Two major Bollywood movies hit theaters in the United States and Canada on Thursday, October 2, 2014, and both posted impressive opening weekend numbers. (Bollywood Hungama doesn’t specify, but I suspect the numbers below represent the two films’ Thursday-Sunday earnings.)
Bang Bang — which opened in more international theaters than any other Bollywood film to date — earned $1,410,838 from 292 North American theaters for a per-screen average of $4,830. That’s the biggest opening weekend total for a Hindi movie in 2014 by a margin of nearly $400,000 over the previous title-holder, 2 States ($1,026,353). Granted, Bang Bang debuted in more than twice as many theaters as 2 States (131), giving 2 States a much higher opening weekend per-screen average ($7,835).
Bang Bang‘s enormous international release is an impressive stunt, but I wonder if it would’ve been better for individual theaters had the distributor scaled it back a bit. Could the film still have earned $1.4 million had it debuted on 230 screens? Probably. Take a look at the North American figures broken down by country:
- USA: $1,156,946 from 271 theaters for $4,269 average
- Canada: $253,437 from 21 theaters for $12,068 average
Anecdotally, Bang Bang opened in 13 theaters in the Chicago area, several of which don’t normally carry Bollywood films. I went to the first show on Thursday at one of those theaters. There were nine other people in the theater with me, so at $5 per ticket, the business only grossed $50 from that showing. On the positive side, three of those people were middle-aged white guys who said that this was their first Bollywood film. Still, I’m not sure numbers like that will inspire the theater to book more Hindi movies in the future.
October 2’s other new release, Haider, posted impressive returns as well. The adaptation of Hamlet earned $538,999 from 123 theaters ($4,382 average), giving Haider the eighth highest opening weekend earnings for a Hindi film in North America in 2014.
[Update: Box Office Mojo reports slightly higher 4-day earnings and slightly lower theater counts for both movies: $1,449,215 from 271 theaters ($5,348 average) for Bang Bang and $549,372 from 119 theaters ($4,617 average) for Haider.]
Finding Fanny is nearing the end of its theatrical run, and its total earnings are less than what I anticipated. From October 3-5, 2014, it earned $440 from one theater to bring its total to $798,652. When it debuted, I noted that every other Bollywood movie that earned in excess of $500,000 in its opening weekend this year went on to earn at least $850,000. I suspect Finding Fanny‘s failure to reach that benchmark can be attributed to the surprise success of Khoobsurat, which released the following weekend.
Other Hindi movies showing in North American theaters:
- Khoobsurat: Week 3; $43,999 from 34 theaters; $1,294 average; $707,592 total
- Daawat-e-Ishq: Week 3; $5,831 from 11 theaters; $530 average; $382,809 total
- The Lunchbox: Week 32; $498 from two theaters; $249 average; $4,049,489 total
Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama