2011 was a year that saw Bollywood box office thrive like never before. New records were set, new benchmarks created. However, a large part of this growth came from the ‘opening weekend’ phenomenon. Very few films sustained beyond the first week to emerge as true content-driven hits. The year was more about star power and hype, than about ‘cinema’ itself.
I know it has bothered many that while the industry recorded its best business by far in 2011 (about 25-30% higher than 2010), there were only 2-3 films in the year that are likely to survive the test of time.
The good news is that 2012 has already broken the trend that was dangerously becoming the norm. The chart below tells its own story. The films is red were the top 10 films of 2011 on Word Of Mouth (WOM). The score represents % viewers who felt they will strongly recommend the film to their friends. While one can question public taste, these score are still a better representation of content feedback than the box office numbers, because a film’s WOM score is not influenced by its opening weekend performance at all.
In blue, you see the three films from 2012 that have made it to the combined top 10 list of the two years. It’s been less than three months and the ‘best’ film of 2011 has already been topped by Kahaani. Paan Singh Tomar is in the top 3, while the more star-driven Agneepath is at joint no. 4.
If this trend continues, 2012 may wipe out 2011 by the time we reach mid-year. In any case, the weekend business continues to grow, reaching higher levels with each passing month. Are we in a year that will see a further 25-30% growth in business, as well as a few solid, content-based success stories?
Seems like it. Touch wood!
PS: Data is still being collected on Kahaani and Paan Singh Tomar, and the eventual WOM scores may vary slightly from the ones above.