Tag Archives: Airlift

Streaming Video News: August 9, 2019

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with fifteen Indian films added in the last two days, including the following 2019 releases:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix because Akshay Kumar’s Airlift is set to expire on August 15.

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Bollywood Box Office: September 9-11, 2016

The two latest Hindi films to open in North America did quite well in their first weekend in theaters. Let’s start with the wider release of the two: Baar Baar Dekho, starring Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra. During the weekend of September 9-11, 2016, Baar Baar Dekho earned $609,640 from 143 theaters, an average of $4,263 per theater. Those numbers are significantly better than figures for Kaif’s other 2016 romance, Fitoor, which co-starred Aditya Roy Kapur. Baar Baar Dekho has already earned more than Fitoor did in its entire run ($513,879) despite the fact that it opened in twenty fewer theaters.

By a very different metric, the weekend’s other new release — the golf comedy Freaky Ali — also posted good numbers. Freaky Ali earned $42,637 from 42 theaters ($1,015 average). That may not sound like much, but Bollywood movies that open in fewer than 50 theaters in North America are lucky to earn $20,000 in their opening weekend. The second highest opening weekend gross among the Under-50 club this year was Mastizaade, which earned $28,529 from 46 theaters. A final tally for Freaky Ali in the $60,000 range would be commendable.

Naam Hai Akira didn’t fare nearly as well as the new releases. Its business fell by 88% from last weekend, with returns of just $15,364 from 66 theaters ($233 average). Ouch. Its total earnings after two weekends are $210,865.

Rustom continues its impressive run into its fifth week, earning $17,335 from sixteen theaters ($1,083). Total earnings of $1,900,485 rank Akshay Kumar’s Rustom in fourth place for the year, just ahead of Kumar’s Airlift.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: September 2-4, 2016

The action flick Naam Hai Akira posted opening weekend numbers that were okay, but a bit on the low side. During the weekend of September 2-4, 2016, the movie earned $131,735 from 87 North American theaters ($1,514 average). Including Monday’s Labor Day holiday, which is celebrated in both the United States and Canada (I had to look that up), Box Office Mojo reports total earnings for Naam Hai Akira of $166,658.

The reason why Naam Hai Akira‘s numbers are slightly disappointing is that it opened in more than the median number of theaters for the year (85) but earned less than the median opening weekend gross (around $145,000). While that’s less than a $15,000 difference, Naam Hai Akira was way off when it came to the median opening weekend per-theater average of more than $2,000 per theater. Basically, the film didn’t warrant such a wide release. Somewhere in the 70-75 theater range would’ve been more appropriate.

Here’s where things get interesting. The four movies that have the 15th-18th (out of 34) widest opening weekend releases of 2016 in North America are Jai Gangaajal, Neerja, Naam Hai Akira, and Sarbjit — all movies marketed on the strength of their female lead character or actress. They all released within a range of 83-93 theaters. Neerja had a huge opening weekend and expanded into a total of 135 theaters the following week. However, the other three grossed less than the median in their opening weekends with underwhelming per-theater averages ($1,569 for Sarbjit and $1,277 for Jai Gangaajal). The sad fact is that most female-led Bollywood movies aren’t big enough draws here to justify the theatrical footprint they currently receive.

In cheerier news, Rustom has by now overtaken Airlift as the fourth highest earning Hindi film of 2016 in North America. 3-day weekend earnings of $68,932 from 33 theaters ($2,089 average) brought its total to $1,853,818 — less than $5,000 behind Airlift‘s total earnings.

Over the weekend, Happy Bhag Jayegi accomplished a feat I wrote about last week, becoming the eighth Bollywood movie of the year to double its opening weekend earnings over the course of its theatrical run. It earned another $25,775 from twelve theaters ($2,148 average), bringing its three-weekend total to $333,938.

In its second weekend, A Flying Jatt‘s business fell by more than 80% from its opening weekend. It earned $19,867 from 27 theaters ($736 average), bringing its total to $174,055.

Mohenjo Daro stuck around for a fourth weekend in eight theaters, earning $5,625 ($703 average). Its total stands at $1,237,504, surpassing Udta Punjab for eighth place for the year.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Streaming Video News: August 15, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with three new additions to the streaming catalog, including two 2016 theatrical releases. The highest profile addition is Airlift, which stars Akshay Kumar in a fictionalized version of 1990 evacuation of 170,000 Indian citizens from Kuwait following Iraq’s invasion. I felt the movie fell short of its potential, but it is a fitting choice for some patriotic Independence Day viewing.

