No new Hindi films of note have opened in North America since 2 States released on April 18, 2014, and it’s starting to show at the box office. According to figures supplied by Rentrak to Bollywood Hungama, 2 States earned only $34,949 from thirty-two theaters in the U.S. and Canada ($1,092 per screen), bringing its total North American earnings to $2,174,356.
Theaters were so desperate for Bollywood films that one theater brought back Queen ($136) and another held over Main Tera Hero ($112) for a seventh week.
Meanwhile, The Lunchbox continued its preplanned roll-out, opening in some new theaters while departing older ones. In its eleventh week of release, it earned $148,840 from 147 theaters. Its per-screen average earnings of $1,013 continued a downward trend that started in earnest in week six.
So why did thirty-two theaters decide to give 2 States a fifth weekend? It has everything to do with per-screen average earnings. Even in its fourth weekend, it was still one of the higher-earning movies in the U.S. and Canada on a per-screen basis. According to Box Office Mojo, its per-screen average of $1,579 ranked 33rd overall for the weekend of May 9-11.
[Box Office Mojo’s figures are generally higher than those reported by Bollywood Hungama/Rentrak.]
However, that ranking doesn’t tell the whole story. Of the movies ranked above it, five were IMAX documentaries and twenty-three were smaller indie pictures that likely had gradual roll-out strategies similar to The Lunchbox (I included The Lunchbox and its $1,595 average in this group).
Omitting those twenty-eight movies that were bound to have higher averages due to scarcity, that left only eight movies showing in a minimum of 500 theaters ranked above 2 States. Two were new releases (Neighbors and Moms’ Night Out), and another two were big-budget action fare (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
That made 2 States a pretty good holdover bet, especially since it out-performed plenty of its contemporary Hollywood fare. It beat Brick Mansions and The Quiet Ones in their third week of release. It outpaced Bears, Transcendence, and A Haunted House 2 in their fourth week. It even beat one new release: Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return ($1,410 average).
Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo