Films And Economics

Posted by Rahul Thapa in Media
January 7, 2017

Indian cinema has come a long way from the first silent film of Raja Harishchandra in 1913 to the latest releases of 2017 and beyond.

The ever excited Indian cinema goers comprising mostly youngsters and family spend a minimum of at least a quarter on entertainment. Moreover, such has been the tenacity and eagerness to out-do one another, that a weekly Friday release is expected to make ₹100 crores at the least. Irrespective of whether the movie works or bombs.

The economics of movies are very intriguing and always astronomical. The Aamir Khan starter Dangal has already earned ₹320 crores in its 15th day. Such are the high risks and returns that producers and financiers won’t mind pumping crores in a Rajnikant movie as it guarantees a more than sizeable return.

Because of the franticity and the larger than life image, the movie stars can easily make ₹100 crores in a 3 movie deal. In a recent Times of India report, Hrithik Roshan is said to have signed a whopping ₹550 crore 5 movie deal. This is not the only way the new economics of movies work. Movie Stars are now producing the very movies they are acting in, guaranteeing safer returns. Satellite rights, which involve giving the right to broadcast movies on television channels has become another guaranteed way to rake in cash. Salman Khan has recently signed a jaw-dropping ₹1000 crores for satellite rights of his films with a television channel.

As per 2013 statistics compiled by Deloitte, it is estimated that the entertainment industry contributes nearly ₹50 thousand crores, estimating to nearly 0.5 percent of the GDP of 2013.

As per Forbes, Bollywood beats Hollywood in cinema ticket sales and releases. Bollywood churned out 1602 movies in 2012, as compared to 476 in the United States and 745 of China. In the same year, Hollywood sold 1.36 billion tickets compared to Bollywood’s mammoth 2.6 billion. However in terms of revenue, Hollywood beats Bollywood hands down, taking up 10.8 billion USD, compared to our 1.6 billion USD.

However, behind the glaze, there are several nuances and technicalities of filmmaking. According to Richa Jaiswal, a student of Mass Communications, it is very difficult to compare Bollywood and Hollywood. Both have waves, as in periods, and every wave has its own crests and trough. Moreover, filmmaking is definitely an art more than science that involves conceptualization of ideas and innumerable brainstorming sessions which are then scripted and finally enacted.

A normal movie budget these days depends on the genre – art, commercial or sci-fi. Depending on which, there are further inputs like special effects and surroundings. Moreover, with the changing connoisseur like tastes of the cinema lovers, directors and producers are willing to think outside the box either by having Aamir Kahn or Sunny Leone in the lead or cameo.

Movies create jobs, either directly or indirectly, adding to the economics of the industry either in the form of technicians and crew or through a vendor selling his wares near a shoot.

Besides the tickets sales and post-production as avenues that earn income, movies have also been an attractive forum for brand integration or classic advertising where a product is displayed through a movie scene enabling wider reach in the audience. A movie’s earnings are further strengthened either by selling their rights to TV channels and either by their featured stars going for film promotions.

However, movies have such an alluring effect that it encompasses more to just than economics. For example, the recent Aamir Kahn starter Dangal not only gave a massive flip to women wrestling but has also changed societal concepts in a patriarchal setup where young girls are looking up to wrestling as a career to emulate either a Geeta Phogat or Sakshi Malik. Cinema can also educate and leave a lasting impression, either through patriotism, like Rang De Basanti, or like an issue of sexual violence, such as in the case of Pink.

As Bollywood celebrated its 100 years, it is imperative to note that it has come a long way and it’s the tireless work of the film fraternity and the unending appreciation of the film lovers that we can boast about Oscar winners and our very own James Bond.

The article has been co-written by a friend Richa Jaiswal who has studied at St. Xaviers college Kolkata and was a student of Mass Communications and videography.