For just about as long as any living person can remember, Bollywood and Hollywood have both been producing movies and been dominating their respective countries and audiences. As far as Bollywood goes, many people in the U.S. view this burgeoning industry as a distant neighbor (although Bollywood was created 11 years before Hollywood, in the 19th century no less) of our hallowed Hollywood. In some sad cases people think it is just a misspelling of Hollywood. With both Hollywood and Bollywood having already survived over a century each and the massive trend towards globalization, most people would think the similarities between the two would be great. In actuality, the difference is vast.
The first comparison most people have when comparing the two, as with just about any comparison, is the size. This seemingly simple comparison can be argued across many different grounds: financial size, number of total viewers, global spread, or number of movies produced. Personally, being a finance major, my first question goes to revenues. It can be very difficult to come across current data for this figure, but from all of the most recent historical records it pans out in Hollywood’s favor for revenues and Bollywood’s for ticket sales. In 2009, Hollywood’s ticket sales fell to a seven year low of 1.47 billion while Bollywood sold a staggering 3.2 billion. However, the average price of a ticket in Bollywood was $0.55 and in the U.S. it was $7.50, which even with the drastic difference in audience size puts Hollywood ahead. Additionally, in 2009, nearly every one of the top 50 highest grossing movies were from Hollywood and right in line with that, the average cost of a Hollywood movie is $75 million as compared to Bollywood’s $5 million.
The other large difference is the type of movies they create. As most people know, Hollywood is about the crazy special effects and the action the puts you in awe. Very few movies in Hollywood go very far without these. Bollywood is in extreme contrast. Nearly all Bollywood hits, and movies for that matter, are based on a love story and have a few large dancing scenes. This is more a testament to the culture of the two nations than anything, but is still a very interesting phenomenon. The Hollywood studios have stopped attempting to push Hollywood in India, and have instead turned towards creating films on location in India, from local talent for the local market. The blockbusters that have done so well worldwide, have almost no foothold in this large nation. Having said this, Bollywood is booming, hence the focus of studios attempting to build their own market share there.
Hollywood and Bollywood may be in the same industry, but frankly, they are completely different. Whether this is determined by number of viewers, fiscal strength, or the types of movies they create, the fact stays the same and boils down to the culture of the two nations. There are many opinions analyzing both of them, but I for one, while I do remain more partial to the type of movie I grew up enjoying, appreciate both styles and look forward to watching both grow and prosper.