Tag Archives: Dobaara: See Your Evil

Bollywood Horror Movies at the North American Box Office

Bollywood horror movies are notorious duds at the North American box office. They open in a handful of theaters, make next to nothing, and disappear quickly. When Anushka Sharma announced that she would star in the horror film Pari — produced by her own company, Clean Slate Films — it raised the question of whether her presence as a marquee star could boost a genre movie’s ceiling internationally.

Horror films remain on the fringes of Bollywood. Most aren’t released in theaters internationally and are left to find their way into homes via DVD or streaming video. Still, when the Hindi film industry collectively decided (deliberately or not) in 2012 to increase the number of Bollywood movies released in North American theaters by a third — from 36 titles in 2011 to 48 in 2012, with an average of 50 Bollywood movies released here yearly since then — that left a lot of open slots to fill, leaving room for niche fare like horror flicks.

That’s not to say there was a Hindi horror boom in the United States and Canada. Most years only see one or two scary films released in theaters, plus a few titles that aren’t traditional horror fare like the horror comedy Go Goa Gone or the survival horror flick Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans.

Pari released in 45 theaters in North America: nine in Canada and 36 in the United States. That’s one more theater than carried NH10 — the maiden production from Sharma’s Clean Slate Films — back in 2015, but 42 fewer than the 87 that carried Clean Slate’s romantic comedy Phillauri last year (all numbers per Bollywood Hungama). Still, for a Hindi horror movie in North America, 45 theaters is about as big a theatrical footprint as you’ll find.

For the purposes of comparing to Pari, let’s look at other supernatural horror movies (which make up the bulk of Bollywood horror flicks). Here’s how such films have fared in North America over the years, in terms of: number of theaters they opened in; how much they earned total in their opening weekend; the average amount earned per theater in that opening weekend; and their final earnings total.

2012
Raaz 3: 28 theaters; $95,301; $3,404 average; $150,716 total
Bhoot Returns: 15 theaters; $3,478; $232 average; $3,478 total

2013
Ek Thi Daayan: 48 theaters; $65,857; $1,372 average; $112,135 total

2014
Ragini MMS 2: 20 theaters; $16,317; $815 average; $16,317 total

2016
1920 London: 38 theaters; $16,204; $426 average; $24,854 total

2017
Dobaara: See Your Evil: 30 theaters; $7,110; $237 average; $11,002 total

2018
1921: 10 theaters; $4,583; $458 average; $7,850 total

Pari opened with earnings of $118,906 — better than the final totals of all but one film in the list above (Raaz 3). Pari‘s $2,642 per-theater average was less than Raaz 3‘s $3,404 average, which only proves that Raaz 3 deserved a higher theater count than it got.

Where Pari really differentiated itself was in its second weekend performance. It held onto 54% of its opening weekend business ($64,247), which was leaps and bounds ahead of Raaz 3‘s 27% retention rate and Ek Thi Daayan‘s 21% carry over. By the end of its third weekend, Pari had earned $320,641 — more than double the next highest total on the list above.

The major takeaway from these numbers is that Hindi films in niche genres are more heavily dependent upon star power than those in more popular genres like romantic comedy or drama. The numbers also demonstrate which stars are able to draw North American Bollywood fans to the theater on their name alone. Sharma is obvious, as further bolstered by the box office success of her other home productions: NH10 ($319,872 total) and Phillauri ($471,522 total). Raaz 3 and Ek Thi Daayan star Emraan Hashmi is another clear box office draw, although his popular co-stars — Bipasha Bashu in Raaz 3 and the trio of Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin, and Huma Qureshi in Ek Thi Daayan — certainly helped. Both movies took in more than $100,000 here.

Yet no other recent Hindi horror film released theatrically in North America managed to earn even $25,000. Qureshi couldn’t do it opposite her real-life sibling, Saqib Saleem, in Dobaara. Despite their own name recognition and the fact that their movies were sequels, Sunny Leone and Sharman Joshi fell short with Ragini MMS 2 and 1920 London, respectively. With such dependence on the caliber of the cast, one wonders if Bollywood horror films without top-tier stars wouldn’t fare better by releasing straight to streaming services here in North America and skipping theaters entirely.

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Bollywood Box Office: June 16-18, 2017

The bad news keeps piling up for Raabta. After a disastrous opening weekend in North America, Raabta‘s business fell by 90% in its second weekend of release. From June 16-18, 2017, the reincarnation drama took in just $7,732 from eighteen theaters — a per theater average of $430. Raabta‘s total stands at $116, 328. It’s the only Bollywood movie this year to open in more than 80 theaters in North America but fail to earn $200,000 over the course of its run.

