Salman Khan’s Kick held up well in North America, relieving fears that its business could meet the same fate as Jai Ho and drop dramatically in its second weekend in theaters. According to Bollywood Hungama, Kick earned $417,985 from 146 theaters in the United States and Canada during the weekend of August 1-3, 2014. That total is about forty percent of what Kick earned in its opening weekend. By comparison, in its second weekend, Jai Ho only earned about twenty percent of its first weekend total.
[Update: Box Office Mojo reports slightly higher figures for Kick‘s second weekend: $439,304 from 162 theaters for an average of $2,712 per screen. It lists the movie’s total North American earnings as $2,100,041.]
As with Kick‘s opening weekend, there’s an interesting difference between Kick‘s second weekend performance in the U.S. versus Canada. American theaters outnumbered Canadian theaters nearly seven-to-one, but Canada accounted for more than a quarter of the weekend’s total earnings. Note the difference in average earnings per screen (the combined average for both countries is $2,863):
Canada: $114,439 from 21 theaters; $5,449 average
USA: $303,546 from 125 theaters; $2,428 average
Though Canadian Bollywood fans generally have a greater appetite for action films than American fans, the effect is most pronounced when it comes to Salman Khan’s movies. During Jai Ho‘s first weekend in theaters, the per-screen average in Canadian theaters was nearly double that of American theaters: $7,940 versus $3,994. As with Kick, the disparity became even greater in Jai Ho‘s second weekend: $2,082 versus $887.
Kick‘s total North American earnings stand at $2,038,946. During the week, it will pass 2 States to become the continent’s second highest earning Hindi film of 2014, behind The Lunchbox.
Here’s how other Hindi movies fared in North America over the weekend:
Salman Khan’s latest — Kick — scored big at the North American box office, and it did so in impressive style. Kick blew past the first weekend earnings of Khan’s other 2014 release — Jai Ho — and posted the second best opening weekend for a Hindi movie in North America so far this year.
Over the weekend of July 25-27, Kick earned $1,023,427 from 163 theaters ($6,279 average) in North America. Check out the difference in per-screen averages when those figures are broken down by country:
Canada: $194,016 from 22 theaters; $8,819 average
USA: $829,411 from 141 theaters; $5,882 average
Kick‘s combined opening weekend gross ranks second for the year to date, less than $3,000 behind the opening weekend total of 2 States ($1,026,353). Kick‘s opening weekend per-screen average is third, trailing only The Lunchbox and 2 States.
[Update: Box Office Mojo reports significantly higher returns for Kick than the above figures from Rentrak, supplied by Bollywood Hungama. Mojo reports that Kick earned $1,071,373 from 177 theaters ($6,053 average), putting it comfortably ahead of 2 States for the best opening weekend of the year.]
Jai Ho‘s January opening weekend grossed $817,744 from 183 theaters ($4,469 average). In its second weekend — despite having no new Hindi movies in theaters to compete with — Jai Ho‘s business dropped by nearly 80%.
I suspect Kick will hold up better in its second weekend (which will also lack competition from any new Hindi films), thanks to its favorable summer release date and a slightly higher audience rating at IMDb (6.6 for Kick versus 6.0 for Jai Ho). When combined with its estimated mid-week earnings for the remainder of this week, even a disappointing second weekend would likely push Kick ahead of Queen on the list of highest earning Hindi films in North America in 2014. We’ll have to wait and see if it can best 2 States‘ total of $2,191,066 and move into second place behind The Lunchbox.
Three other Hindi movies remained in theaters in the shadow of Kick.
Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania continued to captivate North American audiences over the weekend of July 18-20, 2014. In its second weekend of release, HSKD earned $201,601 from 89 theaters: a per-screen average of $2,265. Its total earnings in the U.S. and Canada stand at $727,229.
What makes this performance so impressive is that, in its second weekend, HSKD earned 53% of what it earned in its first weekend in theaters ($376,962). Hindi movies in North America virtually always lose more than 50% of their business from Week 1 to Week 2. HSKD‘s retention rate is third highest for the year, after The Lunchbox and Queen: two movies that actually increased their grosses and theater counts from Week 1 to Week 2. The fourth highest retention rate in 2014 is Hasee Toh Phasee, which held onto 45% of its first-weekend earnings in Week 2.
It will be interesting to see how HSKD fares in its third weekend when up against Salman Khan’s Kick. Based on this retention rate, I’m optimistic.
Now in its fourth week, Ek Villain earned $4,986 from nine theaters, bringing its total earnings to $766,632.
The Lunchbox added another $3,724 from five theaters to bring its total to $4,016,849.
Here’s a mystery worthy of Bobby herself. Bobby Jasoos earned $1,260 from five theaters to bring its total earnings to $212,615. Bollywood Hungama lists U.S. and Canadian earnings separately, and the share of the weekend’s profits that came from Canada was $8 from one theater.
That means that over the course of the whole weekend of July 18-20, 2014, just one Canadian went to see Bobby Jasoos in the theater. Who is this lone Canuck? I’m dying to know!
No new Hindi movies are opening in the Chicago area on July 18, 2014, thanks to the force field that surrounds every new Salman Khan movie by one week on either side of its release. None of the Hindi films opening in India this Friday are high-profile enough to warrant a significant international release, so we are left with older Bollywood fare for the moment.
Alia Bhatt appears to be box office gold in North America. Over the weekend of July 11-13, 2014, her new film — Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania — posted the seventh highest opening weekend returns of the year so far in the U.S. and Canada.
From 100 theaters, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania earned $376,962 ($3,770 average). In February, Bhatt’s Highway earned $325,522 from 93 theaters ($3,500 average) in its first weekend. Her next film — April’s 2 States — still has the best opening weekend for any Hindi film in North America this year: $1,026,353 from 131 theaters ($7,835 average).
Whether it’s Bhatt’s appeal specifically or her knack for choosing the right projects, filmmakers should pay attention to her. There aren’t many actors who can guarantee first-weekend earnings in excess of $300,000 in the U.S. and Canada, but Bhatt has done it three times this year.
Bobby Jasoos fared poorly in its second week in theaters, with business dropping off almost 85% from last weekend. The Vidya Balan detective flick earned $22,827 from 41 theaters ($557 average), bringing its total earnings to $202,746.
Ek Villain, on the other hand, held up well in its third week. From 29 theaters, it earned $22,730 ($784 average), bringing its total to $747,751.
The Lunchbox soldiered on into its twentieth week, adding $3,015 from seven theaters. Its total stands at $4,010,655.
After a pair of releases last weekend, Chicago area theaters get another new Bollywood movie on July 11, 2014. The last scene in the trailer for Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania — in which Humpty (Varun Dhawan) cries while watching Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge — charmed me.
Only one of last weekend’s new releases sticks around for a second week (and it ain’t Lekar Hum Deewana Dil). Bobby Jasoos carries over at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17. All three theaters are also holding over Ek Villain for a third week.
In case you missed The Lunchbox during one of its earlier local theatrical runs, Doc Films in Chicago is carrying it for one day only: Saturday, July 12.
July 4-6, 2014, wasn’t a great weekend for new Bollywood fare in North America. Lekar Hum Deewana Dil reaffirmed how hard it is to launch new talent overseas by earning just $10,529 from 33 theaters in the U.S., according to Bollywood Hungama. Its $319 average per theater is sixth worst for the year.
Bobby Jasoos wasn’t the hit I’d hoped it would be. Its earnings of $143,559 from 71 theaters in the U.S. and Canada ($2,022 average) is still in the top half for the year among opening weekends. Still, given how cute, accessible, and family friendly it is, I’d expected better.
One possible explanation is that — with the exception of superhero flicks like Krrish 3 and Ra.One — kid-friendly Hindi fare is a hard sell in North America. Compared to other family oriented films of recent years, Bobby Jasoos actually performed well (figures below are total North American earnings):
There’s a need for movies like this. However, those movies have to be high quality. I wouldn’t recommend any of the movies in the list above. Perhaps years of uninspired family fare has parents feeling burned, and they simply stayed home rather than take the risk on Bobby Jasoos.
Several other Hindi films remained in theaters. In its second weekend, Ek Villain earned $115,022 from 78 theaters ($1,475 average), bringing its total in North America to $678,258.
Now in its nineteenth week, The Lunchbox added another $7,302 from five theaters to bring its total earnings to $4,004,347.
Humshakals earned $304 from three theaters, bringing the total from its three-week theatrical run to $412,000.
Holiday closed out its fifth week by earning $274 from one theater. Its North American total stands at $840,628.
July 4, 2014, sees two new Hindi movies opening in Chicago area theaters. First up is one of the two movies releasing in 2014 that I have been most excited about (the other was Highway): Bobby Jasoos! Vidya Balan plays a woman who aspires to be Hyderabad’s number one detective.
Ek Villain‘s impressive opening weekend performance in the U.S. and Canada shouldn’t come as a shock. High profile adult thrillers are rare commodities for Bollywood fans in North America, and fans tend to reward them by showing up at the theater.
According to Box Office Mojo, Ek Villain earned $414,116 from 104 theaters in its opening weekend in North America. Its per-screen average of $3,982 ranks sixth among opening weekend averages this year, just above star Sidharth Malhotra’s other 2014 release, Hasee Toh Phasee.
High profile Bollywood thrillers don’t come along often. (I’m not counting racier fare like my beloved Jism 2 and Murder 3, which opened in 19 and 12 theaters in North America, respectively.) The last was arguably Talaash in late 2012, which debuted on 172 screens and went on to earn $2,871,956. Earlier that year, Kahaanipremiered on 45 screens but earned enough money to add theaters in its second weekend. It went on to gross $1,017,960.
Both of those movies featured established stars, but there seems to be a consensus that Malhotra is a star of the future. That’s evident in the number of theaters carrying his films. Distributor Reliance Big Pictures opened the romantic comedy Hasee Toh Phaseeon 88 screens, and Eros International released Ek Villain in 104 theaters
Compare that theater count to Eros’ other North American theatrical releases this year. It’s obviously lower than the number of theaters allotted to Salman Khan’s Jai Ho (195) and Rajnikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan (161), but it’s only four fewer than Farhan Akhtar’s and Vidya Balan’s Shaadi Ke Side Effects (108). Most notably, Malhotra’s theater count for Ek Villain is significantly higher than the count fellow emerging star Varun Dhawan got for the comedy Main Tera Hero (77) and nearly ten times that of Harman Bhaweja’s Dishkiyaoon (11).
As for other Hindi movies showing in North America June 27-29, Bollywood Hungama reports a steep decline in receipts for Humshakals in its second weekend. Business fell by almost 90% as the comedy earned $33,398 from 73 theaters ($458 average). Its total stands at $393,557.
Other Hindi movies still in theaters:
Holiday: Week 4; $12,245 from 12 theaters; $1,020 average; $839,183 total
The Lunchbox: Week 17; $10,980 from 12 theaters; $915 average; $3,989,032 total
Miss Lovely: Week 2; $143 from one theater; $1,100 total
Despite director Mohit Suri’s protestations to the contrary, Ek Villain (“The Villain“) is a remake of the 2010 Korean thriller I Saw the Devil. A remake isn’t necessarily inferior to the original, nor are comparisons between the two always fair. Still, Suri abandons some of the core elements that made the original so compelling in favor of a convoluted, morally conflicted story that gets overwhelmed by its own ambition.
In Ek Villain, Sidharth Malhotra plays Guru, a former mafia hitman reformed by the love of a good woman, Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor). On the very day that the elements of a happy future fall into place for Guru and Aisha, she’s murdered by a stranger.
The police try to use Aisha’s murder to trick Guru into taking out his former boss, Caesar (Remo Fernandes), but clues point Guru toward an unlikely killer: a family man named Rakesh (Riteish Deshmukh).
All this is revealed early in the movie because the question is not who killed Aisha but whether her death will cause Guru to revert to his old, murderous ways. Aisha gets a lot of airtime via flashbacks to her early romance with Guru, as she softens up the tough guy with her aggressive cheerfulness and bad jokes.
Guru is underdeveloped, despite a bunch of flashbacks to how he became a contract killer. His past matters less than what he does in the present, but several key choices that would reveal the state of Guru’s character development are taken out of his hands. The subplot about Guru’s relationship with the police doesn’t make much sense, either.
Rakesh is the film’s most complicated character, so much so that perhaps he should have been the protagonist. That would’ve allowed for Suri to use an anti-hero to explore the plight of middle-class men in India, a motivating factor sited by Rakesh. But because Rakesh is only the villain, his rationale (and the lack of pushback against it) is more troublesome.
The serial killer in I Saw the Devil murders women because he considers them all to be symbols of past sexual rejection. He doesn’t choose his victims because they personally have rejected him but simply because they are there and they are women. The point of his murderous misogyny is that it is random and universal.
Rakesh, on the other hand, doesn’t murder randomly. He punishes women he believes have wronged him, whether by mocking him, by exercising authority over him, or just by asking him to do his job more efficiently.
This is a very different kind of motivation than random gender-specific homicide as it allows for victim-blaming. If only his victims had treated him politely, Rakesh might not have attacked them. Rakesh’s twisted ideology is reaffirmed by his friend, Brijesh (Kamaal R. Khan), who slaps his wife and visits brothels, which he considers the only ways for a modern middle-class man to relieve his frustration.
Brijesh’s views, Rakesh’s murder spree, and the fact that Guru is solely concerned with revenge for Aisha, not with preventing Rakesh from hurting other women, combine to create an undercurrent of acceptance of violence against women. In Rakesh’s mind — and maybe in the mind of some audience members — the women he kills had it coming.
Ek Villain invites so much analysis because Suri feels the need to explain everything. If some relevant point isn’t shown in a flashback, the characters give detailed descriptions of what happened and why. Suri isn’t content to let the audience figure things out for themselves.
The movie’s saving grace is its relatively brief runtime of just over two hours. That keeps the action moving along, especially since Rakesh delivers much of his expository dialogue while Guru is beating him up.
The music is pretty good, and there’s some fine camerawork throughout, too. An impressive fight scene when Guru confronts Caesar is shot with minimal edits in a nod to another dark Korean film, 2003’s Oldboy. (Oldboy was remade in Hindi in 2006 as Zinda, but that film totally botched its recreation of Oldboy‘s signature one-take hallway fight scene.)
Suri deserves credit for picking a quality film to recreate, and Ek Villain has a lot of elements to recommend it over other Bollywood fare. However, many of the changes Suri makes to accommodate a mainstream Hindi-film audience distract from the film’s core themes. It’s almost a success, but not quite.