In its second weekend of release, Simmba earned $1,005,087 from 292 theaters ($3,442 average), according to Box Office Mojo. Its total of $4,115,790 is enough to lock up fourth place at the North American Bollywood box office for 2018 — third place if you exclude multilingual movies like Rajinikanth’s 2.0 and only count exclusively Hindi releases.
Other Hindi and multilingual movies still showing in North America:
K.G.F — Chapter 1: Week 3; $57,204 from 56 theaters; $1,022 average; $758,838 total
Zero: Week 3; $34,029 from 50 theaters; $681 average; $2,281,052 total
Kedarnath: Week 5; $4,014 from two theaters; $2,007 average; $888,152 total
2.0: Week 6; $1,623 from three theaters; $541 average; $5,355,442 total
Kedarnath carries over for a third week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24, which also holds over the 3D version of 2.0 in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi.
The weekend’s new multilingual release is K.G.F: Chapter 1, showing in Kannada, Telugu, and Hindi (all with English subtitles) at the River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Woodridge 18. MovieMax and the Woodridge 18 also carry the film in Tamil.
Even with no new movies in theaters, it was still a good weekend for Hindi films in North America. Rajinikanth’s multilingual 3D extravaganza 2.0 led the field, taking in $189,981 from 114 theaters ($1,667 average) in its third weekend of release, according to Bollywood Hungama. It’s earned $5,226,994 here so far, across all languages.
Kedarnath was next with $164,684 from 97 theaters ($1,698 average), bringing its 10-day total to $713,270.
9-week-old Badhaai Ho was third with $7,809 from nine theaters ($867 average), boosting the family comedy’s overall total to $3,316,788. The family comedy made its streaming debut on Hotstar over the weekend, so its theatrical days are numbered.
Same goes for Andhadhun, which hit Netflix yesterday. In its 11th weekend of release — the longest theatrical run for a Hindi film in the United States this year — the thriller earned $3,265 from three theaters ($1,088 average), bringing its total to $1,373,943.
Two lovers on opposite sides of a religious and class divide fall in love just before their world falls apart in Kedarnath. The compelling central romance is eclipsed by a well-executed disaster sequence based on the tragic floods of June, 2013, which destroyed much of Kedarnath and killed thousands.
Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput) works as a porter, ferrying Hindu pilgrims and their belongings up the winding mountain path to Kedarnath Temple. He and the other Muslim porters and shopkeepers have a history of cooperation with the Hindu innkeepers, allowing everyone to make a steady living during the six months of the year that the temple is accessible.
An upstart Hindu landowner, Kullu (Nishant Dahiya), sees profit in building a fancy new hotel in the valley, increasing the number of pilgrims and displacing a number of shopkeepers in the process. Mansoor — whose mother’s shop would be demolished to make way for the hotel — argues that more buildings and pilgrims could put the infrastructure of the whole valley at risk. Briraaj (Nitish Bharadwaj), a Hindu priest, appreciates Mansoor’s dedication to Kedarnath despite not being a Hindu himself.
That appreciation only extends so far, however. Briraaj isn’t about to let his younger daughter, Mukku (Sara Ali Khan), date a Muslim. Mansoor’s relationship with her exposes simmering inter-religious divisions and provides a pretext for violence, led by Kullu, who’s engaged to Mukku after dumping her older sister, Brinda (the beautiful Pooja Gor). The floods hit before the town can erupt into full-scale riots.
Khan shows poise and charisma in her first film role, but Mukku is problematic. She has a lot in common with stereotypical Bollywood man-child protagonists in that she’s immature and unable to see things from other’s perspectives. She has no regard for how her romance with Mansoor affects him, his family, or the other Muslims in the valley, so confident is she that her desires are right simply because she desires them.
Unlike the typical man-child protagonist character arc in which he finds a woman who makes him aware of the world and his role in it, Mukku’s worldview doesn’t change. Her position as the privileged daughter of a powerful man makes her overestimate her ability to shape her world to her will. If she’s just persistent enough, she can break down Mansoor’s barriers and make him fall in love with her. That same persistence will get her out of her engagement to Kullu, she believes. She’s even convinced that she can influence cricket matches and the weather.
Having been mostly insulated from negative consequences thus far, Mukku fails to account for all of the other factors that influence the events in her life, like the desires of other people, the lucky bounce of a cricket ball, and the randomness of a natural disaster. Mukku’s arrogance makes one question whether, from a narrative standpoint, her star-crossed romance with Mansoor is a worthy enough endeavor to balance the deaths of thousands in raging floodwaters.
That balance undermines the vibrant romantic tension conjured by Khan and Rajput. This is Rajput’s most charming performance in years after lackluster outings in M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and Raabta, a reminder of how good he can be in the right role. It would be fun to see these two leads pair up again in the future after Khan gains more acting experience.
Director Abhishek Kapoor successfully blends practical effects with computer generated ones in Kedarnath‘s climactic disaster, with Rajput and Khan battling treacherous waters in thrilling sequences. The rarity of Bollywood disaster movies is perhaps reason enough to watch Kedarnath, coupled with the intrigued of a star scion’s debut (Khan’s father is Saif Ali Khan). If only the central romance matched the film’s spectacle.
Kedarnath had quite a good opening weekend in North America — fifteenth best in a field of 53 Hindi and multilingual films released here this year, in fact. From December 7-9, 2018, the romantic drama earned $374,964 from 117 theaters ($3,205 average), according to Bollywood Hungama.
It’s showing was all the more impressive given that 2.0 had another great weekend as well, taking in $788,976 from 288 theaters ($2,740 average). The multilingual sci-fi sequel is on the brink of crossing the $5 million mark here, with $4,870,335 in total earnings across all languages so far.
Ayushmann Khurrana’s two films are still going strong, with Badhaai Ho earning $16,181 from 13 theaters ($1,245 average) in its eighth weekend of release. Its total stands at $3,312,100. In its tenth weekend of release, Andhadhun took in $6,398 from five theaters ($1,280 average), bringing its total to $1,368,448.
And then there’s Thugs of Hindostan. In its fifth weekend, it earned $770 from two theaters — one in the United States and one in Canada. The US’s contribution to that total? $10. Imagine a weekend of screenings at that US theater, all empty except for one person sitting alone in one of those showings (okay, maybe two people if it was a matinée). Thugs of Hindostan is stuck just shy of $2 million, with $1,982,112 in total North American earnings.
Saif Ali Khan’s daughter Sara makes her film debut opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in the romantic drama/disaster movie Kedarnath, opening in Chicago area theaters December 7, 2018. It looks kinda awesome.