The growing 100 crore club
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Recessions come and go, but there's one sector in the media and entertainment industry which is already heralding 2012 as a 'blockbuster year' – films. In the first seven months of the year, at least four films have already crossed the coveted Rs.100-crore mark. This when several big releases are still awaited, like Salman Khan's Ek Tha Tiger, Kareena Kapoor's Heroine, Ranbir Kapoor's Barfi!, Aamir Khan's Talaash, Salman Khan's Dabangg 2 and Ajay Devgn's Son of Sardaar. Aamir Khan and Salman Khan's films usually do well at the box-office. Aamir Khan's Ghajini and 3 Idiots, Salman Khan's Dabangg had all breached the Rs.100-crore mark. The year started well for Bollywood with Hrithik Roshan's Agneepath (a remake of the Amitabh Bachchan classic) grossing Rs.123 crore. Three others, Housefull 2 (Rs.111 crore), UTV's Rowdy Rathore (Rs.134 crore) and Bol Bachchan (Rs.102 crore), also did well. "It's going to be a blockbuster year for the industry," says Pramod Arora, group president, PVR. "June and July have been fantastic and films like Ek Tha Tiger are yet to release," he points out.
Last year, five films entered the Rs.100-crore club — Wanted and Ready (Salman Khan), Ra.One and Don 2 (Shah Rukh Khan) and Singham (Ajay Devgn). In 2011, the film industry was pegged at Rs.9,300 crore and according to KPMG analysts, it is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 10 per cent, to touch Rs.15,000 crore in 2016. With several high budget Hindi releases lined up across the year, 2012 is expected to sustain the growth momentum witnessed in 2011, say the analysts.
There are several reasons for the optimism in films. Arora says Indian consumers are coming-of-age in their film preferences and looking at serious cinema. As a result, 'dark horses', like say, a Vicky Donor (made at a small budget), grossed around Rs.30 crore and Kahaani grossed over Rs.50 crore. A number of regional films, including Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu, too, have done well this year at the box-office. "A large number of people like escapist cinema, especially during tough times. Now with the economy improving, people are willing to watch real cinema. Films that would have been dubbed art-house cinema in the past are now mainstream films," says Arora.