If you’re squeamish, you may not want to look at the gruesome opening weekend numbers for Mirzya in North America. From October 7-9, 2016, Mirzya earned $54,717 from 111 theaters ($493 average). The modern adaptation of a Punjabi folktale fared significantly better in Canada, which contributed 28% of the gross earnings ($15,111) from 14% of the total theaters (16). The per-theater average in Canada was $944, versus $417 in the United States. [Update: Sumit Chadha of Reliance Entertainment told me via Twitter that the total number of theaters was 95 — 79 in the US and 16 in Canada. That would make the US per-theater average $501 and the combined average $575. Even with the revised numbers, Canada’s contribution was still outsized.]
It is really, really hard to launch new Bollywood stars in North America. Heck, even films starring well known supporting actors in lead roles struggle to make money here (looking at you, Banjo). Thus, it made absolutely zero sense to release Mirzya — which stars newbies Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher — into 111 theaters. The ceiling is simply too low. Even if Mirzya had earned the exact same amount from half as many theaters, that would have only boosted its per-theater average to about $1,000, which is still way below average.
Every other Hindi film to open in more than 100 theaters here this year earned at least $250,000 in its first weekend, with per-theater averages greater than $2,000. As enjoyable as Mirzya is, it was never going to hit those benchmarks. Better to have started with a smaller footprint and added theaters based on demand. With no such demand, this opening weekend just looks awful.
M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story held up okay in its second weekend. It earned another $277,863 from 259 theaters ($1,073 average). Its total earnings of $1,611,755 rank it in seventh place for the year so far in North America. Its second-weekend business fell about 75% from its opening weekend, a sharper drop than the six films ranked above it on this year’s list, including Fan, which saw its second-weekend business drop by 74%. M.S. Dhoni also earned $76,000 less than Fan did in its second weekend, despite showing in ten more theaters.
Pink continued to put up a fight in its fourth weekend in North America. It earned another $31,019 from 22 theaters ($1,410 average), bringing its total earnings to $1,210,483. It needs less than $25,000 to overtake Udta Punjab for tenth place for the year, and less than $30,000 to bump Mohenjo Daro out of ninth place.
Baar Baar Dekho stuck around for a fifth weekend in one theater, earning $340 and bringing its total to $981,226.
Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama