It’s hard to launch new Bollywood stars abroad, as confirmed by the opening weekend returns of Hero. During the weekend of September 11-13, 2015, Hero earned $57,407 from 52 US and Canadian theaters ($1,104 average).
The most direct comparison for the debuts of Sooraj “Son of Aditya” Pancholi and Athiya “Daughter of Suniel” Shetty is last year’s Heropanti, which launched Tiger “Son of Jackie” Shroff. Heropanti‘s launch was more modest, opening in just 20 theaters, from which it earned $31,556. Its $1,578 average is quite a bit better than Hero‘s, especially considering that Salman Khan was heavily involved in Hero‘s marketing.
The weekend’s other new release of note in the States, Meet the Patels, got off to a monstrous start. From five theaters, it earned $75,597, for a per-screen average of $15,119. It will expand into more theaters in the coming weeks.
Welcome Back‘s continued success reminds us that the reason there are so many sequels in Bollywood (and Hollywood) is because they make money. In its second weekend in North American theaters, the followup to 2007’s Welcome earned another $222,273 from 125 theaters ($1,778 average). Its total earnings of $1,234,179 rank it fifth for the year. Of the three Bollywood sequels to release here in 2015, ABCD 2 is presently the lowest ranked at sixth place.
Phantom has all but disappeared from the charts, earning just $9,973 from 18 theaters ($554 average) in its third weekend of release. Its total North American earnings stand at $487,978.
In its ninth weekend, Bajrangi Bhaijaan earned $6,261 from six theaters ($1,044 average), bringing its total to $8,110,964. Drishyam took in another $1,701 from three theaters ($567 average), bringing its seven-week total to $739,005.