Bollywood Box Office Unplugged-II: Winners and losers among the 2012 releases

Who were the Survivors (the workhorses), Fakestars (work for the industry too but not so much for the audience), Rockstars, (as they are low-budget winners) and the duds for the fist half of 2012 


In the first six months of 2012, 35 Hindi films were released, of which 33 reported their box office (BO) numbers and the remaining probably sank without a trace. As we pointed out in the first part, the frenzied hype that accompanies a movie’s release is purely commercial. Influencing reviews to get better ratings is a part of this. Let’s see how it works.


We analysed the movie ratings of as many as 33 reviewers for each movie. We then looked at the drop in BO business from the first week to the second as an indicator of public verdict. We then included a third dimension of total movie business to build a complete perspective on the movie in a single snapshot. (See graph: Jan-Jun 2012: Business, Reviews, People’s verdict) There is a whole alternate business revenue stream of music rights, satellite rights, merchandizing agreements, in-film advertising that is not the subject of this analysis.


We then classified the whole set. The Rockstars are those that were high on reviewers’ and peoples’ choice—they received high ratings and also sustained business in the second week (see graph). The Survivors are movies that received average ratings but survive to retain the audience interest and do not drop more than a third in the second week. The Duds are movies that simply fail to take off with both viewers and reviewers. And finally there are the Fakestars—which generate huge BO business in the first week, only to crash over 70% in the second week. These are over-hyped movies and, but a curious co-incidence, their names provide clues to this category. 



The viewers guide to the categories: Rockstars, Survivors, Fakestars and Duds


In terms of business for the entire industry, Survivors are the workhorses—they are not stars though, not high on critics list, but just good for an average laugh by the masses. Fakestars work for the industry too but not so much for the audience. Rockstars, especially as they are low-budget, are the ones we could do with more of. Duds—let us not waste time on them. 



Good, large production houses play safe with big movies to ensure they are Survivors—big bankable stars, tested formula, item songs, prime release dates, zero or low competition from other movies, secured by marketing, etc—all this often prevents them from being Duds by just a whisker.


The distribution channels



Based on channel structure, ownership, market size, local issues and movie-related factors there is a full treatise possible on territory level insights. We restrict our focus to the BO (Pie chart: Collections: Jan-Jun 2012), but even a quick glance shows heavy dependence on just two key regions in terms of revenues.


Corporate entry into Bollywood was expected to bring in such professionalism. It has indeed cured some ills but has also introduced others. We need introspection on how to connect the dots to create win-win movies. What good is a good Bollywood movie without a sequel?


In concluding part we look at movie reviewers and their performance. Which ones understand popular choice of movies and who are the ones that take viewers for a ride? Watch for the details.

(Sandeep Khurana is the founder and principal consultant, QuantLeap Consulting services, based at Hyderabad. An ex-army officer, he is well-read and experienced in government and corporate sectors. Sandeep holds a management degree from Indian School of Business. He has interest in social media, analytics and operations. He likes to watch all good movies. He can be reached at [email protected] or his twitter id is @IQnEQ.)

1 decade ago
excellent observation.
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