Eight big-starrers joining the Rs 100-crore club, unusual-themed small-budget movies turning into miraculous hits and almost no major setbacks among about 150 releases: Bollywood's 2012 box office report card has set a benchmark, say trade pundits.
They contend that with a reportedly Rs 2,273-crore profit, it has been a "balanced" year for the Hindi film industry, which can now look forward to more fireworks and a Rs 200-crore club in the next two years.
Summing up 2012 as "a balanced year", Vinod Mirani said: "Be it small budget films or big films or unusual genres - all of them worked well at the box office. This year was better than the last few years because all kinds of films worked, which is a very positive sign."
In the first half, a bouquet of small-budget non-commercial films with unusual themes like Kahaani, the woman-centric thriller, Vicky Donor on sperm donation, and Ishaqzaade, rowdy romantic actioner, did exceptionally well by earning Rs 75 crore, Rs 45 crore and Rs 40 crore respectively. Biggies like Agneepath, Housefull 2 and Rowdy Rathore too yielded gold at the box office by joining the Rs 100-crore club.
Three Khans - Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir - rule the roost and the second half was dominated by them. Their releases Ek Tha Tiger, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Talaash respectively became pots of gold. So did Saif Ali Khan-starrer Cocktail.
Distributor Rajesh Thadani of Multimedia Combine said: "The second half of 2012 was pretty good. "The Khans' films have done pretty well. Ek Tha Tiger collected around Rs 190 core, which is outstanding."
Eight films - Agneepath, Housefull 2, Rowdy Rathore, Ek Tha Tiger, Barfi!, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Son Of Sardaar, and Bol Bachchan - joined Rs 100 crore at the domestic box office.
Aamir's Talaash has so far managed to amass around Rs 90 crore so far in the India territory and is expected to soon enter the Rs 100 crore zone.
Revealing the ballpark figure of the biggies, Thadani said that Agneepath collected Rs 120 crore, Housefull 2 Rs 110 crore, and Rowdy Rathore Rs 140 crore.
According to distributor Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts, the estimated earning of Ek Tha Tiger was around Rs 190 crore, of Son Of Sardaar Rs 105 crore, of Jab Tak Hai Jaan Rs 121 crore, of Barfi! Rs 110 crore and of Bol Bachchan Rs 105 crore.
At the year-end, Salman Khan once again entertained with Dabangg 2, which has set the cash registers ringing by amassing Rs 60 crore over the weekend.
An industry source said that total profit in 2012 comes to Rs 2,273 crore.
Nor were there too many box office disasters.
"Besides two films - Players and Joker - none of the films can be put into the disaster zone. These are the only two films which did very poor business," Ghai said.
Trade analyst Komal Nahta gives credit to increasing acceptability of the audiences and the multiplex culture for this profitable change.
"Now we don't need 1,000 seats to fill theatres. The work is done in just 215 seats with high ticket rates," he added.
Cheering Hindi filmdom's phenomenal year, Nahta said: "This is one of the best years. I believe the industry has pushed the envelope to the next level and in the next two years we will be talking about Rs 200 crore (club) and not Rs 100 crore."
Nahta hopes to see fireworks at the box office in 2013 as well.
"I hope the good work keeps going in 2013 as well. We have films like Dhoom 3, Krrish 3, Chennai Express and one or two films of Salman Khan; so there is a lot to look forward to in 2013," Nahta added.
Ghai predicted that 2013 "will get crazy and now we have to see how we control this".
(Uma Ramasubramanian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)