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BW Businessworld

After Blockbuster November, Bollywood Heads For Cheerful Christmas

For Salman Khan, 2015 is probably one of those years in which he featured in the two biggest box-office grossers, Bajrangi Bhaijan and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo

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The month of November has been extremely good for the business of Bollywood films with the gross box-office collections exceeding Rs 250 crore and counting. Also, November is only the second month in this calendar year after July when the box-office collections have exceeded Rs 200 crore led by Salman Khan’s films Bajrangi Bhaijaan (released in July) and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo (released in November).

According to film trade experts and based on weekend bookings for the new Ranbir Kapoor-Deepika Padukone starrer Tamasha that released on November 27, 2015, November could end up generating around Rs 300 crore worth of business or over 20 per cent of the overall expected to be generated in 2015 calendar year. “Back of envelope calculation shows that so far between Bollywood and Hollywood releases the overall collections may have crossed Rs 1,100-1,200 crore. With Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale and Ranveer-Deepika-Priyanka starrer Bajirao Mastani to come on December 18, the business is expected to touch Rs 1,500 crore or more in this calendar year,” says a Mumbai-based distributor and trade analyst.

November’s splendid collections are led once again by Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo (PRDP) which crossed Rs 200 crore in collections a few days ago. The next big release of November has been Spectre, the James Bond film which has now become the biggest grosser among the past four Bond releases. Spectre is said to have grossed over Rs 47 crore and was the widest distributed Hollywood release to have hit the screens. It was released in four languages – English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. According to one executive who works in a leading multiplex chain, the dubbed version of Bond has contributed one-third to the overall collections specially is tier-II and tier-III towns. It continues to run in over half of the 1,250 screens in which is was released on November 20, insiders said.

Around 90 Hindi films have released so far with only around half a dozen films grossing in excess of Rs 100 crore. According to film trade experts, only seven or eight Hindi release this year have managed to generate over 100 per cent returns on investment including PRDP. Between January and December-end, around 105 Hindi films are slated to be released.

Salman starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan is the only Hindi film this year to have grossed over Rs 300 crore in domestic box office collections as well has earned almost three times its input cost. Next in line is also a Salman starrer PRDP. For Salman, 2015 is probably one of those years in which he featured in the two biggest box-office grossers.

So far, 2015 has turned out to be an 'average' year for the business of Bollywood especially on the parameters of collections, return on investments and profit/loss.

This year has also seen some smaller budget films generating higher returns. These include films like NH10, Badlapur, Dolly Ki Doli and Piku among others released earlier or the recently released Hindi films like Talvar and Jazbaa - both released in October and a week apart. Last month released Jazbaa which marked the return of actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on the big screen after five years was in the genre of thriller while Talvar, a film made in the style of a docu-drama by filmmaker Meghna Gulzar and based on the sensational Arushi Talwar murder case, found rave reviews from cinema lovers for its tight script and presentation style. Both films are said to have made money at the box office, exhibitors said.

According to trade analyst Komal Nahata, Bollywood is upbeat about Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani. "All the three films are eagerly awaited by the audiences. I would say around Rs 400-500 crore is riding on these films," he said recently. Reports suggest Dilwale's production budget is Rs 95 crore while Bajirao Mastani is said to have incurred a cost of Rs 70-80 crore. It seems just like Diwali, Christmas too may turn out to be the money spinner period for Bollywood after all.