Bheja Fry : Can you please compare box-office economics of different era?

Q: Can you please compare box-office economics of different era?

A:   After 1980, movies started releasing on all India bases. Metros and big cities of interiors theaters start getting parallel screening of movies on first week itself. Around 150-200 prints were released during 1980-1990. Number of prints increased further in 90’s for up to 350. As of now as many as 1500 prints released for any big movie. But hold on; now let’s calculate the real capacity in terms of footfalls.  Single screens hold average capacity of 800 seats.  In 90’s if any movie released on 300 prints, total capacity in terms of audience was approx. 2, 40,000 for entire week.

Where-as multiplexes hold an average capacity of 200 seats. If movie released on average 600 digital prints (for multiplexes) and 150 prints for single screens, It means Audience capacity for 600*200 = 120,000 for multiplexes and 120000 for single screens. This makes total audience capacity of 2, 40,000. This is exactly same as if movie release in 300 single screens alone. So basically Audience capacity of 100 single screen release = Audience capacity of 400 Multiplex prints.

Now come to ticket price, average ticket rates in 90’s was around Rs. 8/-. In 2010 Average ticket price is Rs. 100/- (Single Screen inclusive). So basically business should be approx. 12 times more. If occupancy rates remain same as of 90’s, First week collections for any movie released on 300 prints with 70%+ business was around 3.5 Crore. With similar occupancy rates, first week business of any movie with 600 prints at multiplexes and 150 single screen prints should be around 42 Crore. 

With 750 prints release, best business in recent time was around 30 Crore. This is pretty much 12 crore less than average business of 90’s standards. Now come to second most dangerous part. There was great trending of movie in pre – 80’s and 90’s. We lost that trending now and industry best standard is 50% fall every week which is considered as consistent. It means any movie which was opened at 3.5 crore in 90’s was well ended upto 10-11 crore has now been reduced to 2.5 Crore opening and end at 5-6 Crore Maximum (Or you can say 30 Crore opening and end at 60-72 Crore maximum, but as per 90’s standard it should opened with 42 crore and end at 130-140 Crore).

Above analysis break the misconception that movies are now doing great business due to huge screenings in first week itself and hence returns are great in first three days which was not the case before multiplex era. Fact is that there’s hardly any difference of audience capacity of 90’s release and 2010 release. Despite equal capacity, now movies lost good trending  with pathetic volume of audience who watch movie in theaters. In general, A super hit movie of 80’s and 90’s was watched by around 10-12 Crore audience. For example 90’s super hit movie HAHK which collected approx. 65 Crore was watched by 12 Crore audience. In 2010 Mega blockbuster Three idiots which collected 200 Crore at box-office has seen merely 4.5 Crore audience attendance.

Now we need to check if Average ticket rate of Rs. 100/- today is far more than Rs. 8/- of 90’s. If we go by currency value, Rs 8/- of 90’s is approx Rs. 45/- Now (if we go by many methods of standard conversion). So ticket prices are just 55% higher, but overall business is 500%+ lower.  Average cost of movie  in 90’s was 5-9 Crore. In current scenario it comes to 30-50 Crore approx (This is also normal budget of any big movie now). So basically investment is quite same, but returns are approx. 500% lower.

— BollyBusiness

~ by Yakuza on April 19, 2010.

23 Responses to “Bheja Fry : Can you please compare box-office economics of different era?”

  1. As per a Delhi distributor “Ghajini was seen by 4 cr people. 3 Idiots by 7-8 cr people.” Proof inside –

    Don’t buy the 2.5 cr audience attendance for 3 Idiots as well as 12 cr attendence for HAHK. That means the average ticket cost was Rs. 5 for HAHK? No way !! Even if you consider 40% tax, the cost of ticket overall comes to 8 Rs. No way !!

    I saw 3 Idiots for 110 Rs. in a high end Multiplex in Mumbai on a weekend (No discounts). Avg. ticket prices in India will be much less than 100 Rs. as prices in small centers will not be so much.

    • That was typo, its 4.5 Crore audience. And yes, In 1994 ticket price at single screens were in range of Rs. 8/- .

      BTW jeevcy, There is no intention to degrade any movie with this article. Specially when i am huge fan of 3I. You are missing key point of this article and concentrating on side kick which was just a typo.
      Above analysis is to show that how capacity of audience has not been changed since last two decades. And how business of movies now performing like flop movies of 90’s. Just average start and massive crash on subsequent weeks is story of every other release.

    • Basically, ticket prices was Rs. 8/- for balcony , Rs. 5 for Stalls in interiors. In metros Rs. 20/- for balcony, Rs. 8-12/- for stalls. Satyam cineplex, delhi was first cinema in delhi which screen HAHK @ticket price of Rs. 25/- for balcony and Rs. 15/- for stalls and these were increased rates which comes to normal prices after 8 weeks. HAHK ran for 42 weeks in satyam, delhi. Interiors were strictly as high as Rs. 8/- for balcony.

  2. Film distributor Sanjay Ghai, who looks after big movie territories of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, said this is the most-watched movie they would ever have seen in their lifetime.

    “If Ghajini was watched by over 4 crore people to make it a hit, this movie would have been watched by 7-8 crore people by the time it ends its run.

    Film trade analyst Komal Nahata said Three Idiots could safely be called the movie of the decade.

  3. these r idiots who want to degrade 3I.3I has been watched by 6 crore.sholay was also watched by 6 cr.HAHK wld be 5-5.5 cr.these r fake nos making ppl fool.i remember watching HAHK with ticket price of 20 with my family.5 rs waala rate sholay time par body is going this non sense of urs.jeevcy y not coming on indiafm these days.missing u there

  4. jeevcy and saurabh, you guys are really who are ignoring calc facts and quoting media articles as proof, even aamir told in his interview that 3i is wathed by 2.5 crore aud

  5. jasmine: please provide link as proof or stop showing your stupidity.

    Another proof of 3 idiots being watched by 6 cr

  6. More people have watched 3 Idiots in two weeks than any other film so far.
    – Planet Bollywood

  7. MNIK is out of theatres in Mumbai, but 3 idiots is still running.(source:

  8. great article.well done.we will never find this type of great articles any where.

  9. excellent analysis though the numbers could be skewed. a great insight into the workings of the film industry.

  10. Thanks boss for clearing all airs, Your numbers might be monir here or there, but message of this article is very much clear. Now very less people went to cinema to watch movie. I am damn sure that even Raja Hindistani was bigger Hit than 3I. Its not that 3I is any lesser success, 3I has great success and miles above the contemporaries, but Audience attendance at 90’s was definetly much more.

    • HAHK was seen by every other family in theater only. I don’t see any other movie after HAHK which is seen by family audience in bulk. Even today if you ask any family in india who see quite less movies and ask them which was your last movie in theater, In worst case reply will come HAHK. I mean even if someone has stopped watching movies, HAHK was still seen by everyone.

    • LMAO !!! Raja Hindustani? HAHK? KKHH? DDLJ?

      3I is a bigger hit than Sholay as per trade pundits !! So no question it is the biggest hit all time !

      • absolutely,though it may not be bigger hit thsn sholay but def bigger than DDLJ,KKHH which were not even universal hits.I think 3I is on par with HAHK for me.

  11. I do agree that HAHK was seen by a lot of people as families went in numbers to watch the movie…but then to say that it was watched by 12 crore people is a bit unreasonable….from what i gather is that ghajini was watched by 2.5 crore people….3 idiots was watched by 4.5 crore people….in comparison to these two movies the notion that hahk was watched by 12 crore people seems a bit unreasonable…though i can’t present facts but then it is not rocket science ….yes if 3 idiots would have been watched by around 7-8 crore people then u would have said tht the 12 crore figure for hahk is somewhat correct…but as of know it is not believable……>

  12. wow….if these figures are true then it shows that Aamir is definately the most loved actor in India…..imagine the amount of poeple who will go to watch his nxt movie which will release after 2yrs in 2011.

  13. @Yakuza
    Have you taken the number of shows into consideration. Single screens have four shows in a day. 10,3,6,9. A Multiplex would have 18-22 shows of a big budget movie like 3 Idiots. So if you take the capacity of single screens to be 4 times that of a multiplex, the number of shows in a multiplex is 5 times that of a single screen. So more no. of people watch movie in a day in a multiplex (200*20=4000) compared to a single screen (800*4=3200) if the occupancy is the same by a good 20%.
    And now usually only one single screen theater in a city would screen a particular movie (except in the A centers) however all the multiplexes in a particular city would screen that particular movie. e.g. In Chandigarh, a big movie would screen in 1 or at the most 2 single screen theaters. However it will be screened in 5 multiplexes. Ditto for Ludhiana and Amritsar. I am taking e.g. from Punjab because thats where i am from. So in Chandigarh, a big movie say 3 Idiots or MNIK would have had a footfall of 6400(2*800*4=6400) but now it would have a footfall of 20,000(5*200*20=20,000) and that is even if we don’t consider the single screens.
    This directly translates into trending. For e.g. if 1 lac people have to watch a movie then 90s scenario would take around 16 days for all of them to see it. Today’s scenario however would take only 5 days. So when people claim that movies do their business in first week, they are not entirely wrong.
    I know i have taken a situation which might not consider all the variables, but i am sure you have not considered all the variables either. And the difference is not as much as you have claimed.
    As far as tickets prices are concerned, in your post you have mentioned that Ticket Prices in interiors were Rs 5 for Stall and 8 for Balcony And 20 for balcony and 10 for stall in metros. There is no way the average price would come out to be Rs 8 by any statistical calculations. It would definitely by close to 10.
    I was born in 84 and i have been watching movies as far as i can remember. People normally used to watch movies on VCR as the original cassette used to release along with the theatrical release. It only changed around HAHK and DDLJ. And as far as i can remember the ticket prices in the city where i was born (C centre) were 25 for balcony, 15 for upper stall and 10 for lower stall.
    And btw long time yakuza. Whats up??

    • Hey claustrophobic, How are you buddy ? Good to see you after long time .. with loooongg comment as well … 🙂

      About confusion of screens/prints etc. if movie is showing at 4 screens of particular PVR, it means 4 different screens. it is not counted as one screen.

      Similarly one print can accommodate one screen only (max two if movie is too short). or you can say one print can accommodate running time of 12 hours only. so if movie is 2.5 hours long. there can be maximum 4-5 shows screened with this print.

      basically number of prints ~ +/- 10% of number of screens.

      About rates of tickets , Rs. 25/- for balcony in C grade center was post millennium. Even i owned single screen in C grade center (up to 2005), our last ticket price in 2005 was Rs. 35/- for balcony. At the moment cinema of similar scale in our city has Rs. 50/- ticket for balcony.

      ” in your post you have mentioned that Ticket Prices in interiors were Rs 5 for Stall and 8 for Balcony And 20 for balcony and 10 for stall in metros. There is no way the average price would come out to be Rs 8 by any statistical calculations. It would definitely by close to 10.”

      There are around 11000 single screens in india out of which 8000 are in interiors. so you can judge easily how Rs. 8/- comes as an average.

      • Well you are the expert. So i think i will have to comply. Since it was not mentioned it in the original post, thought might as well bring it up.
        Yeah long time. I am fine and hope the same for you. I haven’t been online in a long time. I checked the site a few times in between but i think it wasn’t being updated then as the same article by sharmila used to be there. Good to see the regular updates now. Cheers

  14. Footfall comparisions are between Single Screens in the 90s(6400) and multiplexes today(20,000).
    If i take single screen along with multiplex for today in Chandigarh, it would take only 4 days for 1 lac people to see a given movie compared to 16 days in the 90s considering hypothetical 100% occupancy

  15. Nice article, thanks.

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