2023: The year Bollywood blockbusters finally made a comeback | Bollywood

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All the film industry yearned for after the long and daunting Covid pandemic was for theaters to come alive once again with loud whistles and giggles, and the year 2023 certainly made all those dreams come true. A cinematic spectacle unfolded as Shah Rukh Khan almost rose like a phoenix from the ashes, with his two consecutive Hindi films etching their names in history and hitting the 1000 crore milestone. The entire industry rejoiced as four more films joined the pack, achieving collections over the 500 crore mark at the global box office. Also read: Dunki vs Salaar box office prediction: Should we expect a desi Barbenheimer? Experts weigh in

Shah Rukh Khan's Jawan is the highest grossing Indian film of 2023.
Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan is the highest grossing Indian film of 2023.

Who ruled the year 2023

For those who were quick to dismiss Shah Rukh Khan after his Zero debacle, the 58-year-old star added a bit too many zeroes to Pathaan, making it a gigantic 1050 crore-grosser. Before it could be passed off as a miracle, he beat his own record with Jawan, achieving a staggering 1152 crore. Just like Shah Rukh, 66-year-old Sunny Deol also proved he is not the one to retire so soon. On the latest episode of Koffee With Karan, Ajay Devgn, Rohit Shetty, and Karan Johar confessed that none of them had expected Sunny to deliver a historical blockbuster in Gadar 2, that amassed 687 crore. If you think only Shah Rukh and Sunny are back to their A-game, the 73-year-old Rajinikanth continues to prove age is just a number as he returned to the silver screens with a 605 crore-grossing Jailer.

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Film exhibitor Akshay Rathi expressed his belief that the audience received what they deserved, resulting in the emergence of multiple massive blockbusters. He stated, “I think what made this year special was our approach, based on the lessons learned from the last couple of years during a slump. There was a realization that a tectonic shift had occurred in the audience’s taste, and certain parameters and elements became crucial for a theatrical movie experience. We presented this to the audience through films like Pathaan, Jawan, Animal, and Gadar 2. The unprecedented numbers we witnessed this year, breaching the 500 crore mark four times, truly speak volumes about our direction in tapping the potential of this 1.5 billion-strong market.”

The Deol legacy shone bright, extending beyond Sunny to his brother Bobby Deol. The latter continues to garner praise for his mere 10-minute appearance as the antagonist in Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal. Ranbir went on to beat his own existing highest grosser record of Sanju, with Animal nearing the 850 crore mark at the worldwide box office.

Girish Johar, a producer and film business expert, also expressed satisfaction with the performance of films in 2023. He remarked, “2023 has been a phenomenal year for the Indian box office. Films like Jawan, Pathaan, Gadar 2, OMG 2, Sam Bahadur, 12th fail, Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway’ and, down south, Leo, Jailer, and many others have performed exceptionally well. It’s a remarkable year, especially considering the industry’s comeback from Covid. I hope we conclude the year with another blockbuster as Dunki and Salaar release. With a vacation period at the year-end, there’s ample opportunity for both films to excel. Many films have crossed the 500 crore mark, making these times auspicious for the film fraternity.”

Negative reviews seemingly waned in influence this year as they could hardly hurt a film’s financial destiny. Vijay’s Leo went on to collect 615 crore despite negative to mixed reviews. Animal, too, stood resilient amid accusations of misogyny and excessive violence and reached near the 850 crore mark at the global box office.

Can 2024 be as good as 2023

The stage is now set for 2024 as Siddharth Anand is once again set to open the year with a film of Pathaan’s calibre, Fighter. Akshay Rathi looks optimistic while looking at the impressive line up. He says, “I’m hopeful that the lessons, both positive and negative, from this year will guide us effectively in navigating through 2024. Looking ahead, we have some exciting movies to anticipate. We kick off with a banger with Fighter; the teaser looked terrific. Mid-year, we have big-ticket releases like Pushpa 2 and Singham 3. Towards the end of the year, Aamir Khan’s next film is set for a December release. Ajay Devgn has a lineup, from Maidaan to Auron Mein Kahan Dum Tha to Shaitan. Akshay Kumar brings Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and another film. There’s also a tentative project – Shah Rukh Khan in Sujoy Ghosh’s next film from Red Chillies Entertainment. Potentially, there’s Varun Dhan’s next film with Atlee, which is being produced by him, that’s coming over.”

“So, great mass entertainers with the ability and the potential to capture the entire country’s imagination are coming up. And I’m very, very hopeful that all these movies will do great numbers at the box office and continue the momentum that the industry has built this year,” he adds.

There’s more to the list with several medium budget films as well as more and more actors like Shah Rukh and Kareena Kapoor look eager to experiment with a preference for content over glamour. Girish Johar adds, “I’m expecting another successful run in 2024. I anticipate better performance from medium-budget films because, for a healthy industry, they need to do well alongside the big-budget ones. It’s crucial for medium-budget films to resonate with the audience, and I’m confident that the 2024 lineup will establish stable business. I’m optimistic that 2024 will be another fruitful year for the future.”

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