What matters most is the content and movie-goers today like watching all-in-one films, which should have some drama, a strong storyline and a good climax. Films with big actors seem to work only because of their name but sustain only if the film has a strong script and storyline. Today, people focus more on the storyline regardless of the genre and type of film.
It was only a matter of time before audience preferences began to evolve, and one obvious change is that once hugely popular masala films don’t work any longer. Having said that, new-age cinema, women-centric films and niche films are appreciated by only 20 per cent of the audience while the rest are still into films that deliver action and entertainment.
Movie-goers are still hooked to superstars and action films, like South Indian or Hollywood films. Perhaps, when they are presented with a variety of films and content, movie-goers may become more accepting of other kinds of films. Lately, Dangal grabbed a lot of attention as it was a complete entertainer and it also connected with people.
Offbeat movies are doing really well but when it comes to box-office collections, only masala films work. The thing is, new-age films and artistic films work only in metro cities, where people have class and taste. Here, people are still interested more in comedy and action films with a big star cast.
Nowadays, high-content films are in demand whereas, earlier, only comedy or action worked. In the current scenario, people are accepting different films like Airlift, Neerja, Rustom and Kapoor & Sons, which have garnered great appreciation. However, in our sector, niche audiences are not willing to explore niche films. It is heartening to note that viewers are encouraging films like Neerja with Sonam Kapoor in the lead. So films with no lead actor are now grabbing the attention of the audience.
There has been a big change in audience preferences in the last few years. Previously, only big-budget movies released on big release weekends, and films like Dabangg, Singham and Golmaal did well. Now films like Pink, Dear Zindagi, Kahaani and Neerja are doing extremely well.
Over the last couple of years, films like Piku, Talwar, The Lunchbox, etc have also done well. Content-driven films are now a big hit with the audience, regardless of star cast and budget. Not just big festival releases but these content-driven films are key for all-year-round box-office revenues.
Lately, audience preferences have become unpredictable and no one knows what makes a film a super hit. Nowadays, filmmakers need to do their homework and research their stories, which matters more than ever before. The role research plays is evident from films like M S Dhoni: The Untold Story, Mary Kom and the most recent Dangal.
Filmmakers who have been making youth-centric films are not very successful. Even today, family oriented entertainment films are in demand. For example, PK, Dangal and Bajrangi Bhaijaan attract the single screen audience as well as the multiplex audience and are a complete package.
Earlier, romance and comedy were in but now biopics are trendsetters, like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story and Dangal. Star Wars has lost out to Iron Man, Captain America, Ice Age and Kung Fu Panda. So, over the years, customer preferences have changed.
Many women-oriented films are being made and the audience is thronging cinemas to watch them. Films like Piku, Kahaani, Dear Zindagi and Pink, which are women-oriented films, have done very well. But at the end of the day, a lot depends on how the product is marketed and the period when the film releases. Even Tanu Weds Manu did good business along with its sequel.
Mass entertainers don’t have an audience any more. The multiplex audience prefers movies such as Neerja, Pink and Dear Zindagi, which are kind of niche whereas it’s only the mass entertainers with big names such as Dabangg, Wanted or Rowdy Rathore that rake in business. Films such as Befikre have an international touch and hence attract movie-goers only in big cities and multiplexes.
The single screens have been turned into multiplexes and that is what is driving more people to the movies. Filmmakers are experimenting with new genres because formula films are not working any more. Audiences have wholly accepted new genres such as biopics, slice-of-life, horror-sex etc. Now all we need is more multiplexes as more and more people are coming to cinemas to watch films.
Audiences have developed a taste for contemporary and realistic cinema and don’t like boring, run-of-the-mill movies any more. They prefer out-of-the-box content. However, there is still a market for mass entertainers. However, nowadays, only content works, not star cast. They still enjoy masala films but only if they are presented with a modern take.
We are witnessing huge demand in the number of movie-goers opting to watch films on youth-oriented topics. Most of these films work wonders in multiplexes and movie-goers prefer multiplexes since they are maintained well. Single screens also work but some lack the amenities and luxuries offered by multiplexes. Today, 80-85 per cent of the business of movies comes from multiplexes and only 15-20 per cent from single screens.
Content-backed films have a huge market now, and people no longer opt to watch a movie on the basis of its star cast. Times have changed. Artiste-backed films only work if they have good content and are marketed well. Since most of these films are meant for multiplexes, they do phenomenal business there. Almost 90 per cent of the audience today prefers multiplexes over single screens.