Bollywood Box Office: November 14-16

This has been a lousy year for Yash Raj Films. Hopes were undoubtedly high after the titanic success of Dhoom 3 at the end of 2013, but none of the five films released by the company in 2014 has made much of a blip on the radar in North America.

Kill Dil‘s performance from November 14-16, 2014, cements that trend. During its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, Kill Dil earned $172,001 from 87 theaters, a per-screen average of $1,977.

To put this performance in context, the median number of opening weekend theaters for Hindi films in North America this year is 70, and the median per-screen average earnings are $2,022. All but one of the films released by Yash Raj Films this year opened in more theaters than the median (Bewakoofiyaan didn’t), but only one earned more than the median per-screen average (Gunday). Here’s how each Yash Raj film performed in its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada this year:

  • Gunday: $548,350 from 150 theaters; $3,656 average
  • Bewakoofiyaan: $67,738 from 66 theaters; $1,026 average
  • Mardaani: $168,997 from 86 theaters; $1,965 average
  • Daawat-e-Ishq: $204,950 from 113 theaters; $1,814 average
  • Kill Dil: $172,001 from 87 theaters; $1,977 average

While none of these performances — except for Bewakoofiyaan — is disastrous, the studio and theaters surely expected more. Even Gunday was likely expected to earn $1 million (it fell short with $887,675 total). The name Yash Raj carries enough clout to command a significant number of screens, but the return on those screens should be higher given the studio’s profile and the emerging young stars and veteran talent the company casts.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Happy New Year: Week 4; $64,792 from 45 theaters; $1,440 average; $3,702,530 total
  • Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain: Week 2; $5,794 from two theaters; $2,897 average; $12,110 total
  • The Shaukeens: Week 2; $735 from six theaters; $123 average; $75,546 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

3 thoughts on “Bollywood Box Office: November 14-16

  1. JustMeMike

    Hi Kathy – thanks for the numbers. Realistically – I enjoy these summaries of box office from you, but I base my decisions on what to see on your reviews.

    I have seen three of the 5 Yash Raj films this year – Mardaani, Bewakoofiyaan, as well as Gunday. While Gunday was an action film, as such it was much more of a fit with the older crowd because it seemed to be more classic style.

    Mardaani was the story of a tough female detective, and Bewakoofiyaan was a modern-day rom-com with Rishi Kapoor as the only connector to the more classic Indian films. I really liked Bewakoofiyaan and Mardaani and am surprised by the poor showings.

    While It would seem that Yash Raj films should consider that it is possible that these films each did so poorly in North America because of the titles, I am thinking they probably would not think along those lines. Their primary markets are in India not North America, or even the UK.

    But if they want to attract a cross over viewership in North America they have to get the Americans into the theaters not just the NRI’s and their kids. If I was some one who didn’t follow the Indian cinema, and was just another film fan here in the USA, the titles Bewakoofiyaan and Mardaani would not inspire me to even look these films up. I’d be put off by the titles.

    As you know, there was an attempt by one theater here in Sarasota to show some Indian films. The Parkway 8 I believe showed 5 titles during the summer, but he charged $10 a ticket, a price even high than first run USA films. So for the films I saw at the Parkway, in three cases there were never more than 5 people attending.

    The AMC chain is now regularly showing first run Indian films at the AMC Veterans 24 in Tampa at reasonable prices – but it is a bit more than 50 miles each way for me to drive there plus gas and tolls – so the only film I saw there was 2 States.

    I think they should market their films with more universal titles. It might help their box office returns considerably.

    1. Kathy

      I’m with you, Mike. The box office returns don’t always reflect the quality of the movie, as is certainly the case with Bewakoofiyaan and Mardaani.

      I also agree about the importance of having an English title or subtitle if you’re trying to reach an audience beyond the South Asian diaspora in the U.S., as many Yash Raj films are positioned to do. I’ll always remember going to the theater in 2007 and seeing two white senior ladies ask for tickets to “Journey of a Woman,” the English subtitle of Laaga Chunari Mein Daag — another Yash Raj film — that the theater used on their marquee instead. [Most memorable was watching the ladies eat salads that they snuck into the theater during the film. :-)] There’s a small but devoted class of movie-goer in the U.S. who shows up at the theater every Friday and chooses a film based on whatever title strikes their fancy. Having an English title or subtitle can steer some of that guaranteed money into the coffers of Indian studios without any additional marketing (though that would help, too).

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