I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with five new additions to the catalog. The global deal between Netflix and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment has finally borne fruit: Dilwale and Happy New Year are now available for streaming in the United States. I liked Happy New Year and wasn’t crazy about Dilwale, but the more SRK films the merrier. Another exciting new addition to Netflix is the terrific drama Haraamkhor, which released in Indian theaters less than three weeks ago. The 2016 Hindi movie Maroon and the 2015 Punjabi film Chauthi Koot are also now available for streaming.
Update: Box Office Mojo lists PK‘s North American earnings as $3,565,258 from 272 theaters ($13,108 average). The movie finished in ninth place overall in the weekend rankings, just behind Top Five and ahead of Penguins of Madagascar.
Aamir Khan’s PK just posted the biggest opening weekend for a Hindi film in North America in 2014. During the weekend of December 19-21, 2014, it earned $3,508,980 from 296 theaters ($11,855 average). That total already puts it in third place for the year behind The Lunchbox and Happy New Year. PK will claim the top spot in a matter of days.
What remains to be seen is how close PK can come to matching the remarkable success of last year’s Dhoom 3, which earned $8,090,250 during its seven-week run in the United States and Canada. A more attainable goal is the $6,533,849 earned by 2009’s 3 Idiots, the previous collaboration between Khan and director Rajkumar Hirani.
Action Jackson closed out its three-week run by adding $179 from three theaters ($60 average), bringing its North American total to $256,872.
Action Jackson just posted the latest in the string of lousy box office performances by Bollywood movies in North America. Since the release of Happy New Year on October 24, 2014, all but two of the newly released Hindi movies have fallen short on a key performance metric.
That metric is per-screen average: the average amount earned by individual theaters showing a particular movie in a particular weekend. In North America in 2014, the median opening weekend per-screen average of the fifty Hindi movies for which I have reliable data is $1,971.
Here are the opening weekend per-screen averages of all the movies that have released here since HNY:
- Super Nani: $608 ($26,742 from 44 theaters)
- Roar: $99 ($4,927 from 50 theaters)
- The Shaukeens: $698 ($52,377 from 75 theaters)
- Bhopal: $5,948 ($5,948 from one theater)
- Kill Dil: $1,977 ($172,001 from 87 theaters)
- Happy Ending: $1,269 ($163,373 from 129 theaters)
- Ungli: $838 ($56,151 from 67 theaters)
- Action Jackson: $1,374 ($171,795 from 125 theaters)
Kill Dil opened with a per-screen average a few dollars above the median, and Bhopal‘s average was one of the highest of the year. Granted, Bhopal was a limited release that never played in more than two theaters at once.
There’s another factor to consider that makes many of these low per-screen averages look even worse in context: theater count. The median opening weekend theater count for Hindi films in North America in 2014 is 70.5. Given their comparatively low theater counts, distributors obviously didn’t expect Super Nani and Roar to take the box office by storm (they were right).
However, distributors were clearly expecting much more from star-driven films Happy Ending and Action Jackson. Both movies fall in the upper quartile of this year’s opening weekend theater counts (123 theaters and above). You don’t open in that many theaters unless you think you’ve got a hit on your hands.
It’s worth noting that the only other film in that upper quartile to earn less than the median per-screen average in its first weekend is Humshakals, Saif Ali Khan’s only other release in 2014 besides Happy Ending. Unless he’s planning to make Love Aaj Kal 2, opening weekend theater counts of fewer than 100 seem more reasonable for Khan in North America.
It’s as though most of the Bollywood fan base in the United States and Canada decided to take Fall off and stay home until Aamir Khan’s P.K. opens on December 19. Here’s hoping that film can close out 2014 with a bang.
The Hindi comedy Happy Ending opens in the Chicago area on November 21, 2014. Saif Ali Khan and Govinda are the main draws, but I’m most interested to watch the very funny Ileana D’Cruz.
Happy Ending opens on Friday at the Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.
After an average opening weekend, Kill Dil carries over for a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17. Both MovieMax and South Barrington 30 keep Happy New Year around for a fifth week, while MovieMax gives a third week to The Shaukeens.
Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Rowdy Fellow (Telugu) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont; Chaar Sahibzaade (3D; Punjabi w/English subtitles) at Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale; and Naaigal Jaakirathai (Tamil), Vanmam (Tamil), Pilla Nuvvu Leni Jeevitam (Telugu), Varsham (Malayalam), and Kasturi Nivasa (Kannada) at MovieMax.
This has been a lousy year for Yash Raj Films. Hopes were undoubtedly high after the titanic success of Dhoom 3 at the end of 2013, but none of the five films released by the company in 2014 has made much of a blip on the radar in North America.
Kill Dil‘s performance from November 14-16, 2014, cements that trend. During its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, Kill Dil earned $172,001 from 87 theaters, a per-screen average of $1,977.
To put this performance in context, the median number of opening weekend theaters for Hindi films in North America this year is 70, and the median per-screen average earnings are $2,022. All but one of the films released by Yash Raj Films this year opened in more theaters than the median (Bewakoofiyaan didn’t), but only one earned more than the median per-screen average (Gunday). Here’s how each Yash Raj film performed in its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada this year:
- Gunday: $548,350 from 150 theaters; $3,656 average
- Bewakoofiyaan: $67,738 from 66 theaters; $1,026 average
- Mardaani: $168,997 from 86 theaters; $1,965 average
- Daawat-e-Ishq: $204,950 from 113 theaters; $1,814 average
- Kill Dil: $172,001 from 87 theaters; $1,977 average
While none of these performances — except for Bewakoofiyaan — is disastrous, the studio and theaters surely expected more. Even Gunday was likely expected to earn $1 million (it fell short with $887,675 total). The name Yash Raj carries enough clout to command a significant number of screens, but the return on those screens should be higher given the studio’s profile and the emerging young stars and veteran talent the company casts.
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:
- Happy New Year: Week 4; $64,792 from 45 theaters; $1,440 average; $3,702,530 total
- Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain: Week 2; $5,794 from two theaters; $2,897 average; $12,110 total
- The Shaukeens: Week 2; $735 from six theaters; $123 average; $75,546 total
Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama
Yash Raj Films’ Kill Dil opens in Chicago area theaters on November 14, 2014. The gangster drama stars Parineeti Chopra, Ali Zafar, Ranveer Singh, and Govinda.
Kill Dil opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 7 min.
Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include the 3D animated film Chaar Sahibzaade (Punjabi w/English subtitles) at the Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale and Erra Bus (Telugu) at the South Barrington 30 and MovieMax, which also carries Pilla Nuvvu Leni Jeevitam (Telugu), Brother of Bommali (Telugu), Jai Hind 2 (Tamil), Joru (Telugu), Varsham (Malayalam), and Oru Oorla Rendu Raja (Tamil).
It was the second bad weekend in a row for new Hindi films widely released in the United States and Canada. From November 7-9, 2014, The Shaukeens earned $52,377 from 75 theaters, a pathetic per-screen average of $698. The comedy suffered from a confusing, limited marketing campaign. Posters for the movie prominently featured Akshay Kumar, but his role was billed as a cameo (it’s more than that). The trailer didn’t run in local theaters, so few people likely knew the movie was even coming out. Given all that, the choice to release it into 75 theaters in North America — a relatively high number — is baffling.
On the other hand, the drama Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain performed very well in its debut on a single screen in New York, from which it earned $5,948. The film opens in Los Angeles on Friday and Chicago on November 28 before releasing in India on December 5.
The weekend’s other surprise came from the Hindi-Punjabi-English film Chaar Sahibzaade, an animated depiction of Sikh history. It earned $89,131 from just 15 theaters (none of them in the Chicago area), an average of $5,942 per screen.
In its third weekend, Happy New Year added another $361,148 from 106 theaters ($3,407 average), bringing its North American total to $3,559,926.
Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama
I hope I get over my disappointment that Rang Rasiya isn’t opening in the Chicago area in time to enjoy The Shaukeens, which hits theaters on November 7, 2014. The remake of the 1982 film Shaukeen stars Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor, and Piyush Mishra as a trio of older guys infatuated with Lisa Haydon, who herself pines for Akshay Kumar.
Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Brother of Bommali (Telugu w/no subtitles) at the Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge and MovieMax, which also carries Parampara (Telugu), Jai Hind 2 (Tamil), Joru (Telugu), Varsham (Malayalam), Oru Oorla Rendu Raja (Tamil), Current Theega (Telugu), and Kaththi (Tamil).
October 31 through November 2, 2014, proved to be a dud of a weekend for new Bollywood releases in the United States and Canada. According to Bollywood Hungama, Rekha’s big-screen return, Super Nani, pulled in just $26,746 from 44 theaters ($608 average per screen).
Super Nani‘s performance is nowhere near as embarrassing as that of Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans, which grossed $4,927 from 50 theaters ($99 average). As awful at that opening weekend is, it’s still better than those of six other Hindi films that opened in North America this year: Siddharth ($4,564), Gang of Ghosts ($4,509), Karle Pyaar Karle ($3,110), Koyelaanchal ($1,762), Ya Rab ($1,404), and the big loser, Miss Lovely ($558). However, Roar opened on 28 more screens than the next biggest release in that list, Karle Pyaar Karle.
Happy New Year continued its strong performance through its second weekend, adding $693,696 from 239 theaters ($2,735 average) to bring its total to $3,184,576. It probably won’t have enough juice to bypass The Lunchbox‘s $4,050,393 total, but Happy New Year should finish its run in second place for the year by a wide margin.
In its fifth weekend of release, Bang Bang added another $3,002 from five Canadian theaters ($600 average), bringing its North American total to $2,586,394.
Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama
Knowing the titles slated for release, I would’ve bet my house that there would be no new Hindi movies opening in the Chicago area on October 31, 2014. Instead we get two new releases, one of which looks bad in a bad way, and another that looks bad in a good way. Super Nani is the bad in a bad way one. I can’t take the ridiculous old lady makeup on 60-year-old Rekha.
The other, much more exciting release is Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans. I love killer animal movies, and this one looks replete with horrible CGI. This almost makes up for Dear V/S Bear not opening in the U.S.
Roar opens on Friday at the South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 59 min.
On the heels of a monstrous opening weekend, Happy New Year carries over at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, AMC Loews Crestwood 18 in Crestwood, Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Marcus Addison in Addison, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.
Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Karthikeya at the Muvico 18; Current Theega (Telugu) at the South Barrington 30; and Kaththi (Tamil w/English subtitles) at Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge. MovieMax carries Current Theega and Kaththi, as well as Tamaar Padaar (Malayalam), Poojai (Tamil), Oka Laila Kosam (Telugu), and Vellimoonga (Malayalam).