Also new is Laal Rang, a movie that no one but me bothered to watch when it released in April. If you’ve ever wondered why Shah Shahid of Blank Page Beatdown and I are such massive Randeep Hooda fans, watch Laal Rang and understand.

The last addition is John & Jane, a 2005 documentary about Indian call center workers by director Ashim Ahluwalia of Miss Lovely fame.

For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

Bollywood Box Office: March 11-13

With no new Hindi films playing in North American theaters during the weekend of March 11-13, 2016, Neerja topped the box office for the fourth weekend in a row. It earned $69,001 from 45 theaters ($1,533 average), bringing its total earnings in the United States and Canada to $1,647,316.

Jai Gangaajal‘s business fell by more than 75% from its first weekend to its second, taking in $27,497 from 38 theaters ($724 average). Its North American total stands at $183,739.

Airlift hung on for an eighth weekend in one theater, adding another $578 to bring its total to $1,858,243.

The weekend’s highest earning Indian movie was the Punjabi film Love Punjab, which took in a total of $426,179. What’s interesting is where those earnings came from. Love Punjab earned $174,468 from 36 US theaters for a very good average of $4,846 per screen. Canada only carried the movie in 13 theaters but earned a total of $251,711, making for an incredible average of $19,362 per screen! If I had the money, I’d build a theater in Canada toot sweet.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: March 4-6

Jai Gangaajal failed to light up the North American box office in its opening weekend. From March 4-6, 2016, it earned $118,758 from 93 theaters ($1,277 average). Jai Gangaajal‘s earnings were by no means terrible, just lower than one expects from a movie featuring Priyanka Chopra, Bollywood’s most recognizable star in the United States.

Also keep in mind that Jai Gangaajal was only the second highest-earning Hindi film of the weekend in the U.S. and Canada, finishing behind Neerja in its third week of release. Neerja earned $167,727 from 113 theaters ($1,484 average), bringing its total to $1,526,679.

Other Hindi movies showing in North America include:

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: February 26-28

The weekend of February 26-28, 2016, provides a good picture of the state of the Bollywood market in North America. Attendance is often all or nothing, with audiences flocking to certain movies while avoiding others like the plague.

Neerja is a perfect example of a high-demand film. In its second weekend of release, Neerja actually added 47 new theaters. It earned $450,086 from a total of 135 theaters in the United States and Canada, a per-screen average of $3,334. Its North American total stands at $1,248,463, which is already more than double what it earned in its opening weekend.

On the flip side is the weekend’s new release, Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive. It earned a mere $18,450 from 62 theaters, an average of just $298 per screen. Considering that my local theater ran the movie 12 times over the weekend with an average ticket price of $10, that per-screen average means that most showings had an audience of fewer than three people.

TBL 2‘s failure was so predictable that it makes the decision to release it into 62 theaters here mind-boggling. But this year has been replete with bad decision upon bad decision, and we’re only two months into 2016. It seems that the lessons of 2015 have already been forgotten.

Last year was noteworthy because 42 Hindi films released in North American theaters, a drop of about 20% from 2014’s peak of 52 theatrically released Hindi movies. Yet the total box office returns for all Bollywood fare in North America grew steadily, increasing by approximately 11% on movies released in 2014, which itself improved on 2013’s total by 12%. Total theater count also grew at a similar pace, up by about 8% from 2014, which itself grew by approximately 5% from 2013. It’s evident that overall industry growth depends more on increased access to theatrical releases, not an increased volume of titles available.

Another key point is that, in 2015, just five theatrical releases failed to earn at least $30,000 in their opening weekend. That was down from 13 titles in 2014 and ten in 2014. Yet, just two months into 2016, we’ve already had five titles earn under $30,000 in their opening weekends! How many more obvious duds have to bomb before studios and distributors realize not every Bollywood movie merits an international theatrical release?

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Airlift: Week 6; $7,771 from six theaters; $1,295 average; $1,854,787 total
  • Fitoor: Week 3; $2,171 from five theaters; $434 average; $513,879 total
  • Loveshhuda: Week 2; $200 from two theaters; $100 average; $1,787 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening February 26: Tere Bin Laden – Dead or Alive

One new Hindi film opens in the Chicago area on February 26, 2016, and it’s unfortunately not Aligarh. Instead, we get the comedy sequel Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive. I liked the 2010 original, but its leading man — Ali Zafar — is replaced in the sequel by Manish Paul.

Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive opens on Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a mercifully short runtime of 1 hr. 44 min.

After a stellar opening weekend, the great biopic Neerja expands in its second week into three more local theaters. In addition to all three of the above theaters, Neerja opens on Friday at the AMC Showplace Village Crossing 18 in Skokie, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, and Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale.

The South Barrington 30 holds over Airlift for a sixth week.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha (Telugu w/no subtitles) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont and MovieMax, which also carries Kanithan (Tamil), Aarathu Sinam (Tamil), Kshanam (Telugu), Maheshinte Prathikaaram (Malayalam), Sethupathi (Tamil), Api Kapyare Kootamani (Malayalam), Miruthan (Tamil), Puthiya Niyamam (Malayalam), and Action Hero Biju (Malayalam).

Bollywood Box Office: February 19-21

Neerja debuted with superb numbers in North America. During the weekend of February 19-21, 2016, the biopic earned $619,185 from 88 theaters in the United States and Canada for a terrific per-screen average of $7,036. The first quarter of the year is prime time for female-led dramas, with Neerja following in the footsteps of past successes like: NH10, which opened in March, 2015, with $143,209 from 46 theaters ($3,113 average); Queen — March, 2014, opened with $161,998 from 39 theaters ($4,154 average); and Kahaani — March, 2012, opened with $263,011 from 45 theaters ($5,845 average). Credit to the team behind Neerja for recognizing that there is an appetite for these kinds of films, and that the money and effort spent on promoting them can yield big results from a growing number of theaters.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the weekend’s other new release, Loveshhuda, which is a textbook case for how not to release a movie internationally. Loveshhuda released with absolutely no fanfare in eight theaters in the US and Canada and earned $1,399. That’s an average of $175 per screen (thanks to generous rounding up on my part). There are several lessons to reiterate here. 1) Don’t release a movie starring a couple of nugus — I could stop there — on the same weekend as a buzz-heavy release with an established star. 2) Let people know in advance that you are planning to release the movie, don’t just drop into theaters with no warning. 3) If you don’t think the movie can carry at least 30 theaters in the US and Canada, don’t bother.

Fitoor‘s business fell 86% in its second weekend, taking in $45,157 from 60 theaters ($753 average). Its total stands at $503,316.

In its third weekend, Ghayal Once Again added another $3,761 from five theaters ($752 average) to bring its total to $292,340. The fascinating thing about that total is that nearly half of it — $136,795 — comes from Canada, despite the fact that it never played on more than 13 theaters there. It opened in 67 theaters in the US. Never let anyone question Canada’s devotion to Sunny Deol.

Other Hindi movies still in theaters:

  • Airlift: Week 5; $19,569 from 12 theaters; $1,631 average; $1,843,074 total
  • Bajirao Mastani: Week 10; $1,207 from two theaters; $604 average; $6,563,317 total
  • Sanam Teri Kasam: Week 3; $70 from one theater; $35,796 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening February 19: Neerja and Loveshhuda

Two new Bollywood movies get minor roll outs in Chicago area theaters on February 19, 2016. Neerja — a biographical terrorism drama starring Sonam Kapoor in the title role — gets the bigger release of the two, though it still only opens in three local theaters. There’s a recent history of female-led dramas — NH10, Queen, and Kahaani — getting limited North American releases early in the year and performing really well on a per-screen basis. Let’s see if Neerja follows suit.

Neerja opens on Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 2 min.

Also opening Friday at MovieMax is the romantic comedy Loveshhuda, starring Girish Kumar and Navneet Dhilon. Its release — even in just one theater — is a real surprise.

Fitoor gets a second week at all three of the above theaters. The South Barrington 30 also holds over Airlift for a fifth week.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include Krishnashtami (Telugu) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont and MovieMax, which also carries Sethupathi (Tamil), Ricky (Kannada), Api Kapyare Kootamani (Malayalam), Miruthan (Tamil), Puthiya Niyamam (Malayalam), Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha (Telugu), Jil Jung Juk (Tamil), Visaranai (Tamil), Action Hero Biju (Malayalam), and Irudhi Suttru (Tamil).