The number of people watching movies in a theatre is dropping alarmingly fast with each passing day. Irrespective of the pre-release promotions and hype, almost 90% of the films are not even getting a good opening at the box office. The month of November 2014 was probably one of the worst for Hindi Cinema, and the dull period continued across January with the only exception being films like ‘PK’, ‘Baby’ and ‘Badlapur’. Even a film like ‘Baby’ with exceptional word-of-mouth and a superstar like Akshay Kumar, failed to cross the 100 crore mark.
So why have people stopped going to theatres like they used to before? Our analysis below..
Rising Ticket Prices: It seems the multiplex culture has done more harm than good to the movie going audience. An average ticket price of Rs 350 has made the audience extremely selective when it comes to planning a movie outing. For a family of four, these kind of rates definitely leave a huge hole in the pockets. It’s not only about ticket prices but also snacks and other refreshments at theatres. A normal salted popcorn + Coke at a PVR Juhu costs Rs 210. A simple outing at a theatre costs a family anywhere between Rs 2000 – 2200.
The decline of Wholesome Cinema: There has been a gradual decline in films that provide Wholesome entertainment (or as we say a ‘paisa vasool’ film). Even today, for a film to do good business all across the country, what works is wholesomely entertaining films. From the time of Manmohan Desai to Rohit Shetty, very little has changed. The audience is the same; they want entertaining films that can be enjoyed with a few laughs and by shedding a few tears. We have scrutinised and over evaluated films and audience, often failing by trying to go different (by creating concept oriented films) or by creating projects (over the top masala films). Rajkumar Hirani has always got it right, because he has kept it simple by understanding basic human emotions and presenting them in a socially relevant way. When the audience feels that a certain movie is ‘value for money’, they wouldn’t mind paying that extra buck to go and enjoy the film in theatre.
Piracy and Genre of the film: Piracy has been another issue that has affected the film industry. The fact that people are watching pirated films is proof enough that people have not lost interest in films, but are disinterested to go to theatres. We feel the genre of the film is one of the key factors that may influence a movie goer to go to the theatres. Today a high concept action film or drama may find its takers but a regular love story will not influence the audience to go to the theatres unless it offers something unique. For instance this year, Baby and Badlapur did reasonably good business (both being action engaging films) and Dum Laga Ke Haisha is being appreciated (being a different love story not the typical guy-girl romance).
Lack of Innovative Marketing: With almost 2 films releasing every week, there is a lack of innovation when it comes to marketing. It seems every production house has a standard template of marketing, wherein they release TV promos, do city visits and schedule regular interviews. The audience notices the same marketing pattern almost every week, there is a need to break away from the routine and do something different when it comes to promotion. Creativity in marketing campaigns is probably as important as creativity in content of films.