Tag Archives: Chef

Bollywood Box Office: October 20-22, 2017

Both of the Hindi movies released in time for Diwali did very well in North America over the weekend of October 20-22, 2017. Not surprisingly, the film showing in more theaters — Golmaal Again — fared the better of the two, earning $1,003,569 from 288 theaters ($3,485 average; adjusted average of $3,787 from 265 theaters*). Using the 265 theater count that Box Office Mojo reports for the film, Golmaal Again did vastly better in Canada than the United States, averaging $9,233 in 23 Canadian theaters versus $3,269 in 242 US theaters. Golmaal Again improved on Golmaal 3‘s North American opening weekend haul of $626,432 from 86 theaters in 2010, made possible by tripling the number of theaters. (Update: Per Gitesh Pandya, Reliance reports weekend earnings for Golmaal Again of $1,013,893 from 267 theaters).

Secret Superstar also turned in a good performance over the weekend, earning $754,185 from 207 theaters ($3,643 average; adjusted average of $4,121 from 183 theaters). The difference in per-theater averages between Canada and the US was less stark for Secret Superstar: $5,281 at 24 Canadian theaters versus $3,946 at 159 US theaters. Secret Superstar got a jump on Golmaal Again by releasing on Thursday, October 19, and the $60,632 it earned on Thursday brings its total earnings thus far to $814,817.

Among North American cinema owners, none can be happier than the owners of the four Canadian theaters that showed the Tamil movie Mersal over the weekend, averaging earnings of $36,735 per theater. The film’s total earnings across the US and Canada stand at $1,347,387 since its Tuesday, October 17 release.

Bollywood Hungama failed to report US earnings for Judwaa 2, which took in $5,715 from three Canadian theaters over the weekend. Box Office Mojo reports total earnings of $1,431,255 for Judwaa 2 thus far.

Other Bollywood movies still showing in US theaters:

  • Bareilly Ki Barfi: Week 10; $256 from one theater; $572,764 total
  • Chef: Week 3; $114 from one theater; $94,085 total
  • Shubh Mangal Saavdhan: Week 8; $110 from one theater; $689,874 total

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Sources: Box Office Mojo, Gitesh Pandya, and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

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Bollywood Box Office: October 13-15, 2017

Absent competition from any new Bollywood releases, Judwaa 2 led the North American box office for a third straight weekend. From October 13-15, 2017, the comedy reboot earned $101,341 from 125 theaters ($811 average), becoming just the fifth Hindi film of the year to earn more than $100,000 in its third weekend of release. Its current total of $1,392,946 ranks Judwaa 2 in ninth place for the year.

Another bit of happy news (on a much more modest scale) is that Bareilly Ki Barfi posted the highest ninth-weekend earnings of the year, by a long shot. The $1,409 the romantic comedy earned from two theaters ($705 average) beat out Baahubali 2‘s Weekend 9 earnings of $726 from three theaters and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha‘s $120 from one theater — quite the feat for a movie whose widest release was 44 theaters! Bareilly Ki Barfi‘s total stands at $572,298.

Chef fared poorly in its second weekend in North America, earning $10,920 from 23 theaters ($475 average), bringing its total to $91,878.

Other Hindi movies still showing in the United States:

  • Shubh Mangal Saavdhan: Week 7; $819 from one theater; $629,427 total
  • Simran: Week 5; $505 from one theater; $405,394 total
  • Tu Hai Mera Sunday: Week 2; $441 from five theaters; $88 average; $4,694 total
  • Bhoomi: Week 4; $374 from two theaters; $187 average; $72,297 total
  • Toilet — Ek Prem Katha: Week 10; $53 from one theater; $1872,300 total

Sources: Sumit Chadha and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

In Theaters: October 13, 2017

No new Hindi movies open in the Chicago area on Friday, October 13, 2017, but there are several older options to choose from. Chef gets a second week at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, which also holds over Tu Hai Mera Sunday and Bhoomi.

All three of the above theaters carry over Judwaa 2, which gets a third week at the Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC Dine-In Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge as well.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Bollywood Box Office: October 6-8, 2017

Two new Hindi films had disastrous opening weekends in North America from October 6-8, 2017. The higher-profile release — Saif Ali Khan’s Chef — took in $57,179 from 64 theaters ($893 average; adjusted average of $1,059 from 54 theaters*), according to Bollywood Hungama. Even with a modest theater count, one would expect better from a remake of an American film with a big star opening on Columbus Day weekend.

The weekend’s other new release — Tu Hai Mera Sunday — tanked, predictably. The movie had a mostly unrecognizable cast, and there was no advanced publicity for its international release. It was no surprise, then, that Tu Hai Mera Sunday made just $4,253 from 20 theaters ($213 average) over the weekend, according to Sumit Chadha.

The recent lousy debuts of movies like Tu Hai Mera Sunday and Haseena Parkar have me scratching my head as to why many low-budget Hindi movies still opt for theatrical releases in the United States and Canada, especially with so much competition among streaming services for new Bollywood content. To date, 48 Hindi movies — including multilingual movies like Baahubali 2 and The Ghazi Attack and special engagement releases like the movies of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh — have opened in North American theaters this year. If the eight Hindi movies that I suspect will open here before the end of the year actually do so, that would make 56 Bollywood movies released in North America in 2017 — four more titles than the previous record release year of 2014. What can be gained when a movie earns less than $10,000 in its opening weekend here, as is the case for six titles already this year? Eleven films haven’t even made $50,000 over the courses of their theatrical runs. It’s perplexing.

Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:

  • Bareilly Ki Barfi: Week 8; $3,980 from three theaters; $1,327 average; $569,635 total
  • Shubh Mangal Saavdhan: Week 6; $2,418 from two theaters; $1,209 average; $629,427 total
  • Simran: Week 4; $1,350 from three theaters; $450 average; $404,301 total
  • Bhoomi: Week 3; $258 from three theaters; $86 average; $71,803 total
  • Toilet — Ek Prem Katha: Week 9; $120 from one theater; $1,872,211 total

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Sources: Box Office Mojo, Sumit Chadha, and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Chef (2017)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

The first half of Chef is delightful. The second half is repetitive, with remarkably low stakes for the main character.

Writer-director Raja Krishna Menon’s official adaptation of Jon Favreau’s 2014 film Chef relocates the story first to New York, and then to India. Roshan (Saif Ali Khan) is a lauded but temperamental chef working in a fancy restaurant in New York City who loses his job when he punches a dissatisfied customer. His coworker Vinnie (Sobhita Dhulipala) suggests that Roshan’s uninspired cooking of late might be reinvigorated by a trip to Kerala to visit his pre-teen son Ary (Svar Kamble) and his ex-wife Radha (Padmapriya) in the city of Kochi.

After many years away from his son, Roshan is delighted to find that Ary is as much of a foodie as Roshan was at the same age. He takes the boy up to Delhi for a tour of his childhood haunts in his neighborhood of Chandni Chowk, including an uncomfortable reunion with his own estranged father (Ram Gopal Bajaj), who disapproves of Roshan’s career choice.

Back in Kochi, Radha enlists her rich, handsome boyfriend Biju (Milind Soman) to make Roshan an offer designed to keep him in India: a ramshackle double-decker bus to refurbish into a food truck. Roshan gets over his initial insult, seeing instead an opportunity to work on the project with Ary and strenghten their relationship. Still, Roshan longs to restore his reputation and reap the financial rewards of a triumphant return to New York.

As one would hope from a movie so titled, there is a lot of tantalizing food on display in Chef. A mouth-watering sequence in which Roshan cooks tomato chutney is alone worth the price of admission. It’s part of a strong first half which takes its time introducing the characters and their relationships, leaving enough room for the camera to linger on some gorgeous grub.

There’s a moment where it seems as though Chef is going to delve into anti-capitalism, with friends of Radha’s mentioning Che Guevara and Vinnie referring to Roshan’s New York loft as a “middle-class trap.” But after that, the importance of money in Roshan’s life seems more a matter of convenience. It’s very important when he needs to give Ary an excuse for why he must return to New York, less so when Roshan explains to Ary the work ethic he learned as a poor apprentice cook in Delhi. Money is readily available for the duo’s impromptu Delhi trip or to dress up the food truck to the nines.

In Chef’s second half, the action slows down and scenes repeat themselves. It becomes increasingly clear that Roshan isn’t going to face any real consequences for his previously neglectful behavior (or for his desire to once again physically distance himself from his son). Radha and Ary are only ever annoyed with Roshan for a few minutes, forgiving him as soon as he whips up something tasty by way of apology.

Roshan himself is in constant need of validation, whether he’s seeking praise for his cooking or showing off one of the many other skills he’s mastered, from dancing to guitar playing. It’s presumably borne out of his own truncated childhood, having run away from home at fifteen to escape his father’s enmity. Still, it’s odd that no one is willing to even challenge Roshan’s attention-seeking behavior, let alone demand that he behave like a grownup and get over himself.

Roshan’s childish streak makes it hard to sympathize with the way he parents Ary, who’s hardly allowed to have an emotional reaction at all before Roshan corrects him. Invariably, Ary responds with a glum, “I’m sorry, Papa,” prompting Roshan to tickle him as they both laugh. Despite a likeable performance by young Svar Kamble, Ary never feels like a real person.

The same can be said for Roshan and Radha. Khan and Padmapriya are good in their respective roles, but the characters are written with such limited emotional ranges that the story feels incomplete. Likewise, supporting characters like Vinnie, Biju, and Roshan’s dad don’t seem to exist outside of the main plot, only materializing when Roshan needs something.

Chef falls short of what could have been, especially considering how well it starts. Nevertheless, those in the mood for food porn will find plenty to savor.

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Opening October 6: Chef and Tu Hai Mera Sunday

Two new Hindi films release in Chicago area theaters on October 6, 2017 before a short pre-Diwali break. Saif Ali Khan plays the lead in Chef, an adaptation of 2014 Hollywood film of the same name.

Chef opens Friday at MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 55 min.

Also new this weekend is the football comedy Tu Hai Mera Sunday (“You Are My Sunday“), featuring Shahana Goswami. The movie opens Friday at all three of the above listed theaters. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 59 min.

Judwaa 2 carries over at the South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, AMC Dine-In Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and MovieMax, which also holds over Bhoomi.

Ali Fazal’s Victoria & Abdul expands into theaters across Chicagoland on Friday.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend: