Tag Archives: Half Girlfriend

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

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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:

Bollywood Box Office: May 26-28, 2017

Since I know nothing about cricket, please insert your own cricket pun here to reflect the fact that Sachin: A Billion Dreams had a good opening weekend at the North American box office. From May 26-28, 2017, Sachin earned $334,402 from 112 theaters ($2,986 average; adjusted average of $3,344 from 100 theaters*). Keep in mind that total doesn’t include returns from Monday’s Memorial Day holiday in the United States.

Sachin‘s solid performance was enough to finally dethrone Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, which took in $274,803 from 119 theaters ($2,309 average). Its total after five weekends is an astounding $20,476,672.

Hindi Medium is proving to be 2017’s first sleeper hit, even adding a theater in its second weekend of release. (The only other film to add theaters this year was Badrinath Ki Dulhania.) Hindi Medium held on to 2/3s of its opening weekend business, putting it first in that category by almost 20% (ahead of Badrinath). In its second weekend, Hindi Medium earned $151,159 from 59 theaters for an average of $2,562 per theater. That’s the best second-weekend-average of the year for every Hindi film besides Baahubali 2. Hindi Medium‘s total stands at $485,804.

Half Girlfriend also held up well in its second weekend, even if its performance pales a bit compared to Hindi Medium. Half Girlfriend earned $50,650 from 51 theaters ($993 average), bringing its total to $401,306 — good enough to rank in the top half of Bollywood movies released in North America this year.

Other Bollywood movies still in US theaters:

  • Sarkar 3: Week 3; $803 from three theaters; $268 average; $243,495 total
  • Meri Pyaari Bindu: Week 3; $436 from one theater; $174,801 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 May 26, 2017: Sachin — A Billion Dreams

One new Hindi film opens in the Chicago area on May 26, 2017. The documentary/biographical drama Sachin: A Billion Dreams — about cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar — is the latest sports film from director James Erskine and features a soundtrack by A.R. Rahman.

Sachin: A Billion Dreams opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 20 min.

Half Girlfriend gets a second week at all of the above theaters, plus the AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, while Hindi Medium carries over at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17.

The number of local theaters carrying Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is dwindling. Ticket prices have finally dropped, so take advantage of those matinée specials to see it a second time (or a fourth time, if you’re my friend Melanie!). Here’s where you can still see Mahishmati in all its glory:

Telugu: MovieMax, South Barrington 24, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge

Hindi: MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, and AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles

Tamil: Seven Bridges and MovieMax (which also carries Baahubali 2 in Malayalam)

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include:

Bollywood Box Office: May 19-21, 2017

Half Girlfriend and Hindi Medium earned roughly the same amount in their opening weekend in North America, only Hindi Medium did so in less than half as many theaters as Half Girlfriend. From May 19-21, 2017, Half Girlfriend earned $238,001 from 127 theaters ($1,874 average; adjusted average of $2,106 from 113 theaters*). During the same time period, Hindi Medium earned $225,755 from 58 theaters ($3,892 average; adjusted average of $4,703). So, despite opening in twice as many theaters — and with a story based on a preexisting propertyHalf Girlfriend out-earned Hindi Medium by just $12,246? Yikes.

Meanwhile, the previous weekend’s new releases saw their audiences drop by more than 80%. Sarkar 3 fared better, earning $25,034 from 44 theaters ($569 average), bringing its total to $236,583. Meri Pyaari Bindu took in $14,924 from 28 theaters ($533 average), for a ten-day total of $171,280.

Also over the weekend, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion raked in another $596,035 from 232 theaters ($2,569 average) — good enough to finish in 14th place in the overall North American box office and push its total earnings to $20,009,763. Wowzers.

*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 and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Half Girlfriend (2017)

0.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Half Girlfriend is a tiresome retread of a familiar Bollywood setup. The world within the film exists for the manipulation and satisfaction of the male lead character, regardless of the toll it takes on the woman he pursues.

Just as in another problematic movie from earlier in 2017 — Badrinath Ki DulhaniaHalf Girlfriend tries to justify its outdated formula by having its main character hail from a state with a bad reputation regarding gender equality. Half Girlfriend‘s Madhav (Arjun Kapoor) is from Bihar, a state that borders Badrinath’s Uttar Pradesh. Neither movie is interested in actually addressing the causes or consequences of inequality in either state, just in appropriating a regressive mindset so that the female lead can be treated as a prop rather than a real person.

Lest we dismiss Madhav as some uneducated hick, the story — based on a book by Chetan Bhagat and adapted for the screen by Tushar Hiranandani and Ishita Moitra — emphasizes that he’s the son of a royal family. He lives in a mansion with his mother (played by Seema Biswas), who runs a school in their small town.

Yet, Madhav is so privileged and insulated that only after he graduates with a degree in sociology from St. Stephens College in Delhi does he ask his mother, “Why don’t any girls attend our school?” How did he not notice that earlier?!

As with so many Bollywood heroes before him, it’s Madhav’s job to bend the universe to his will. That primarily takes the form of him forcing everyone to engage with him in Hindi, even though instruction at St. Stephens is conducted exclusively in English. No matter how high the stakes, Madhav steadfastly refuses to apply himself enough to become proficient in English. The movie rewards him at every turn by having English speakers claim to have understood Madhav’s “heart,” if not his words.

Then there’s Riya (Shraddha Kapoor), with whom Madhav is smitten on first sight. “Such a beautiful girl plays basketball?” he wonders, insultingly. He’s apparently never heard of hoops legend/fashion model Lisa Leslie, which is surprising since Madhav’s a b-ball nut and a big fan of “Steven Curry.”

The basketball in Half Girlfriend is absolutely terrible, by the way. The camera only shoots the actors from the shoulders up since apparently neither of them learned how to dribble for their roles as college athletes. (Frankly, their entire performances in Half Girlfriend lack commitment.) Also, a scene in which Madhav wildly airballs dozens of attempted half-court shots is unbelievable. That’s a shot serious basketball players practice for fun from an early age.

Once Madhav decides that he wants beautiful, popular Riya for his own, he follows her everywhere, memorizing every detail she posts on Facebook. They strike up a friendship on the court, but she’s clearly not interested in him romantically. She pulls her hand away whenever he tries to touch it. Well, she tries to, but Madhav literally won’t let her go.

Madhav’s roommate Shailesh (Vikrant Massey) — who is otherwise the voice of reason in the film — says that the only way to know Riya’s feelings for sure is to “get her in the room.” In case that didn’t sound rapey enough, Madhav locks the door once Riya is inside. When Riya resists Madhav’s attempted seduction (the author writes euphemistically), he gets violent with her. Riya refuses to talk to him after that, triggering a sad musical montage of Madhav screwing up in a basketball game because he’s too upset to concentrate. Boo hoo.

Madhav’s violence toward Riya renders a romance between them unsatisfactory. However, because we know the beats of the male-entitlement Bollywood romance storyline, we know that Riya won’t be able to rid herself of Madhav that easily.

Half Girlfriend is monstrously unfair to Riya. Every man in her life is abusive to her in some way.  While Madhav claims to love Riya, he refuses to accept a relationship with her on her terms; he wants to possess her. Rather than protecting Riya, the older women in her life insist that she tolerate the intolerable and put a man’s needs before her own. Riya is utterly alone. If told from her perspective, Half Girlfriend would be a horror movie.

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