Tag Archives: Phillauri

Bollywood Box Office: April 14-16, 2017

The headline for Bollywood Hungama’s latest international box office report — “‘Begum Jaan’ fails to shine in the overseas” — is a bit misleading in regard to how the movie fared in North America during its opening weekend of April 14-16, 2017. From just 34 theaters*, Begum Jaan earned $65,812, for an average of $1,936. While that total may not look like much compared to those of Bollywood movies that open on 100+ screens here, it’s big relative to other films with a similar theatrical footprint.

Median opening weekend earnings for the six Hindi films that released in fewer than 60 North American theaters this year are about $12,000. The best performance prior to Begum Jaan was by Commando 2, which opened with earnings of $40,611 from 49 theaters (40 adjusted). Begum Jaan not only improved on Commando 2‘s total by about 60%, its per-theater average of $1,936 was also substantially greater than Commando 2‘s $829 average ($1,015 adjusted). For a movie that is the definition of a niche film — Vidya Balan plays a madam in a historical drama — Begum Jaan did pretty well in its first weekend. It will likely be the first Hindi film of 2017 to open in fewer than 60 theaters to ultimately earn more than $100,000 in North America.

The weekend’s big winner was the new Punjabi film Manje Bistre, which earned $241,971 from 39 American theaters ($6,204 average) and $385,147 from nineteen Canadian theaters ($20,271 average!).

Other Bollywood movies still showing in North America:

  • Naam Shabana: Week 3; $4,756 from eleven theaters; $432 average; $260,191 total
  • Badrinath Ki Dulhania: Week 6; $4,425 from four theaters; $1,106 average; $1,997,701 total
  • Phillauri: Week 4; $3,988 from three theaters; $1,329 average; $471,522 total

* Unlike my standard weekly caveat about Bollywood Hungama counting Canadian theaters twice, it looks like they got it right for Begum Jaan! Of course, that messes up all of my data which relies upon theater numbers being wrong in a consistent way, but whatever.

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

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Bollywood Box Office: April 7-9, 2017

It was a slow weekend at the North American box office, and Bollywood films fared just as poorly as everything else. Here’s how the four Hindi titles left in theaters performed during the weekend of April 7-9, 2017:

  • Naam Shabana: Week 2; $40,385 from 51 theaters; $792 average; $241,919 total
  • Phillauri: Week 3; $18,814 from 16 theaters; $1,179 average; $459,213 total
  • Badrinath Ki Dulhania: Week 5; $13,283 from 13 theaters; $1,022 average; $1,989,132 total
  • MSG Lion Heart 2: Week 5; $1,536 from one theater; $6,243 total

One interesting note from the weekend is how differently the movies fared in the United States and Canada. Naam Shabana was the highest earner in the US, followed by Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Phillauri, in that order. Yet Phillauri earned the most in Canada, followed by Naam Shabana and Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Oh, and then that one random theater showing MSG Lion Heart 2.

Box Office Mojo described this as “a placeholder weekend” in North American, as moviegoers stayed home in anticipation of Friday’s release of The Fate of the Furious. Bollywood fans don’t have their own high-profile release to look forward to. There’s a chance that Friday’s new Hindi movie — Vidya Balan’s Begum Jaan — might not even open here. Even if it does, a historical drama about a brothel owner is a niche title with limited potential, regardless of how good it is. Plenty of businesses and the majority of schools across the US will be closed Friday ahead of Easter on Sunday, and not having a big commercial Hindi release in theaters is a missed opportunity.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: March 31-April 2, 2017

Naam Shabana got off to an unimpressive start at the North American box office. From March 31-April 2, 2017, the spin-off prequel earned $157,655 from 90 theaters ($1,752 average; adjusted average of $2,021 from 78 theaters*). While no one expected Naam Shabana to match the opening weekend collections of Baby ($434,951 from 99 theaters) — the 2015 Akshay Kumar action flick that spawned it — Naam Shabana‘s performance was sub-par compared to other movies that released this year with a similar theatrical footprint. It opened in three more theaters than Phillauri but earned over $100,000 less than Phillauri did in its opening weekend, despite its marketing advantage as part of a franchise. Naam Shabana‘s ultimate total will likely fall short of $300,000.

Phillauri held up reasonably well in its second weekend in theaters, retaining about 27% of its opening weekend business. It earned $71,277 from 78 theaters ($914 average; adjusted average of $1,097 from 65 theaters). Its total earning stand at $417,054.

After its fourth weekend in theaters, Badrinath Ki Dulhania is closing in on a North American total of $2 million. It added another $31,760 from 26 theaters ($1,222 average), bringing its current total to $1,966,459. (Bollywood Hungama had no US theater data for Badrinath Ki Dulhania, so I used Box Office Mojo’s figures.)

The Ghazi Attack closed out its seventh (and hopefully final) weekend, earning $10 from one theater. Its total across all languages is $770,425.

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening March 31: Naam Shabana and For Here or to Go?

One new Hindi film opens in the Chicago area on March 31, 2017. Naam Shabana is a spin-off origin story about Taapsee Pannu’s character from the 2015 action film Baby.

Naam Shabana opens Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 9 min.

Also new this week is the timely English-language film For Here or to Go?, starring Ali Fazal as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur caught up in America’s convoluted immigration system.

For Here or to Go? opens Friday at all four of the above theaters. Click here for a national theater list. The movie has a runtime of 1 hr. 45 min.

