Tag Archives: Box Office Analysis

Box Office Star Analysis: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

With Sarbjit poised for release on Friday, let’s take a look at the North American box office history of the film’s leading lady: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Nineteen of her films have released in the United States since 1999, the earliest year for which I have reliable data. Two of those movies — Raavan and Robot/Enthiran — released in multiple languages in 2010, a time when accurate box office info for Indian films in languages other than Hindi was hard to come by. I included only amounts I could verify, so the Total Gross for both films featured in the chart below is likely lower than the actual total (whatever that may be).

AishwaryaRaiBachchanHindiChartWhile it appears as though Aishwarya’s career has had a lot of ups and downs, do not be deceived. All but one of the movies in the chart above ranked in the top half of Hindi films released in North America that year. The lone exception — Kuch Naa Kaho — ranked seventh out of the twelve Hindi movies that showed in US theaters in 2003. Even her lowest earning movies are average performers compared to the rest of the field. Aishwarya doesn’t make flops.

Her career also notably includes forays into international cinema, having made four English-language films between 2005 and 2009. Her biggest box office success came in a supporting role in the Pink Panther sequel starring Steve Martin.

AishwaryaRaiBachchanEnglishAishwarya’s English movies didn’t lead to a Hollywood career, but they did make her a recognizable star here, further cemented by her annual appearances on the red carpet at Cannes. She’s the face of Bollywood to many Americans, and Roger Ebert famously called her “not only the first but also the second most beautiful woman in the world.” Undoubtedly, her English films paved the way for her juniors to start their own international careers. Does Priyanka Chopra get the leading role in an American TV series without Aishwarya? Probably not.

Box Office Star Analysis: Shahrukh Khan

It’s hard to find a more reliable Bollywood star in North America than Shahrukh Khan. It’s been over a decade since he last had a theatrical release that earned less than $1 million in the United States and Canada — 2003’s Chalte Chalte. Here’s a chart representing the total North American gross for each of 24 films featuring Khan in a starring role, going back to 1999 (the earliest year for which I can find reliable data).

SRKfullchartWhat’s so remarkable about Khan’s success is that it predates the era of super-wide releases. His two most recent films — Dilwale and Happy New Year — opened in 290 and 280 North American theaters, respectively. Yet 2003’s Kal Ho Naa Ho made almost $2 million on just 52 screens! The lowest earning film on this list — 2000’s Josh — opened in just 30 theaters but still made $426,318.

Another great bit of news for exhibitors is that Khan’s films always open well. Khan’s median opening weekend per-screen average is around $9,000, compared to an overall median PSA for Bollywood films in North America in the $2,000s. High theater counts have hardly put a dent in that average, with Chennai Express averaging $12,327 on 196 screens in 2013.

Those consistently high averages only tell part of the story, though. The two movies on the list with the lowest opening weekend PSAs are Chak De India and Swades — $5,675 and $5,740, respectively — arguably two of Khan’s most beloved films (at least compared to more financially successful ventures like Don 2 and Ra.One).

Fan marks yet another collaboration between Shahrukh Khan and Yash Raj Films. The five other YRF movies on this list — Mohabbatein, Veer-Zaara, Chak De India, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and Jab Tak Hai Jaan — averaged total North American earnings of $2,051,086. It’ll be interesting to see if Fan raises that average even more.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Bollywood Hungama

Box Office Star Analysis: Kareena Kapoor Khan

Ahead of the release of Ki and Ka, let’s see how star Kareena Kapoor Khan has fared at the North American box office over the course of her sixteen-year career. I’ve been able to find box office information for 29 of her films, with one notable exception: 2007’s Jab We Met. Though Kapoor Khan is a popular performer in item numbers, I ignored those cameos to focus on films in which her role is substantial.

KareenaKapoorFullChartThe phenomenal success of movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and 3 Idiots stretch the chart and make it a little hard to tell, but eleven of Kapoor Khan’s films have earned more than $1 million in the United States and Canada. Since 2009, all but one of her fourteen films — Gori Tere Pyaar Mein — earned at least $500,000.

This box office success reflects not just Kapoor Khan’s own popularity but her knack for choosing bankable co-stars. She’s had particular success working with the big three Khans: Aamir, Salman, and Shahrukh. The seven films she’s done with them have combined total earnings of $24,965,775 in North America, compared to a total of $13,378,527 from the twenty-two films she’s made without them. In addition to her success with the Khans, three of the six movies she’s starred in with Ajay Devgn have made over $1 million: Omkara, Golmaal 3, and Singham Returns.

The median Kareena Kapoor Khan movie earns a total of $638,144, with $389,901 coming in the first weekend. Let’s see if Ki and Ka keeps her hot-streak alive.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Bollywood Hungama

Box Office Star Analysis: John Abraham

Ahead of Friday’s release of Rocky Handsome, let’s take a look at how its star John Abraham fares at the North American box office. Since starting his acting career in 2003, twenty of Abraham’s films have released in theaters in the United States and Canada (at least as far as I’ve been able to corroborate with reliable box office information). Seven of those movies have made more than $1 million here.


It should be noted that all of those big-earners are either ensemble pictures or movies featuring another high-profile male star, such as Abhishek Bachchan in Dostana or Akshay Kumar in Desi Boyz. Films featuring Abraham as the sole male lead — as Rocky Handsome does — don’t perform as well.

Abraham’s career is a case of extremes. Besides those seven blockbusters, only two of his films have earned more than $400,000: New York and Madras Cafe. That leaves eleven titles in that sub-$400K category, many of which are Abraham solo projects.

The median John Abraham movie opens in 53 theaters in North America and earns $167,246 in its opening weekend, doubling its opening weekend returns over the course of a four-week-long run to wind up with a total of $338,791. Those expectations seem reasonable for a movie like Rocky Handsome, rather than holding out for the blockbuster numbers of a sequel like Housefull 2.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama