I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix to reflect one change. After just five days, Daawat-e-Ishq has disappeared from the streaming service. The same thing happened to Mardaani and Bewakoofiyaan, two other movies produced by Yash Raj Films. It took a few months for Bewakoofiyaan to return for its official run on the Netflix, so I expect it will be a while before we see Mardaani or Daawat-e-Ishq on the service again.
This serves as a warning that, whenever YRF’s most recent theatrical release, Kill Dil, hits Netflix, you’d better watch it right away.
If you just can’t wait to watch Kill Dil, Daawat-e-Ishq, or Mardaani, all three are currently available for rent on YouTube for $2.99 apiece.
Update: Mike of The Arts blog may have solved the mystery: no English subtitles. At least that was his experience watching Daawat-e-Ishq on Netflix the other day. It’s unknown (at least to me) if the YouTube videos have English subtitles, so rent with caution if you don’t speak Hindi.
Update 2: Thanks again to Mike for noticing that Daawat-e-Ishq is back on Netflix again, now with subtitles. Still not sure what happened to Mardaani, though.
I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix to reflect two changes to the catalog. The enjoyable 2012 comedy Bol Bachchan will expire on January 1, 2015. More importantly, the 2014 thriller Mardaani is now available for streaming. Watch it for Rani Mukerji’s terrific performance as a tough cop.
For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.
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
In the battle of the romantic comedies, Khoobsurat emerged the clear victor over Daawat-e-Ishq. During the weekend of September 19-21, 2014, Disney/UTV’s Khoobsurat earned $332,486 from 69 theaters in North America. It averaged an impressive $4,819 per screen.
By contrast, Yash Raj Films’ Daawat-e-Ishq earned $204,950 from 113 theaters for a per-screen average of $1,814.
2014 has been a dud of a year for Yash Raj Films in North America. Following the release of 2013’s massively successful Dhoom 3 — which earned $8,090,250 in North America — all of the Hindi films YRF has released since have looked comparatively anemic:
- Gunday: $887,675 total gross; widest release: 150 theaters
- Bewakoofiyaan: $106,800 total gross; widest release: 66 theaters
- Mardaani: $393,619 total gross; widest release: 86 theaters
Given that Daawat-e-Ishq opened in 113 theaters in the United States and Canada, YRF clearly expected it to perform far better than it did. YRF still has Kill Dil to release in November, but it looks too wacky to attract a wide audience. YRF’s other 2014 release —Titli — will likely be relegated to the festival circuit in North America (including three showings at the Chicago International Film Festival in October).
Other Hindi movies still in U.S. and Canadian theaters:
- Finding Fanny: Week 2; $124,165 from 114 theaters; $1,089 average; $739,370 total
- Mary Kom: Week 3; $12,210 from 17 theaters; $718 average; $629,322 total
- The Lunchbox: Week 30; $772 from two theaters; $336 average; $4,046,834 total
- Mardaani: Week 5; $59 from one theater; $393,619 total
Director Homi Adajania’s English-language comedy Finding Fanny performed very well in its opening weekend in the United States and Canada. From September 12-14, Finding Fanny earned $515,393 from 121 theaters for an average of $4,259 per screen. Every Bollywood film that has earned more than $500,000 in its opening weekend in North America this year has gone on to earn at least $850,000, so total earnings in excess of $1 million are not out of the question for Finding Fanny.
Indian films with predominantly English dialogue are rare, but they tend to do well at the North American box office. The 2011 comedy Delhi Belly earned $581,943 in its opening weekend, going on to post total earnings of $1,532,594. In 2006, Adajania’s first English film — Being Cyrus — opened in just two theaters in North America but earned $40,744. That’s an astounding per-screen average of $20,372!
In its second weekend in theaters, Mary Kom added another $119,460 to its tally, bringing its North American total to $590,165.
Other Hindi movies showing in U.S. and Canadian theaters over the weekend:
- Mardaani: Week 4; $6,560 from 12 theaters; $547 average; $391,931 total
- The Lunchbox: Week 29; $3,302 from three theaters; $$1,101 average; $4,043,411 total
- Singham Returns: Week 5; $1,612 from six theaters; $269 average; $1,231,550 total
Finding Fanny opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. While MovieMax specifies that it’s carrying the Hindi version of the film, the rest of the theaters are presumably carrying the version with English dialogue. Finding Fanny has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 42 min.
