The weekend’s two new Hindi releases met very different fates at the North American box office, despite opening on approximately the same number of screens. From October 5-7, 2018, the romance Loveyatri earned $73,656 from 50 theaters ($1,473 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. During the same weekend, the thriller Andhadhun earned $251,942 from 54 theaters ($4,666 average). 143 Cinema reports even higher earnings for Andhadhun of $278,464, making for a per-screen average of $5,157. In terms of opening weekend per-screen average, Andhadhun ranks in 6th place for the year, with Loveyatri in 32nd place out of 45 Bollywood films released in North America.
Sui Dhaaga: Made in India held up well in its second weekend of release, retaining 37% of its opening weekend business. It earned $217,816 from 132 theaters ($1,650 average), bringing its North American total to $999,148. Pataakha‘s woes compounded as it lost 98% of its opening weekend business, with a second weekend total of $713 ($143 average). That’s the year’s worst holdover percentage among the 42 Bollywood movies that scored a second weekend here.
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters:
Stree: Week 6; $10,717 from seven theaters; $1,531 average; $839,668 total
Batti Gul Meter Chalu: Week 3; $1,600 from three theaters; $533 average; $243,216 total
Sui Dhaaga: Made in India had the eighth-best opening weekend for a Hindi film in North America this year. From September 28-30, 2018, the drama earned $582,006 from 193 theaters ($3,016 average), according to Box Office Mojo. Given Sui Dhaaga‘s high theater count, one might’ve predicted an even higher total, but this was an especially competitive weekend for Indian films in North America, with new Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu titles posting big numbers as well.
The weekend’s other new Hindi release — Pataakha — buckled under the pressure, earning $36,483 from 54 theaters ($676 average), according to Bollywood Hungama. Writer-director Vishal Bhardwaj’s previous North American box office low was 7 Khoon Maaf, which earned $164,153 from 65 theaters ($2,525 average) in its opening weekend in 2011. Perhaps the fact that Pataakha opened on fewer screens than 7 Khoon Maaf did seven years ago indicates tempered expectations for the new release on the part of the distributors.
As has been the case for more than a month, the most interesting story from the weekend is still Stree. In its fifth weekend of release, it earned $26,113 from 15 theaters ($1,741) — just $540 less than Batti Gul Meter Chalu did in its second weekend ($26,653 from 40 theaters; $666 average)! Stree beat Manmarziyaan, which took in $18,938 from 19 theaters ($997 average) in its third weekend of release. Total earnings for all three films are as follows: Stree = $819,457; Manmarziyaan = $556,312; Batti Gul Meter Chalu = $235,526.
Two intriguing new Hindi movies open in Chicago area theaters on September 28, 2018. The Yash Raj Films comedy-drama Sui Dhaaga: Made in India stars Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan and is directed by Dum Laga Ke Haisha‘s Sharat Katariya.
Also new on Friday is Haider director Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha (“Firecracker“), starring Dangal‘s Sanya Malhotra and debutant Radhika Madan as a pair of feuding sisters.
Pataakha opens Friday at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 14 min.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu gets a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, and Cantera 17. The South Barrington 24 and Cantera 17 both hold onto Manmarziyaan, while Stree gets a fifth week at MovieMax and the South Barrington 24.
Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:
Emerging adulthood is a particularly annoying stage of human development. Teenage immaturity is no longer a viable excuse for bad behavior, but many emerging adults are still self-centered enough not to fully appreciate the impact of their actions and choices on those around them or even on their own futures. It was a stage I was glad to grow out of and glad for my friends to grow out of.
It’s a tricky balance to write a drama about emerging adults that feels authentic but isn’t as irritating as real life. Maybe director Anurag Kashyap and writer Kanika Dhillon get things too right in Manmarziyaan (“The Heart’s Wish“, international title “Husband Material“). Two-and-a-half hours of watching characters repeat the same mistakes because they lack the self-knowledge not to is tiresome, even with a tremendous cast in the leading roles.
Headstrong hockey player Rumi’s (Taapsee Pannu) romantic relationship with wannabe DJ Vicky (Vicky Kaushal) is the neighborhood’s worst-kept secret. Sick of the local gossip, Rumi’s family tells her to marry Vicky, or they’ll find a groom for her.
For Rumi, the solution is easy. An engagement will pacify her family indefinitely, and she and Vicky have professed their love to each other anyway. But Vicky is happy the way things are, with all the sex he wants and none of the responsibility that comes with a publicly acknowledged relationship.
As immature as Vicky is, Rumi isn’t much better. She spends far too long ignoring the reality Vicky presents to her and wishing for him to be someone he’s not. She accepts a marriage proposal secured by her family as a means of punishing Vicky, not really considering that the groom-to-be, London banker Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan), thinks he’s getting a wife, not some other guy’s spiteful girlfriend.
The first half of Manmarziyaan is so dense with material that the interval break comes as something of a surprise, resetting the story right when it seems to be nearing a conclusion. The film shifts focus from how Vicky’s immaturity ruins his relationship with Rumi to how Rumi’s immaturity ruins her relationship with Robbie. It’s too much of the same thing.
The bigger question is why Robbie thinks Rumi is worth all the trouble, since he really doesn’t know much about her. She gives him the silent treatment when he asks her questions — that is when she’s not sneaking off by herself. Why would someone as ready for marriage as Robbie is put up with her petulance for as long as he does?
Robbie claims that he wants an unconventional bride, and Rumi’s vivacity intrigues him more than other, more demure candidates suggested by the matchmaker. But when Rumi and Robbie are together, she behaves much like a conventional housewife, cooking and waiting up late for him. There’s no discussion of how her other interests — playing hockey and working at her family’s sporting goods store — fit in with married life, or how she’d spend her days if it was just her and Vicky in London, with no family or friends around. The movie makes it seem as though the only obstacle between Rumi and wedded bliss with Robbie is Vicky, but maybe the version of married life Robbie offers her is part of the problem.
It’s not the cast’s fault that Manmarziyaan doesn’t quite work. Pannu’s spiritedness is balanced by Bachchan’s steadfastness. Kaushal goes full-tilt with Vicky, especially during Amit Trivedi’s great song “DhayaanChand” (one of several songs in the film to feature the twin hip-hop dancers Poonam & Priyanka, who steal the whole movie). The soundtrack overall is quite good.
Watching the characters in Manmarziyaan repeat the same mistakes over and over brought back memories of a time when my friends and I made ourselves unhappier than we should have been by trying to force relationships to work that never could. It was a relief to grow out of that phase. I wish the characters in the film had done so sooner.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu had an okay opening weekend in North America. From September 21-23, 2018, the social issue picture earned $139,365 from 73 theaters ($1,909 average), according to Bollywood Hungama.
Manmarziyaan is closing in on half a million dollars in North America after second-weekend earnings of $101,797 from 79 theaters ($1,289 average) brought its total to $489,414. The less said the better about another film in its second weekend of release: Mitron, which earned $874 from four theaters ($219 average). Its total earnings stand at $11,354 — fourth worst for the year so far.
The big story remains the continuing box office success of Stree, which added another $60,534 from 27 theaters over the weekend ($2,242 average). Of the 25 Hindi films to last four weeks in North American theaters this year, Stree is one of six films to earn more than $50,000 in its fourth weekend of release. If it follows the trend of those other five movies, it should earn more than $10,000 next weekend and stick around for at least another three weeks, if only in a handful of theaters. Stree‘s total earnings stand at $769,438. An $800,000 final tally is doable.
Gold stuck around for a sixth weekend in one theater, earning $596 to bring its total to $1,129,092.
After its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Manmarziyaan — aka “Husband Material” — had a good opening weekend in North America. From September 14-16, 2018, Manmarziyaan earned $292,463 from 100 theaters ($2,925 average), according to figures provided by Sumit Chadha. The weekend’s other new release — the Jackky Bhagnani comedy Mitron — fared predictably poorly, bringing in $7,674 from 13 theaters ($590 average).
Forty Hindi films (including a few multilingual movies) have released in North America in so far in 2018, making it a convenient time to establish benchmarks for success by separating those movies into quartiles (figures below are estimates because I like round numbers). Based on total North American earnings, the bottom quartile includes titles that earned less than $80,000. The second quartile ranges from $80,000 to about $300,000, with the next ranging from $300,000 up to $1.1 million. Essentially, a movie needs to earn more than $1 million to make it into the top quartile here, but just $300,000 to make it into the top half.
Other Hindi films still showing in North American theaters:
Stree: Week 3; $96,170 from 41 theaters; $2,346 average; $665,464 total
Gold: Week 5; $2,118 from two theaters; $1,059 average; $1,127,974 total
Paltan: Week 2; $470 from three theaters; $157 average; $17,923 total
After its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Manmarziyaan — known internationally as “Husband Material” — hits Chicago area theaters on September 14, 2018. The romantic drama from director Anurag Kashyap stars Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, and Abhishek Bachchan.