Few young actors’ careers have been watched as closely as those of the breakout stars of 2012’s Student of the Year: Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, and Varun Dhawan. The sophomore efforts of all three released theatrically in the last two months, the most recent being Dhawan’s Main Tera Hero on April 4, 2014. Here’s how their North American box office returns compare to one another, as well as to the film that launched three careers.
Student of the Year — directed by Karan Johar — released in 106 theaters in the U.S. and Canada on October 19, 2012. It earned $326,508 in its first weekend ($3,080 average), going on to earn a total of $670,086.
Malhotra was the first of the three stars to release his follow-up effort. Hasee Toh Phasee opened on February 7, 2014, earning $334,397 from eighty-six theaters ($3,895 average) in its first weekend. That this was the best opening weekend of the three new films — better even than the first weekend of SOTY — shouldn’t be a surprise. A romantic comedy co-produced by Johar, co-starring Parineeti Chopra, and released a week before Valentine’s Day is a safe bet.
Bhatt’s film, Highway — which opened two weeks later — was a more ambitious venture, despite having an A-List director like Imtiaz Ali at the helm. Bhatt shouldered most of the load for the movie — a largely improvised road flick about a kidnapped woman — and her efforts paid off. Highway earned $325,522 from ninety-three theaters ($3,500 average) in its opening weekend.
Dhawan’s Main Tera Hero didn’t fare as well in its opening weekend as his former co-stars’ films. It earned $161,846 from seventy theaters. Its $2,312 average is significantly less than those of the other two films released this year and SOTY.
In his defense, Dhawan’s film presented the biggest challenge. Action-comedies aren’t guaranteed hits in North America, and his co-stars — Ileana D’Cruz and Nargis Fakhri — have good looks but not much name recognition here. Matching the final tallies of either Hasee Toh Phasee ($642,632) or Highway ($529,449) seems unlikely.
The best-performing Hindi film in U.S. and Canadian theaters during the weekend of April 4-6, 2014, was The Lunchbox. Now showing in 100 theaters, it earned $307,076, bringing its total earnings to $1,266,478.
For one week, Queen reigns as 2014’s overall highest-earning Hindi film in North America (it will lose this crown to The Lunchbox next weekend). In its fifth week in theaters, it earned $92,933 from forty-nine screens ($1,897 average), bringing its total to $1,327,223.
Lingering in one last American theater, Bewakoofiyaan earned $20. Its total stands at $106,800.
Note: All earnings figures except those of Student of the Year are courtesy of Bollywood Hungama.