'A good pipeline of movies is fuelling this trend of revenge consumption.'
April promises to be as exciting as March was for Bollywood, going by the strong lineup of films and advance booking of tickets for films like K.G.F: Chapter 2.
K.G.F. 2, above, which released on April 14, has already seen advance bookings cross Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) since Thursday, when counters opened for it.
K.G.F.2, like RRR, is a regional film, featuring a mix of southern and Bollywood stars. It released across the country -- and overseas -- in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
Last month, RRR had seen advance bookings of Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million), say multiplex industry sources, implying that the excitement around K.G.F.2 is even more.
RRR had helped Bollywood cross Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) in box office collections in March, along with movies such as The Kashmir Files, Bachchhan Paandey, Radhe Shyam and Jhund.
"April could see the trend of strong ticket sales continue for Bollywood, if you go by the buzz and rush for advance bookings for blockbusters such as K.G.F: Chapter 2," says Devang Sampat, chief executive officer, Cinepolis India, a multiplex chain.
"I will not be surprised if the box collections cross Rs 500 crore for the second month in a row."
April will also see the theatrical release of movies such as Jersey, featuring Shahid Kapoor, Runway 34 (Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan), and Heropanti 2 (Tiger Shroff, who plays a vigilante in the movie).
Multiplex operators say Jersey could turn out to be a sleeper hit like Kabir Singh was in 2019. Kabir Singh featured Kapoor in the titular role of a medical student.
Runway 34 and Heropanti 2 are much-awaited films.
Devgn was last seen in Sooryavanshi (November 2021), Gangubai Kathiawadi (February 2022) and RRR.
Bachchan's last film, Jhund, had him essaying the role of a retired sports teacher.
Film exhibitors and distributors say the industry is witnessing what can be termed "revenge consumption" after months of Covid restrictions.
"For two years, the industry bore the brunt of Covid," says Shyam Shroff, chairman, Shringar Films, a Mumbai-based film distribution company.
"Now, as restrictions have been eased and life has returned to near normal, people want to go back to theatres to watch films. A good pipeline of movies is fuelling this trend of revenge consumption."
Rahul Kadbet, vice president, programming, Carnival Cinemas, another multiplex chain, says the months of May and June also promise to be strong for the Indian film industry.
"The April-June period has a strong lineup due to a backlog of movies. For instance, Hollywood films Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Jurassic World Dominion will be released in May and June, respectively," Kadbet says.
"These films will be released in Hindi, English and regional languages for a wider audience. At the same time, there are movies in Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi and southern languages that will release over the next two months."
In addition, there are Hindi films such as Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (starring Kartik Aaryan) and Dhaakad (Kangana Ranaut) in May, and Maidaan (Devgn) and Prithviraj (Akshay Kumar) in June.
"In short, there is no dearth of content across segments," says Kadbet.
Industry trackers say that financial year 2022-2023 could see most quarters doing well for the movie industry owing to pent-up demand and a steady stream of good content.
High ticket prices do not appear to be a hindrance with select exhibitors in the south and west quoting figures such as Rs 1,500-Rs 2,000 per person for tickets of blockbusters such as K.G.F.2.