What's the recipe for box-office success?

Audience appreciation is a capricious entity which filmmakers have been trying to fathom for ages

A film like Animal, abhorred by many, becomes a box office sensation, accumulating a staggering Rs 850 crore globally and securing the third position among Indian movies this year. Movies like Jawan, Vikram, KGF, Pushpa... that have an overdose of violence, and not-so-great storylines, become blockbusters. On the other hand, a film like Sam Bahadur, in which Vicky Kaushal has given a brilliant performance, is slow to pick-up at the box-office. 83 was a film which met a similar fate earlier.

The formula for box office success has remained as elusive as always in 2023.

Star power alone obviously doesn’t guarantee a hit, because Salman Khan, Prabhas, Akshay Kumar have all seen failure this year.

The Kerala Story did extremely well but The Vaccine Story by the same film makers flopped. A small budget film like 12th Fail that stars Vikrant Massey, who isn’t a superstar, was very well-received.

On OTT, films like Sirf Ek Banda Kafi Hai, starring Manoj Bajpayee has gotten a great rating. The web series Farzi directed by Raj & DK is a phenomenal hit.

So, what makes a film click? Is there anything like a ‘winning formula?’ Industry experts weigh in on the subject.

Beyond Stardom

Deciphering the audience’s desires within the dynamic realm of cinema remains a challenge. Personally, I don’t believe anyone possesses the ability to accurately predict what the audience truly wants. As acclaimed Oscar-winning writer William Goldman famously stated, “nobody knows anything” in the movie business. While having stars like Ranbir and Shahrukh guarantees an initial surge in box office numbers, I don’t see it as a guarantee for a film’s sustained success. Having witnessed films falter even with star power, it’s evident that relying solely on a star-studded cast is insufficient, especially in today’s evolved audience landscape. I advocate a holistic approach - a combination of star power, engaging narratives, memorable songs, grand scale, and, perhaps most crucially, an infusion of inspiration and emotion. The ongoing success of films like 12th Fail amidst strong contenders like Animal and Sam Bahadur underscores the intricate and unpredictable nature of audience preferences. The truth is, there is no definitive answer to the question of what the audience truly wants. — Anupama Chopra, film critic

Wow Factor Wins

When people go to the theatre, they want popcorn and French fries, not broccoli. A movie needs to be out-of-the-box, high on adrenaline, making you sit on the edge of your chair. If a movie can make you say ‘Wow!’, it has won the audience vote, and the box office numbers follow suit. Unreality too touches a chord; Pathan is an apt example. If someone wishes to go to the theatre, they would rather go for something new, something different, even outrageous but not something regular or boring. — Baradwaj Rangan, film critic

Raw Emotion and Universal Appeal

The storyline must strike a chord. People crave raw content, not something overly polished, giving a sense of authenticity. Inspirational stories are good, but what truly resonates is something that touches the heart. Animal succeeded in drawing families of all ages, a testament to its universal appeal. While inspirational stories are fine, why go to the theatre to watch something you cannot relate to or about a topic you haven’t even given a second thought to? Although Animal received both positive and negative reviews, people flocked to theatres to satiate their curiosity. They wanted to know what it was that was making everyone talk and comment.— Hanshitha Reddy, producer

In a nutshell

The recipe for a box office hit is a rich blend of factors – delivering a ‘wow’ factor, combining star power with a compelling story, providing raw and relatable content, and keeping curiosity high (social media is the best tool), while inviting feedback. Animal’s success is a testament to the industry’s dynamism, where a movie can break conventional norms and win the hearts of diverse audiences worldwide.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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