Opinion: Why Are Action Films NOT Doing So Well At The Box Office? Read On

New Delhi: High-octane action, blazing guns, and a ripped large-than-life hero saving the world seem is no longer give the audience the adrenaline rush, but rather a volley of yawns instead.

As the mega-budget Bade Miyan Chotte Miya opened to a lukewarm response despite being helmed by a big ticket director like Ali Abbas Zaffar and a billed star like Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, one wonders if it is too much of a good thing. 

2023 was the year of the action blitzkrieg at the box office. Shahrukh Khan’s Pathan and Jawaan set a new benchmark of 1000 crores at the box office. Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal came a close second with 912 crores. 2024, action films like Fighter and Yodha have not been able to sustain themselves, and Bade Miya Chotte Miyan’s underwhelming response makes one wonder, has the popularity of the action genre waned a bit? 

“Directors often spend crores on action sequences and often forget to devote time to character development One of the biggest excitement comes from watching characters fighting with their lives, guns, hand-to-hand combat, etc. But action becomes meaningless when no backstory or stakes or consequences are involved. These days we are getting films that get lost in editing, and crazy action, says a film critic, who further adds it is not just in Bollywood but in Hollywood as well, there is a general fatigue with popular franchises especially in the action space, a case in point being the recent Mission Impossible.

Trade Analyst Sumit Kadel says the success of an action film depends on several factors, and the overexposure of a star impacts their stardom and creates a sense of viewing tiredness.

“Action films do well and will continue doing well. Pathaan, Jawan, and Animal were blockbusters, Tiger 3 opened well but couldn’t sustain itself because the story fell short. In the case of Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, it’s a case of fatigue, people are not very curious to see Akshay Kumar to Tiger Shroff on screen, but the film itself is not lacking. Tomorrow Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, and Hrithik Roshan with an action film with a good story it will do very well. Action films will always do well but it depends on how they are mounted and the star who helms it should have that stardom which draws people in.”

The recent successes of mid-budget films like 12th Fail, Madgaon Express, and Lapaata Ladies are a case in point. Films led by mid-range actors to rank newcomers have outshone some of the big-ticket titles. Actor Manoj Bajpayee decodes their success. “Whether it’s a big or small film like 12th Fail, people want hope. When they go to the theatre, they want to see their stories of surmounting challenges, a slice of their lives. When you identify with the person on screen winning, you see it as your victory, if that is not there, then we have a problem. This is the content that will get people to theatres, and if that aspect is not there, then we have a problem”.

“As precious crores are pumped in, exotic locations scouted, and the biggest stars brought in, all the filmmakers and producers need to do is spend some extra time in the writers’ room and develop a story and a character that resonates with the masses, we live in hopeless times, and everyone is seeking hope in whichever way”, says an exhibitor.

With three big-ticket action films lined up for 2025 Shahrukh Khan’s King, Hrithik Roshan’s War 2, and Salman Khan’s Sikander, the audience’s appetite for action films is far from over. 


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