Shaadi Ke Side Effects got off to a great start in its debut weekend in North American theaters, February 28 – March 2, 2014. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise for an accessible, family-friendly romantic comedy featuring two supremely talented actors. SKSE took in $578,346 from 108 theaters (according to Bollywood Hungama). Its per screen average of $5355 is the second highest first-weekend return of any Hindi film to open in the United States and Canada in 2014.
The Hindi film with this year’s highest U.S. per screen average also released this weekend. The Lunchbox debuted in just three American theaters on February 28 but earned $40,634: a per screen average of $13,545! According to Box Office Mojo — whose earnings totals differ slightly from those supplied by Bollywood Hungama — The Lunchbox had the best per screen average of any movie playing in the U.S. over the weekend.
The Lunchbox opens in eleven additional theaters on March 7 and in many more theaters across the U.S. in the coming weeks. The stellar box office returns of The Lunchbox — which is being distributed in America by Sony Pictures Classic — goes to show just how well an Indian movie can perform in the U.S. with the benefit of some marketing to the masses. If only sophisticated films like Dedh Ishqiya and Highway had received such support.
Speaking of Highway, business for the road-trip drama fell significantly in its second weekend. It earned $94,030, bringing its North American total to $489,860. With the potential for three new Hindi movies to hit theaters on March 7, I don’t expect Highway to stick around for a third weekend.