South Indian mega-hits like K.G.F: Chapter 2 and RRR and Disney’s Avatar: The War Of Water helped drive India’s box office to its second biggest year ever in revenue terms in 2022, but the gains are also partly attributed to rising ticket prices as overall admissions are still down on 2019.
Although cinemas were closed in January, India’s total box office revenue reached $1.28BN (Rs106BN) in 2022, according to a report from Ormax Media and GroupM, the second biggest year on record and just a shade off the $1.31BN (Rs109.5BN) achieved in the record-breaking year of 2019.
By contrast, in the first year of the pandemic in 2020, total box office was just $238M (Rs20.6BN) and grew to only $455M (Rs37.7BN) the following year when the Delta variant of Covid-19 hit India.
However, admissions only reached 892M in 2022, compared to 1.03BN in 2019, the highest year on record. Referred to as “footfalls” in the Indian film industry, the admissions figure hadn’t dipped below 900M in the five years leading up to the pandemic.
At the same time, the average ticket price increased to $1.44 (Rs119) in 2022, an increase of 12% on the average of $1.28 (Rs106) in 2019, which Ormax attributed to an increase in market share of big ticket and event films across all languages.
Kannada-language hit K.G.F: Chapter 2 was the top-grossing film of the year with $117.13M, followed by Telugu-language RRR with $104.94M and Avatar: The Way Of Water with $56.88M (see Top Ten chart below).
However, the highest-grossing Hindi-language film, Disney’s Brahmastra: Part 1 – Shiva, only ranked sixth in the top ten, in stark contrast to pre-pandemic times when Hindi films dominated the box office.
While Hindi films were still the highest-grossing grossing category overall with $424M (Rs35BN), the Ormax report found that their market share was reduced from 44% in 2019 to just 33% in 2022. In addition, around 32% of the Hindi market share was attributed to the Hindi dubbed versions of South Indian films, including KGF: Chapter 2, RRR and Kantara.
Telugu films were the second biggest category with $259M (Rs21.45BN) and had the biggest gain in market share, increasing from 13% in 2019 to 20% last year.
Tamil films, driven by hits including Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1, Vikram and Beast, were the third biggest category with $208M (Rs17.24BN), increasing market share from 13% to 16%.
Despite the success of Avatar, the market share of Hollywood films declined from 15% in 2019 to 12% last year, with a combined gross of $148.5M (Rs12.3BN), reflecting the US studios’ reduced release calendar in the wake of the pandemic. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness was the second biggest Hollywood film with $20M, followed by Thor: Love And Thunder with $15.9M.
Hindi films recorded admissions of 189M in 2022, compared to 341M in 2019. In contrast, admissions to Telugu films reached 233M last year, compared to 182M in 2019, and Tamil films grew to 205M admissions compared to 194M.
Meanwhile, 2023 is off to a strong start for Hindi films with Pathaan, starring Shah Rukh Khan, taking around $60M net in India alone since its January 25 release. Hopes are also high for Salman Khan’s first big theatrical outing since pre-pandemic days, Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, which is scheduled for release on April 21, coinciding with the Eid holidays.
INDIA BOX OFFICE TOP TEN 2022:
Title (language) US$ (Rupees)
Gross box office of each film in all languages it was released
- K.G.F: Chapter 2 (Kannada) $117.13M (Rs9.7BN)
- RRR (Telugu) $104.94M (Rs8.69BN)
- Avatar: The Way Of Water (English) $56.88M (Rs4.71BN)
- Kantara (Kannada) $43.71M (Rs3.62BN)
- Ponniyin Selvan – Part 1 (Tamil) $38.64M (Rs3.2BN)
- Brahmastra: Part 1 – Shiva (Hindi) $36.95M (Rs3.06BN)
- The Kashmir Files (Hindi) $35.26M (Rs2.92BN)
- Vikram (Tamil) $34.42M (Rs2.85BN)
- Drishyam 2 (Hindi) $34.42M (Rs2.85BN)
- Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (Hindi) $26.2M (Rs2.17BN)
Source: Ormax Media
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