The multiplex boom saw huge growth in Bollywood business over the last decade, i.e., 2001-2010. This momentum continued till 2013, backed by year-on-year hike in ticket prices and wider releases for big films.
However, the most important measure of a film industry’s long-term health is not the box office business but the footfalls it generates. The chart below shows how Bollywood’s footfalls in the domestic market (India) have moved from 2011-2016.
After a peak of 32.8 crore footfalls in 2013, there has been a decline year-on-year. Despite Dangal, 2016 ended at 29.6 crore footfalls, which is 10% lower than the 2013 peak. Increase in ticket prices has cushioned the impact, and it the box-office revenue has been stagnant at the Rs. 2700 crore nett mark. But the drop in footfalls, if not reversed soon, can have a long-term damaging impact on the industry, as it could mean that audiences lose the habit of going to theatres in the first place. In the digital era where low-cost alternatives, pirated and legal, are readily available, this could spell trouble.
Let’s hope 2017 changes the trendline and crosses the 2013 number.