It’s incredibly difficult to launch a new Hindi film hero’s career in North America, where superstars have even greater box office value than they do in India. It’s no surprise, then, that first weekend returns for Tiger Shroff’s big screen debut, Heropanti, seem underwhelming. From May 23-25, 2014, Heropanti took in $31,556 from 20 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, a per-screen average of $1,578.
The truth is that Heropanti‘s numbers are actually good for a movie starring a newcomer. The first factor to consider is that Heropanti faced unusually tough and unexpected competition. Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan shifted its opening date to May 23 at the last minute. Kochadaiiyaan pulled in $491,643 from 122 theaters ($4,030 average), a figure that probably should’ve been higher given the Superstar’s clout and higher 3D ticket prices.
And both Heropanti and Kochadaiiyaan were blown out of the water by the Telugu film Manam. It earned $844,271 from 108 U.S. theaters for an average of $7,817 per screen.
Despite taking a hit from a pair of high-profile South Indian films, Heropanti‘s earnings hold up very well when compared to North American opening weekend performances by film’s starring other new or marginal heroes. Here are some examples from 2013 and 2014 (ordered by release date):
- Rajeev Khandelwal in Table No. 21: $31,658 from 23 theaters; $1,376 average
- Jackky Bhagnani in Rangrezz: $4,318 from 11 theaters; $393 average
- Girish Kumar in Ramaiya Vastavaiya: $52,200 from 67 theaters; $779 average
- Manish Paul in Mickey Virus: $24,100 from 48 theaters; $502 average
- Shiv Darshan in Karle Pyaar Karle: $3,110 from 22 theaters; $141 average
- Ajaz Khan in Ya Rab: $1,404 from 15 theaters; $94 average
- Harman Baweja in Dishkiyaoon: $7,341 from 11 theaters; $667 average
Even with Priyanka Chopra as a costar, Ram Charan only grossed $81,117 from 79 theaters ($1,027 average) in the opening weekend of 2013’s Zanjeer. Only Dhanush had any success of note with his Hindi-film debut Raanjhanaa ($414,211 from 102 theaters; $4,061 average), and he had the advantage of having Sonam Kapoor for a costar.
The Lunchbox and 2 States were the only other Hindi films lingering in theaters over the Memorial Day weekend. With its theater count diminished to 57, The Lunchbox earned $86,749, bringing its total North American earnings to $3,706,362.
2 States earned $2,528 from five theaters to bring its total earnings to $2,190,307.
Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama