Tollywood’s total box office revenue was flat in 2019 at ₹825 crore. In contrast, last year, the box office went a quarter down from the record high of 2017, even excluding Baahubali: The Conclusion, it dipped 7.4 percent. The industry was able to match the total box office of 2018 with 8 less films. This stability may look impressive, but there’s more to these numbers than simple look will tell. First off, below is a table showing the box office highlights of last five years.
Over the last few years, drawing conclusions on comparison from the box office share has become a little complicated due to imposition of GST, which deflated the shares in the second half of 2017 and whole of 2018 with 28 percent tax rate, and then inflated the numbers in 2019 with reduction of rate to 18 percent. Complicating things further, in 2019, distributors quietly began including the GST output when reporting box office numbers. The move was basically to juice the numbers.
Adjusting these two factors, the comparable number last year is ₹720 crore approx, which is about 13 percent down from last year. This consecutive two years decline in box office is a worrisome issue for the industry. Despite continuous increase in ticket rates and growth in multiplex sector, the box office is on decline.
The classifications of 2019 are as below, with only 2 medium budget blockbusters during the year. No Tollywood tentpole was able to become even a Super Hit with Maharishi being the only Hit from the A-tier stars. The biggest grosser of the year was Syeraa Narasimha Reddy with a record breaking ₹125 crore while the biggest hit of the year was F2. Saaho was the biggest missed opportunity which, however, did well in Hindi version.