What an awful weekend for new Bollywood movies at the North American box office. During the weekend of September 20-22, 2019, the three new Hindi films earned a combined total of just $128,557. Yikes.
The biggest disappointment among the newcomers was The Zoya Factor, a romantic comedy featuring the first-time pairing of Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Dulquer Salmaan. From 100 North American theaters, it earned $78,569 ($786 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. The Zoya Factor joins Romeo Akbar Walter and India’s Most Wanted as the only Hindi films to open in 99 theaters or more that failed to earn at least $400,000 in their opening weekend here this year. The Zoya Factor‘s weekend was the worst of those three, in terms both gross and per-screen average.
This was a surprise to me because bad reviews — The Zoya Factor currently has a 40% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and 4.2 rating at IMDb — from India don’t reach us here in North America until Friday morning, after many people have already purchased tickets for the weekend or made plans to do so. Even with Dream Girl and Chhichhore still going strong (more on them below), either people waited to hear word of mouth before committing to The Zoya Factor or weren’t interested in it in the first place. I’m gonna have to read some post-release analysis, ’cause I’m kind of shocked.
The weekend’s other two new releases struggled as well. Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas — the launch vehicle for Sunny Deol’s son Karan — earned $33,159 from 26 theaters ($1,275 average), a predictably modest debut from an unproven actor.
Sanjay Dutt’s political thriller Prassthanam was the big stinker of the lot, pulling in just $16,829 from 35 theaters ($481 average). That’s the third worst opening weekend per-screen average here this year and the fourth worst opening weekend total. Ack.
Meanwhile, Dream Girl raked in the dough in its second weekend in North American theaters, earning $480,775 from 109 theaters ($4,411 average) — a drop of just 33% from last weekend. Its total stands at $1,525,727 so far. With no new Hindi films releasing this upcoming weekend, Dream Girl looks poised to cross the $2 million mark sooner rather than later.
Chhichhore had a great third weekend, earning $204,391 from 98 theaters ($2,086 average), according to Box Office Mojo. That brings its total to $1,714,083.
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:
- Section 375: Week 2; $6,238 from 11 theaters; $567 average; $85,295 total
- Mission Mangal: Week 6; $3,926 from 13 theaters; $302 average; $3,657,808 total
- Saaho: Week 4; $622 from four theaters; $156 average; $3,222,967 total
Sources: 143 Cinema, Bollywood Hungama, Box Office Mojo