The first quarter of Bollywood 2016 having ended on a high note, it's time for some stocktaking. Nearly 28 films hit the big screen from January to March of which only one — Akshay Kumar-starrer 'Airlift' — made its way into the Rs 100 crore club. However, the numbers are far better than that of 2015's first quarter collections of nearly Rs 375 crore with just two of top three films crossing the Rs 50 crore mark. In fact, the total business of the top seven grossers alone comes to around Rs 427 crore.
A still from 'Kapoor & Sons'
Each of three months offered one smash hit — Airlift in January, Neerja in February and 'Kapoor & Sons' in March. Big films like Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar-starrer 'Wazir', Sunny Deol's 'Ghayal Once Again' and Priyanka Chopra's 'Jai Gangaajal' did not exactly set the box office coffers ringing, but they weren't "disasters" per se.
A still from 'Fitoor'
"What was disastrous was Abhishek Kapoor's Fitoor starring Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapur. It has been the biggest setback of the year so far. It was made on a budget of Rs 75 crore, but could recover only one-third of it," says trade pundit Amod Mehra, adding that the industry has had to bear losses of Rs 225-250 crore in the first quarter. "And most of it (Rs 50 crore) came from Fitoor," he points out.
A still from Airlift
The first three months did not have much to offer in terms of star value, but Airlift was special since it not only shattered the dreaded January jinx, but has also managed to remain the top opener of the year, says Mehra (Interestingly, Akshay-starrer Baby had registered the highest collections in the first quarter of 2015 at Rs 95.50 crore).
"After 'Airlift' came 'Neerja', a small budget film which worked wonders at the box office despite lacking the usual ingredients — a quintessential hero, and song and dance sequences. And March had 'Kapoor & Sons', which after a slow start, connected with the audience strongly," he adds.
A still from Neerja
Trade expert Taran Adarsh echoes Mehra and says the first three months of this year were dominated by the sheer power of solid content. "There were a few unsuccessful films too, but Airlift, Neerja and 'Kapoor & Sons' held sway. The real season of biggies begins shortly," he says.
Last week BO
R Balki's 'Ki & Ka' collected Rs 25.23 crore in its opening weekend with most of its earnings coming from urban centres.
Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor in 'Ki and Ka'
"It has emerged as the third highest opener of the year so far, after 'Airlift' and 'Kapoor & Sons'," says trade guru Taran Adarsh. Trade analyst Amod Mehra says the figures were slightly marred by the World T20 final on Sunday."But being a medium budget film, recovery won't be a problem," he adds.
The high fliers
>> Airlift – Rs 127.80 crore
>> Neerja – Rs 75.34 crore
>> Kapoor & Sons – Rs 69.02 crore
>> Wazir – Rs 42 crore
>> Mastizaade – Rs 38.42 crore
>> Jai Gangaajal – Rs 37.50 crore
>> Ghayal Once Again – Rs 36.65 crore