Mary Kom turned in a solid opening weekend at the North American box office from September 5-7, 2014. It earned $370,277 from 139 theaters, for a per-screen average of $2,664.
While this opening weekend gross ranks tenth among Bollywood films in North America so far this year, distributors were surely hoping for more. It opened on the sixth highest number of screens, yet — of the eleven films to open in 100 or more theaters — Mary Kom‘s per-screen average was only higher than that of the disastrous Humshakals.
Mary Kom‘s performance is also underwhelming relative to another sports biopic of note: last summer’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. The Farhan Akhtar racing flick opened in 140 theaters in the United States and Canada, earning $647,112 ($4,622 average) in its first weekend. Given that Priyanka Chopra has a higher international profile than Akhtar and considering Mary Kom’s more current relevance — she competed in the Olympics just two years ago, whereas Milkha Singh last competed in the 1960s — one would’ve hoped for a more comparable performance from Mary Kom.
Mardaani held up well through its third weekend in theaters. It earned $28,232 from 26 theaters ($1,086 average), bringing its North American total to $377,327.
Raja Natwarlal‘s business fell nearly 90% in its second week. From 30 theaters, it earned just $10,846 ($362 average). Its total stands at $131,105.
Singham Returns closed its fourth weekend with $9,677, bringing its total to $1,226,581. (The theater count of 127 supplied to Box Office Mojo seems incredibly high. Bollywood Hungama reports the movie as showing in 17 theaters, which is more realistic.)
In its 28th week in theaters, The Lunchbox added another $1,319 to its total earnings of $4,039,660.
The Bollywood sports biopic Mary Kom releases in Chicago area theaters on September 5, 2014. Priyanka Chopra plays the Indian boxing champ and bronze medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Mary Kom opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, 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. 4 min.
Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include Rabhasa (Telugu) at the Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont and MovieMax, which also carries Powar (Kannada), Boochamma Boochodu (Telugu), Kiraak (Telugu), Peruchazhi (Malayalam), and Run Raja Run (Telugu).
The heist film Raja Natwarlal didn’t set the North American box office on fire during its opening weekend, but its performance was typical for an Emraan Hashmi film in the United States and Canada. From August 29-31, 2014, Raja Natwarlal earned $83,669 from 73 theaters, an average of $1,146 per screen. Including its earnings from Monday’s Labor Day holiday in the U.S., Raja Natwarlal‘s total North American earnings stand at $102,314.
That total is decent for a Hashmi film. However, the per screen average is low thanks to it comparatively wide release. Take a look at the opening weekend earnings and screen counts for some recent Hashmi releases, along with the films’ total North American earnings:
- Ghanchakkar: $143,616 from 89 screens ($1,614 avg); $203,044 total
- Ek Thi Dayaan: $65,857 from 48 screens ($1,372 avg); $112,135 total
- Raaz 3: $95,301 from 28 screens ($3,404 avg); $150,716 total
- Shanghai: $107,565 from 37 screens ($2,907 avg); $183,748 total
- Jannat 2: $45,000 from 19 screens ($2,368 avg); $54,148 total
- The Dirty Picture: $267,722 from 52 screens ($5,149 avg); $462,000 total
Given that Hashmi’s films typically gross less than $200,000 in North America, I’m not sure there’s much need to open them in more than 50 theaters. Even his highest profile film — The Dirty Picture — opened in just 52 theaters here. Expanding the screen count for his films seems to dilute their per-theater returns without significantly increasing overall gross.
Mardaani held up well in its second weekend, earning $77,252 from 48 theaters ($1,609 average). The total gross for the Rani Mukerji thriller stands at $308,601.
Singham Returns likewise continued its strong run, adding $51,485 over the course of its third weekend. Its total earnings through Labor Day are $1,209,663.
Other Hindi movies still in theaters:
- The Lunchbox: Week 27; $1,302 from two theaters ($651 average); $4,037,755 total
- Kick: Week 6; $14 from one theater; $2,403,553 total