'Kerala has done exceptionally well in first half; Kantara, Pushpa 2 to be blockbusters': PVR INOX CEO Kamal Gianchandani I Exclusive

08 June,2024 12:55 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Athulya Nambiar

PVR INOX CEO and MAI President Kamal Gianchandani speaks to mid-day.com about the contribution of regional cinema audience to the box office

Kantara and Pushpa 2 stills

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The box office business in the last couple of years has not been predictable. While some big scale movies have failed to perform, other content-driven small-budget films have left all surprised. However, PVR Inox CEO Kamal Gianchandani says that they are comfortable with the box office performance of films across India in the past two years. "I would say that a lot of big films or medium films have exceeded expectations. 'Gadar 2' being one of them and 'Oh My God' too. Even 'Animal' exceeded expectations by a huge margin. We are comfortable with what we've had in the last two years. We believe the content cycle has caught up. When we talk to our producers, almost everyone is busy with multiple films in this state," he said talking to mid-day.com exclusively.

'South audience are loyal movie goers':

The contribution of South cinema has also been immense in the last few years with several films being loved by even non-native speakers. Malayalam cinema alone has managed to do a business of Rs 1000 crore in the first five months of 2024 which is a massive feat for the small-sized industry. Reflecting on the same, Kamal says, "I must say that our audiences based in South of India, which is Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu are much more loyal theater goers as compared to the rest of the country. With that background Kerala has done exceptionally well in the first half of this year. We've had back-to-back hits. and we've got a slew of Malayalam films coming in the next five or six months."

"We expect Kantara: Chapter 1 to be a big blockbuster. So Kannada cinema will also see some robust numbers later this year. I think this is mainly because of the loyalty and the audience being a part of the social fabric and social conversation. As a result, the occupancies in the south of India are much higher than in north, west, central or east India. And as a result, the growth in cinema screens is much more in the south of India for most cinema operators. Growth is also a function of real estate development but given a choice, every cinema operator wants to dig deeper, go deeper in the south of India," he added.

The North-South content debate on the big screen:

While more and more audience from western and norther part of India is consuming content from South India, the vice versa trend is not as much. When asked about the consumption pattern of Hindi cinema in the south, Gianchandani said, "Firstly, Pan India audiences consuming films coming out of Tamil, Telugu or Malayalam or Kannada industry is a trend which is here to stay. It is a trend which will only get bigger and bigger as we move forward this year. There is 'Kantara: Chapter 1' and then there is Pushpa 2 which could turn out to be the biggest film this year."

"All of these films have become pan-India films. These are pan-India brands. We see the same opportunity for Hindi films, striking a chord with film audiences in the Southern part of India. Of course, that trend is much smaller. It's the gap between the two- the South Indian films penetrating to the other parts of the country versus Hindi films penetrating the South of India. The gap is quite a lot and it's in favour of South Indian films penetrating the rest of the country. But we believe this gap will come down. The South Indian segment will keep getting bigger, but Hindi will also catch up," he added.

On re-releases:

The trend of films re-releasing in theatres has been well received by movie lovers. Time and again, movie fests are announced with old blockbusters being screened in theatres. This gives an opportunity to movie lovers to experience their favourite movies on the big screen. "We've always done this for the last 20 years. We've regularly, repeatedly done this in different chains. PVR Inox has been at the forefront of this initiative. It's getting noticed this year, but we've been doing it for many years and it is profitable. It's important to get all segments of audiences back to cinema, whether they like brand new films, bigger films, smaller films, medium films, old films, re-releases," he said adding,"We want to give them every possible reason to keep coming back to theatres."

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