I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon’s Heera channel with four new additions to the catalog. Three movies starring Salman Khan — Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Jai Ho, and Kick — are now available for streaming, as is Hero, which Khan produced. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is good, but Hero is unoriginal, Jai Ho is lazy, and Kick is unbelievably stupid.
With no new competitors entering the fray, Sultan dominated the Bollywood box office in North America for a second weekend in a row. From July 15-17, 2016, it added another $956,949 from 298 theaters ($3,211 average) to bring its total to $5,321,818. The movie continues to receive outsized support from Canada, where the weekend’s per-theater average was $7,349, versus an average of $2,849 in theaters in the United States.
Last week, I looked at the performances of past blockbusters to gauge how Sultan might fare going forward, so let’s continue that exercise this week. Sultan‘s second weekend earnings were about 41% of what it earned in its first weekend in theaters. That’s better than the 31% Dhoom 3 carried over, but worse than both PK (47%) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (60%). Bajrangi Bhaijaan‘s business grew at a significantly slower pace than that of PK or Dhoom 3, which concentrated their earnings early in their theatrical runs. By the end of their second weekend in theaters, here’s what each of those three films had earned, as well as what percentage of the films’ total earnings those figures represent:
- Bajrangi Bhaijaan: $5,558,910 after second weekend; 69% of total earnings
- PK: $7,785,486 after second weekend; 74% of total earnings
- Dhoom 3: $6,817,835 after second weekend; 84% of total earnings
Applying those percentages to Sultan‘s second weekend haul yields total earnings of $7.7 million, $7.1 million, and $6.3 million, respectively. Sultan‘s week-to-week retention rate hints at it performing more like PK or Dhoom 3 than slow-growing Bajrangi Bhaijaan, so a final total right around $7 million seems most likely.
Other Hindi films still in theaters:
- Udta Punjab: Week 5; $5,694 from four theaters; $1,424 average; $1,234,838 total
- Dhanak: Week 5; $170 from one stalwart theater; $12,624 total
Salman Khan’s Sultan made a ton of money in North America — so much so that it finished in tenth place overall on the domestic charts. During its opening weekend of July 8-10, 2016, it earned $2,327,779 from 309 theaters ($7,533 average). Add to that the $1,012,086 it earned from Wednesday and Thursday (Sultan released on July 6), and Sultan‘s five-day total stands at $3,339,865 in the United States and Canada. That puts its five-day average at $10,809 per theater.
Salman’s movies always do exceptionally well in Canada, and Sultan continued that trend. Even though Canadian theaters accounted for only 8% of the total number of theaters (26 of 309), they contributed 18% to the total gross ($617,134 over five days). That puts the five-day per-screen average for those Canadian theaters at $23,736, versus a $9,621 five-day average in US theaters.
So, does Sultan stand a chance of becoming the highest grossing Hindi film of all time in North America? Probably not. First of all, its five-day total was less than what PK and Dhoom 3 earned in their first three days ($3,508,980 and $3,422,590, respectively). Second, its IMDb rating (currently 7.4) falls well short of PK‘s (8.3) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan‘s (8.1) — though admittedly it could increase — hinting that perhaps Sultan isn’t as beloved as some other blockbusters. Both PK and Bajrangi Bhaijaan went on to triple their first-weekend earnings. I confess that I’m not exactly sure how multipliers work for Wednesday releases, but lets assume that Sultan follows suit. A tripling of its first weekend numbers would put its total at $6,983,337. Even adding in its Wednesday and Thursday earnings only puts its total at $7,995,423 — placing it behind PK ($10,550,569), Bajrangi Bhaijaan ($8,114,714), and Dhoom 3 ($8,090,250). Sultan‘s second weekend returns will give a clearer picture of its box office longevity. But c’mon. Almost $8 million would still be a freaking lot of money!
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:
- Udta Punjab: Week 4; $12,005 from ten theaters; $1,201 average; $1,226,557 total
- Housefull 3: Week 6; $83 from one theater; $1,322,753 total
- Raman Raghav 2.0: Week 3; $28 from one theater; $75,681 total
- Dhanak: Week 4; $24 from one theater; $12,374 total
Bajirao Mastani and Dilwale closed out their third weekend in theaters, finalizing the North American box office rankings for Bollywood films released in 2015. From January 1-3, 2016, Bajirao Mastani earned $772,775 from 304 theaters ($2,542 average). During the same period, Dilwale earned $308,149 from 133 theaters ($2,317 average).
The ten highest earning Bollywood films of 2015 in North America were:
- Bajrangi Bhaijaan: $8,114,714
- Bajirao Mastani: $5,832,266 (to date)
- Dilwale: $4,696,841 (to date)
- Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: $4,420,019
- Dil Dhadakne Do: $3,062,095
- Tanu Weds Manu Returns: $3,022,611
- Tamasha: $2,243,582
- Piku: $2,220,648
- Welcome Back: $1,379,668
- Singh Is Bliing: $909,399
Bajrangi Bhaijaan had the best opening weekend in 2015, both in terms of total gross ($2,613,192) and per-screen average ($9,468). Bajirao Mastani has already proven to have the best longevity of any 2015 release, having nearly quadrupled its opening weekend total in just three weeks.
2015 set a new benchmark for blockbuster releases, with both Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo opening in more than 300 theaters in North America (304 and 310, respectively). Though PK (296) and Bang Bang (292) came close in 2014, it’s worth noting how rapid this increase in theater counts has been. The widest release in 2013 was Dhoom 3 on 239 screens, and 2012’s biggest release, Talaash, opened in just 172 theaters. More people than ever before can watch Bollywood films on the big screen in the United States and Canada.
It’s also worth noting that all of the films in the 2015 top ten were released between May and December. Shahrukh Khan’s Fan — scheduled for release on April 15 — should easily make it into the 2016 top ten, but it remains to be seen if any of the other Bollywood flicks opening in the first third of the year will prove to be breakout hits. Do any of the films on this list seem like contenders to you?
Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo faltered in its second weekend in North American theaters. From November 20-22, 2015, it earned $602,044 from 307 theaters ($1,961 average), bringing its total earnings in the United States and Canada to $3,929,227. [Update: Box Office Mojo’s reports weekend earnings figures for PRDP that are about $25,000 higher than those reported by Rentrak.]
PRDP‘s box office returns dropped by 74% from Weekend 1 to Weekend 2. By contrast, Khan’s second weekend returns for Bajrangi Bhaijaan fell by just 40%. The differences in the two films’ per-screen averages are telling, too. PRDP‘s opening and second weekend PSAs were $7,612 and $1,961, respectively. Bajrangi Bhaijaan‘s PSAs were much better: $9,468 and $5,636.
Not only is PRDP out of the running to best Bajrangi Bhaijaan‘s chart topping $8,114,714, the romantic drama will struggle to clear $5 million in North America, especially with the early release of Tamasha on Wednesday. Still, Khan must be pretty happy having the two highest earning Hindi films in North America this year.
Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama
Salman Khan scored another massive hit in North America with Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. From November 12-15, 2015, PRDP earned $2,746,673 from 310 theaters in the United States and Canada, according to Bollywood Hungama. That’s an average of $8,860 per theater over the film’s first four days. (Box Office Mojo puts the film’s four-day earnings at $2,813,018 from 287 theaters, for an average of $9,801.)
When looking at the traditional Friday-Saturday-Sunday total, PRDP‘s $2,359,703 ranks second for the year in North America, behind Salman’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan ($2,613,192). Bajrangi Bhaijaan‘s opening weekend total is even more impressive considering that it opened in 34 fewer theaters than PRDP.
The next Bollywood film likely to open in North American theaters is Tamasha on November 27, giving PRDP a second weekend with no direct competition. Will that be enough for PRDP to eclipse Bajrangi Bhaijaan‘s impressive North American total earnings of $8,114,714?
Two other Hindi films went largely ignored in North American theaters over the weekend:
- Shaandaar: Week 4; $806 from two theaters; $403 average; $603,444 total
- Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2: Week 5; $363 from two theaters; $182 average; $242,008 total
TV comedian Kapil Sharma’s film debut, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, got off to a fine start in North America. During the weekend of September 25-27, 2015, it earned $203,645 from 82 theaters ($2,483 average). That’s significantly better than fellow TV host Manish Paul’s 2013 big screen debut, Mickey Virus — also featuring Sharma’s co-star, Elli Avram — which earned just $24,100 from 48 theaters in the US and Canada.
There’s more to Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon‘s performance than meets the eye. The film did vastly better in Canada than it did in the US, taking in 33% of opening weekend earnings ($67,103) from just 16% of the total number of theaters (13). We’ll see how it holds up against the two high-profile pictures rolling into theaters this Friday: Singh Is Bliing and Talvar.
Katti Batti lost about 80% of its opening weekend business in its second weekend in North American theaters. It added another $41,881 from 70 theaters ($598 average) to bring its total earnings to $346,332. Expect it to surrender most of those theaters to the two new flicks opening Friday.
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:
- Welcome Back: Week 4; $6,095 from eight theaters; $762 average; $1,379,668 total
- Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Week 11; $410 from one theater; $8,114,714 total
Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama