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Big Screens Pivot to Cricket as Bollywood Box Office Flops

shah rukh khan

Bollywood’s recent string of flops has sent shockwaves through the film industry, affecting not just actors and producers but also cinema theatre owners. As big-budget spectacles fail spectacularly at the box office (BO), exhibitors are now looking for other safe bets to bring in the masses and the moolah.

Cricket Takes Center Stage

Multiplex chain Cinepolis, with 461 screens across the country, has announced a partnership with Star Sports to broadcast the upcoming T20 World Cup on the big screen. Starting June 5th, 40 Cinepolis cinema halls will beam all the India matches, as well as the semi-finals and finals of the ICC tournament, held in the US and Caribbean.

“We believe that big matches deserve the big screen, and this association ensures that fans can experience the thrill of cricket in a truly immersive and communal environment. Our state-of-the-art facilities and commitment to customer satisfaction will make watching these matches a memorable experience for all cricket lovers,” said Devang Sampat, managing director of Cinepolis India.

Bollywood’s Box Office Struggles

What Sampat didn’t mention was the severe hit Bollywood films have taken in recent months. Big-budget films like “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” (BMCM) and “Maidaan” have been disasters at the BO, forcing exhibitors to worry about balancing their books.

In 2023, Bollywood saw a resurgence with high-octane action films like Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan and Jawan, both breaching the 1,000 crore rupees mark in worldwide BO collections. Ranbir Kapoor’s “Animal,” despite criticism from gender activists, earned 900 crores. This led many to believe that big-screen cinema had emerged from the pandemic’s shadow and the challenge of OTT platforms.

However, 2024 has proven this joy to be short-lived. BMCM, despite a star cast of Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, struggled to get past the 60 crore rupees mark domestically, despite a budget of 350 crore rupees. Similarly, “Maidaan,” starring Ajay Devgn, barely made Rs 50 crore on a reported budget of Rs 250 crore. “Yodha,” starring Sidharth Malhotra, made Rs 53 crore, still short of its Rs 55 crore budget. Even “Fighter,” considered the biggest Bollywood hit of the year, may have made Rs 337 crore, but the return on investment is narrow considering its reported budget of Rs 250 crore.

The Rise of Regional Cinema

While Bollywood struggles, regional cinema, particularly Malayalam films, have seen stunning success with sleeper hits like “Manjummel Boys,” which cost Rs 20 crore to make but earned upwards of Rs 240 crore. However, for nationwide exhibitors, this success is cold comfort as they need pan-Indian appeal to consistently pull in the crowds.

Alternative Content in Theatres

As a result, theatre chains like PVR Inox are exploring alternative content. PVR Inox, which reported losses of 130 crore rupees in the January-March quarter, is expected to look at more non-film content. Recently, they have resorted to re-screening classics like “Titanic” and “DDLJ,” and repeats of Oscar winners like “Oppenheimer” and “Dune,” given the weak lineup of new releases.

The latest announcement from Cinepolis to broadcast the T20 World Cup is part of this trend. By offering cricket on the big screen, Cinepolis aims to draw crowds back to theatres and boost revenues.

The Hope for a Bollywood Revival

In the unpredictable world of cinema, all it takes is one big hit to turn fortunes around. Theatre owners are pinning their hopes on upcoming film releases, with much anticipation for Telugu’s “Pushpa 2” to provide the happy ending they are hoping for. 

As we gear up for this exciting finale, CricAdvisor is your ultimate destination for all IPL updates, expert analysis, and post-match reviews. Whether you’re a die-hard KKR fan or cheering for SRH, this final match promises to be a spectacular display of cricketing excellence. 


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