Ek Villain‘s impressive opening weekend performance in the U.S. and Canada shouldn’t come as a shock. High profile adult thrillers are rare commodities for Bollywood fans in North America, and fans tend to reward them by showing up at the theater.
According to Box Office Mojo, Ek Villain earned $414,116 from 104 theaters in its opening weekend in North America. Its per-screen average of $3,982 ranks sixth among opening weekend averages this year, just above star Sidharth Malhotra’s other 2014 release, Hasee Toh Phasee.
High profile Bollywood thrillers don’t come along often. (I’m not counting racier fare like my beloved Jism 2 and Murder 3, which opened in 19 and 12 theaters in North America, respectively.) The last was arguably Talaash in late 2012, which debuted on 172 screens and went on to earn $2,871,956. Earlier that year, Kahaani premiered on 45 screens but earned enough money to add theaters in its second weekend. It went on to gross $1,017,960.
Both of those movies featured established stars, but there seems to be a consensus that Malhotra is a star of the future. That’s evident in the number of theaters carrying his films. Distributor Reliance Big Pictures opened the romantic comedy Hasee Toh Phasee on 88 screens, and Eros International released Ek Villain in 104 theaters
Compare that theater count to Eros’ other North American theatrical releases this year. It’s obviously lower than the number of theaters allotted to Salman Khan’s Jai Ho (195) and Rajnikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan (161), but it’s only four fewer than Farhan Akhtar’s and Vidya Balan’s Shaadi Ke Side Effects (108). Most notably, Malhotra’s theater count for Ek Villain is significantly higher than the count fellow emerging star Varun Dhawan got for the comedy Main Tera Hero (77) and nearly ten times that of Harman Bhaweja’s Dishkiyaoon (11).
As for other Hindi movies showing in North America June 27-29, Bollywood Hungama reports a steep decline in receipts for Humshakals in its second weekend. Business fell by almost 90% as the comedy earned $33,398 from 73 theaters ($458 average). Its total stands at $393,557.
Other Hindi movies still in theaters:
- Holiday: Week 4; $12,245 from 12 theaters; $1,020 average; $839,183 total
- The Lunchbox: Week 17; $10,980 from 12 theaters; $915 average; $3,989,032 total
- Miss Lovely: Week 2; $143 from one theater; $1,100 total