was slated to release have been pushed back due to the Coronavirus pandemic, so of course the first quarter has been bleak.” Further talking about the lacklustre business in the first three months Girish continues, “Also if you see in the little screen time that we have had in the first quarter the films that released did not boast of being high on content, so audiences as well took a decision to avoid patronizing such films. Unlike previous years, 2020 did not have a, what can be said as a highlight release in the first quarter, that eventually becomes a major money-spinner.”
However, though Girish claims that the first quarter of 2020 was bad, he does hold out hope for the coming months. “A number of films have been rescheduled to release later. And once the government clears films to release it might take a few weeks before things get back on track but yes there will be an increase in collections.” However, despite his optimism Johar still maintains a reservation that he explains saying, “Because the release of films were shifted that would mean re-promoting and marketing them, which in turn would increase cost, and not to mention the fight between big releases to capitalize on the prime release dates, and film promotion mediums. So though there will be an increase in collections it will certainly be interesting to watch the coming days.”
Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh too shares a similar point of view saying, “The first three months of 2020 did not feature big ticket releases. And with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic Hollywood studios took the call to push releases to a later date. This is because today films release globally and in the light of the current scenario everything is shut across the globe, so yes the first quarter of 2020 was low key.” As for what the future holds, Taran claims that while it will be bright, it will also be slow to rake in the number. “When theatres open and films start to release apart from major clashes happening the audience will as well be apprehensive to venture into crowded areas, so business will start on a slow note, but as the months progress there will be an increase.”
Year Wise First Quarter Report of Hollywood films at the India box office [All figures are approximate]
2020 – Rs. 50 cr.
2019 – Rs. 125 cr.
2018 – Rs. 75 cr.
2017 – Rs. 135 cr.