21 Dec 2023 5:28 PM GMT

Box Office

Malayalam Cinema Slumps in 2023: Only Four Super Hits Amidst 212 Flops

James Paul

Malayalam film industry 2022 Only 10 percent hit success


  • Only four super hits in 2023: 2018, Kannur Squad, RDX, and Romancham.
  • · OTT platforms dependent on theatrical success
  • · Hopes pinned on 2024 for industry revival

Malayalam cinema experienced a harsh reality check in 2023, witnessing a staggering number of 200 flops amongst the 212 films released. Producers estimate a whopping 300 crore loss, highlighting the industry's struggle for success.

While a handful of films shone through, the year was far from celebratory. Only four movies earned the coveted "super hit" title: 2018, Kannur Squad, RDX, and Romancham.

Kerala Never Forgets 2018 : This Oscar-nominated film, directed by Jude Antony Joseph, tackled the sensitive topic of the 2018 Kerala floods. With a star-studded cast and a powerful story, it resonated deeply with viewers and became the year's biggest success at the box office, grossing around 200 crores. The film, chronicling the 2018 floods, not only garnered critical acclaim but also became a financial success, earning around 200 crores.

Kannur Squad: Mammootty's action thriller, directed by Robbie Varghese, captivated audiences with its exciting story and emotional moments. Based on the real-life experiences of a Kerala Police unit, the film offered a thrilling glimpse into the world of law enforcement.

RDX: This youth-oriented film, directed by Nahas Hidayat, created a storm with its action-packed narrative and performances by Shane Nigam, Neeraj Madhav, and Antony Varghese Pepe. The film also found success on OTT platforms.

Romancham: This horror-comedy by Jeethu Madhavan surprised everyone with its quirky humor and unexpected twists. Despite minimal promotion, it managed to win over audiences and even spawn talk of a sequel.

These victories were overshadowed by the immense financial burden endured by filmmakers, with many first-time producers facing devastating losses. The films that have been recovered investment are Pranaavilasavam, Madanolsavam, Pachuvum Athbudha Vilakkum, Neymar, Madura Manohara Moham, Garudan, Falimi and Kathal. According to this estimate, out of 212 films released, two hundred failed at the box office.

Mamootty's Stellar Year:

Amidst the gloom, Mammootty emerged as a beacon of hope. He delivered three critically acclaimed and commercially successful films Nanpakal Nerath Mayamkam, Kannur Squad, and Cathal – solidifying his position as a pillar of Malayalam cinema. His performance in Mayamkam even earned him the coveted State Award for Best Actor, further cementing his legacy.

OTT Platforms

The dwindling theatre returns raise concerns, as OTT platforms remain dependent on a film's box office performance. Even satellite rights, once fetching up to 5 crores, barely touched 50 lakhs for several struggling films.

While Malayalam films stumbled, Tamil counterparts like Rajinikanth's Jailor and Sharuk Khan’s Pathan, found favor with Kerala audiences. Rajinikanth's film 'Jailor' is the biggest foreigner at the Kerala box office with a share of over 20 crores. Leo, Jigarthanda Double X, and Jawaan were also celebrated by the Malayali audience in the theatre

Looking ahead, many pin their hopes on 2024. A promising lineup of upcoming releases, featuring big names like Mohanlal in Jeethu Joseph's Neer, ignites anticipation for a cinematic turnaround.

Though 2023 dealt a harsh blow, the resilience and talent of Malayalam cinema remain undimmed. The industry's ability to overcome this adversity and reclaim its former glory will be watched with keen interest in the coming year.

Key Takeaways:

· Only four super hits in 2023: 2018, Kannur Squad, RDX, and Romancham.

· 200 films flopped, leading to estimated 300 crore loss.

· First-time producers hit hardest by financial struggles.

· OTT platforms dependent on theatrical success.

· Tamil films find success in Kerala box office.

· Hopes pinned on 2024 for industry revival.