The rest of the Hindi films still showing in the U.S. and Canada fared as follows:

  • Hindi Medium: Week 5; $24,626 from twelve theaters; $2,052 average; $757,549 total
  • Baahubali 2: Week 8; $15,185 from fourteen theaters; $1,085 average; $20,780,017 total
  • Sachin — A Billion Dreams: Week 4; $3,251 from five theaters; $650 average; $607,038 total
  • Sarkar 3: Week 6; $222 from one theater; $244,826 total
  • Hanuman Da’ Damdaar: Week 3; $90 from one theater; $358 total
  • Dobaara — See Your Evil: Week 3; $65 from one theater; $11,002 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: June 9-11, 2017

Raabta‘s release was greeted by crickets here in North America. During its opening weekend of June 9-11, 2017, it earned $76,244 from 82 theaters ($930 average; adjusted average of $1,059 from 72 theaters*). Raabta‘s earnings were well below those of other movies that opened in a similar number of North American theaters this year: movies like Phillauri ($259,250 from 87 theaters); The Ghazi Attack ($394,269 from 89 theaters); and Naam Shabana ($157,655 from 90 theaters). For Raabta to earn less than $100,000 and average under $1,000 per screen is hugely disappointing.

Other Hindi movies playing in North America:

  • Hindi Medium: Week 4; $39,782 from 25 theaters; $1,591 average; $716,503 total
  • Baahubali 2: Week 7; $35,657 from 34 theaters; $1,049 average; $20,753,072 total
  • Sachin — A Billion Dreams: Week 3; $14,823 from 24 theaters; $618 average; $599,593 total
  • Half Girlfriend: Week 4; $1,514 from three theaters; $505 average; $442,605 total
  • Jattu Engineer: Week 3; $1,435 from one theater; $17,652 total
  • Sarkar 3: Week 5; $232 from one theater; $244,456 total
  • Hanuman Da’ Damdaar: Week 2; $134 from one theater; $226 total
  • Dobaara — See Your Evil: $127 from two theaters; $64 average; $10,937 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.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: June 2-4, 2017

North America is an inhospitable territory for Hindi horror films. The latest casualty is Dobaara: See Your Evil, which had the advantages of being based on the 2013 Hollywood film Oculus and starring real-life siblings Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem. Still, in its opening weekend of June 2-4, 2017, it earned just $7,110 from 30 theaters ($237 average; adjusted average of $284 from 25 theaters). Even though the local audience for Bollywood horror flicks is small, these ultra-limited theatrical releases do the movies no favors. I would love to watch Dobaara, but not if it requires two hours of expensive tollway driving for me to do it. On the other hand, skip the theatrical release and charge $12 for a day-and-date North American streaming option, and I’m there.

One movie I skipped writing about last week because I didn’t even realize it was in Hindi is Jattu Engineer, the latest vanity project by Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan of MSG fame. After an unremarkable opening weekend ($2,691 from three theaters), its business made an inexplicable jump in its second weekend, earning $8,048 from four Canadian theaters ($2,012 average). It has earned a total of $12,082 so far, which is a lot better than the Saint’s March, 2017 release Hind Ka Napak Ko Jawab: MSG Lion Heart 2, which scraped together $6,243 over five weeks.

Hindi Medium is on a roll, posting consistently strong per-theater averages. In its third weekend, it earned another $72,210 from 34 theaters — an average of $2,124 per theater. Fewer than half of the 2017 films that lasted three weeks averaged more than $700 in their third weekend, with only four of those movies managing to average more than $1,500 per theater. Hindi Medium‘s total stands at $647,602, good enough for seventh place this year so far.

Other Hindi movies still showing in North America:

  • Baahubali 2: Week 6; $81,323 from 55 theaters; $1,479 average; $20,690,866 total
  • Sachin — A Billion Dreams: Week 2; $78,585 from 72 theaters; $1,091 average; $558,024 total
  • Half Girlfriend: Week 3; $5,996 from nine theaters; $666 average; $436,984 total
  • Sarkar 3: Week 4; $314 from two theaters; $157 average; $244,168 total
  • Meri Pyaari Bindu: Week 4; $50 from one theater; $174,955 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.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening June 2: Dobaara — See Your Evil

One new Bollywood movie hits Chicago area theaters — correction, theater — on June 2, 2017. Dobaara: See Your Evil is the official Hindi remake of Oculus. It stars real-life siblings Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem.

Dobaara: See Your Evil opens Friday at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 46 min.

Sachin: A Billion Dreams gets a second week at the South Barrington 24, as well as the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

Both MovieMax and the South Barrington 24 give a third week to Half Girlfriend and Hindi Medium, which also carries over at the Cantera 17.

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion gets a sixth week at MovieMax (Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi), South Barrington 24 (Hindi), Cantera 17 (Hindi), and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge (Telugu).

Bollywood fans may also be interested in checking out 3 Idiotas — the Spanish-language remake (with English subtitles) of 3 Idiots — opening on Friday across the Chicago area.

Other Indian movies showing locally this weekend: