With no blockbusters, and a majority of debacles, the first quarter of 2015 has been disappointing for Bollywood box office, say trade gurus, who believe that small fries like "NH10" and "Badlapur" have managed to earn plaudits and profits.
It's been an average year so far -- none of the Khans' films released, and the only A-list starrer "Baby", featuring Akshay Kumar, was among the four movies that performed well.
"It has not been a great period. The first quarter has not been fruitful, especially when you compare it with the previous year, it has been quite bad. We had a major release like 'Jai Ho' last year. This year, there was was no such major film," trade analyst Taran Adarsh told IANS.
Komal Nahta, another film trade expert, said: "Only three or four films have worked."
"I would say the first quarter has not been good at all, and that doesn't mean any film that deserves to do well, has flopped. All the films that have flopped, deserved to flop. It has been a below average year," Nahta said.
It was only movies like "Baby", "Dum Laga Ke Haisha", "Badlapur" and "NH10", which performed well.
While Neeraj Pandey's "Baby" collected close to Rs.80 crore, Sharat Katariya's "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" collected around Rs.27 crore and still seems to be going steady at the box office. Sriram Raghavan's "Badlapur" managed Rs.50 crore, and Anushka Sharma's debut production "NH10" drew crowds and garnered around Rs.27 crore so far.
Adarsh said: "'PK' was released last year and its business did well in the beginning of this year, but it was a 2014 release. As far as this year's hit films are concerned, 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha', 'NH10', 'Badlapur' and 'Baby' - these films have done well. However, it's not an encouraging ratio at all."
Rajasthan-based distributor Sunil Bansal says this year has put distributors in loss.
Bansal told IANS: "Small budget films have done fairly well this year, but their performance has not been exceptionally great. Many distributors have faced a huge loss this year as shows were going empty and we had to pull down many shows. However, films these four films (mentioned earlier) have been saviours."
Analysing what went wrong this year, Adarsh said: "The examination period, and most importantly, the Cricket World Cup (which began February 14) was going on. I do feel all these factors have affected the business drastically. We also need to pull up our socks in terms of content."
What's dismal is that the second quarter also doesn't seem to be positive, say the trade gurus.
Nahta said: "There aren't too many promising films on the horizon. Good times will begin from June and July. Having said that, there is a film like 'Gabbar Is Back' which could do well. It's not that we are flooded with promising films."
Adding to this, Adarsh said: "I am a born optimist, so I expect a lot and vacations will begin from April, so that will be a benefit for the films. Unfortunately, we don't have a single film so far that has hit the Rs.100 crore so far. So, fingers crossed."