This year has been a game-changer for the industry in more ways than one. We have seen the audience grow more discerning about the movies they watch, they accept and appreciate different genres and they have become language-agnostic. This is truly reflected in the box-office performance of all movies, especially Hollywood with its superhero/ creature/ disaster/ fantasy fare dubbed in local languages.
Similarly, we have also seen content emerge as the true king. For us, this year has been truly spectacular, especially with our Hollywood slate. Movies like The Jungle Book are becoming ‘universal blockbusters’ that have become a rarity in Hindi cinema, while Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange have reignited the audience’s love for the superhero film genre. Even animation films have gained new momentum with movies like Zootopia and Finding Dory collecting significant numbers at the box office. On the Bollywood front too, our film Baaghi marked the return of the successful association of UTV-Sajid Nadiadwala-Tiger Shroff and it is one of the highest-grossing action thrillers of 2016.
Industry-wide, as well, we have seen the success of great content-rich movies such as Neerja and Kapoor & Sons and even movies like Sultan, which also had big stars. It was also phenomenal to see Pink get such widespread appreciation and the message of the movie was very powerful. Conjuring 2 and Deadpool, I believe, were very strong movies. For us, a big winner and a movie close to our hearts remains The Jungle Book!
It’s been a great year for the industry. While Bollywood’s share has stayed almost the same as it was in 2015, there has been considerable growth in Hollywood and regional cinema – Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. That’s also because the overall size and share of these industries is visibly smaller than the Hindi film industry. Even though the numbers have remained at the same levels, 2016 has proved two things. One, content is driving the box office numbers – films like Neerja, Kapoor & Sons, Pink, Airlift and Udta Punjab have done extremely well and Hindi film sequels have struggled to excite the audience. Unless we have new stories and new narratives to take them forward, the audience is giving sequels a thumbs down. Kahaani 2 looks promising and one hopes it breaks the jinx!
Sultan this year and upcoming Dangal, while featuring the two superstars, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan, have betted strongly on content! As far as Hollywood is concerned, The Jungle Book’s record-breaking spree has shown the sheer potential the market has. For us, at Sony Pictures Entertainment, two breakout hits – Angry Birds and Don’t Breathe – have led our charts, followed by Inferno and Spotlight.
We are looking forward to 2017, which will see some of our biggest franchises coming back – Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jumanji , Resident Evil and Smurfs: The Lost Village. We are kick-starting the year with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt’s space adventure Passengers on January 6, and promise that it’s going to be a journey like no other!
I think Airlift, Sultan, Dhoni, Neerja and Pink are the winners this year. Audience preferences have changed and movies high on content are working big time. I was very happy with the acclaim that Phobia received from critics and viewers alike, which proves that audiences like fresh and high-content movies.
As for 2017, it’s a really exciting year for my company as we have Munna Michael on the floors. It features Tiger Shroff and is directed by Sabir Khan and is slated for a July release. Following this, we commence India’s fist space odyssey film Chandamama Door Ke starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Nawazuddin Siddique, a one-of-a-kind movie made in Bollywood with the biggest international technicians. We will also be casting for Rahul Dholakia’s next after Raees and a high-concept thriller, again with Pavan Kriplani.
The year 2016 was a big change for Bollywood movies. It saw a major shift in mindsets, towards filmmaking, towards the censors and towards corporate houses. People no longer choose to watch a movie on the basis of its title but are going for the marketing strategy. I liked the way Kapoor & Sons was made. It was a simple family film but it changed my thoughts about filmmaking, which is very important in today’s times. It projected family values, which I really liked. Films like Airlift, Neerja and Sarbjit bring about an emotional awakening and stir patriotic feelings towards the nation. Pink had a very different take on the subject they chose. Other than these films, I think this year’s best film was Parched.
This year has been quite a good year, where content has ruled over run-of-the-mill movies. We saw some successful movies like Airlift, Neil Battey Sannnata, Neerja, Kapoor & Sons, Pink, Dhoni, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Dear Zindagi and others.