Phillauri carries over for a second week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. Both MovieMax and South Barrington 24 hold over Badrinath Ki Dulhania for a fourth week.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include:

Movie Review: Phillauri (2017)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

There’s so much to love about Phillauri on its own merits, but it also represents something important within the Hindi-film industry. This film is the product of an actress taking control of her career, in effect saying to the industry, “This is the caliber of movie I think the audience wants and the type of quality role female performers deserve.” It’s a powerful statement packaged within a fun, touching romantic-comedy.

Phillauri is the second movie by Clean Slate Films, a production house run by actress Anushka Sharma and her brother, Karnesh. As with Clean Slate’s first movie, the excellent 2015 revenge thriller NH10, Sharma stars in Phillauri in a role that explicitly addresses gender issues in a progressive way.

Sharma plays a ghost named Shashi, whose spirit has been trapped in a tree since her death many years ago. She’s ripped from her arboreal abode when a young man with an unlucky love life — Kanan (Suraj Sharma) — marries her tree in an effort to improve his luck before marrying his childhood sweetheart, Anu (Mehreen Pirzada). Shashi and Kanan are shocked to find themselves metaphysically hitched following the tree ceremony — especially Kanan, since he’s the only living person who can see Shashi.

As Kanan copes with the stress of preparing for his wedding to Anu with a ghost in tow, Shashi tries to recall how she died. She finds the modern world unfamiliar and too liberal for her taste — she’s scandalized by Anu’s backless dress and Kanan’s whiskey-drinking grandmother — but seeing a DJ spinning a record at the young couple’s engagement party brings back a flood of memories.

Flashbacks show us Shashi’s hometown of Phillaur outside of Amritsar in the early 20th Century. Traveling salesmen bring a phonograph to town to show off the latest technology, and Shashi sneaks out of the house to listen to the music, against the wishes of her overly protective and status-conscious older brother.

Beautiful Shashi is spotted at the phonograph demonstration by a popular local singer who goes by the nickname “Phillauri” (Diljit Dosanjh), a name that can be applied to anyone who hails from the town of Phillaur. He asks Shashi why she doesn’t sneak away to listen to his bawdy tunes the way the other single women do. She chastises him for wasting his platform on tacky frivolities instead of using it to elevate his audience, inspiring them with poetic lyrics and opening their minds to new ideas. He has the opportunity to reach an audience that others don’t have access to, particularly women during this time period.

Sharma knows first-hand about the film industry’s continuing focus on the youth and beauty of female performers, resulting in short careers and insubstantial roles as eye-candy alongside one of a handful of middle-aged male actors. Like some of her female contemporaries, Sharma is using her hard-earned star power and connections to bankroll movies that feature strong women in uplifting roles. When her character in Phillauri talks about using one’s platform for good, it’s a statement of her own purpose and a challenge to the men who dominate the film industry in front of and behind the camera to do the same.

Sharma also deserves kudos in her capacity as a producer for assembling a top-notch crew to make Phillauri. Helming his first picture, director Anshai Lal gets great performances from his cast — Suraj Sharma’s high-pitched whimpering is a hoot — in a film that looks fabulous, also thanks to cinematographer Vishal Sinha. The costumes by Veera Kapur are as lush as Sameer Uddin’s score, which makes the tear-jerking climax all the more memorable. Writer Anvita Dutt’s screenplay is tight and layered.

It’s unfortunate that not all of the songs’ lyrics are subtitled in English. Some are, when the lyrics are of particular plot significance, but there’s no reason why all of the songs shouldn’t be. Failing to do so puts international audiences at a disadvantage.

Yet a lack of subtitles doesn’t impede understanding because the script is “high-concept” done right. Phillauri‘s entertaining and heartfelt story translates just fine.

Links

Bollywood Box Office: March 24-26, 2017

Phillauri got off to a solid start in North American theaters. During the weekend of March 24-26, 2017, it earned $259,250 from 87 theaters ($2,980 average; adjusted average of $3,503 from 74 theaters*). A third of that total came from just thirteen Canadian theaters, which accounted for fewer than 20% of the total number of theaters.

As the second production from actress Anushka Sharma’s production house Clean Slate Films, Phillauri‘s performance shows the company’s fortunes trending in the right direction. Phillauri opened with almost twice the earnings of the company’s first release, NH10, which earned $143,209 when it opened on 46 screens on March 13, 2015. Granted, NH10 was a violent revenge drama with a more limited potential audience than a family friendly romantic-comedy like Phillauri. Still, Sharma is clearly producing movies that people in North America want to see, so more power to her.

Badrinath Ki Dulhania continued its strong run through a third weekend, earning $139,618 from 105 theaters ($1,330 average; adjusted average of $1,501 from 93 theaters). Its total stands at $1,888,844, putting it in second place for the year so far in North America, behind Raees.

The Ghazi Attack finished its sixth and likely last weekend with $468 from two theaters ($234 average). Its total earnings across all languages are $770,163.

*Bollywood Hungama frequently counts Canadian theaters twice in when they report figures for a film’s first few weeks of release. When possible, I verify theater counts at Box Office Mojo, but I use Bollywood Hungama as my primary source because they provide a comprehensive and consistent — if flawed — data set.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Opening March 24: Phillauri

The second movie from actress Anushka Sharma’s production house Clean Slate Films hits Chicago area theaters on March 24, 2017. Phillauri stars Sharma as a ghost who gets accidentally hitched to a young man with an unlucky love life, played by Life of Pi‘s Suraj Sharma.

Phillauri opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 18 min.

Badrinath Ki Dulhania carries over for a third week at MovieMax, South Barrington 24, Marcus Addison, and Woodridge 18, plus the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

Director Ritesh Batra’s The Sense of an Ending carries over for a second week at Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, Renaissance Place Cinema in Highland Park, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 15 in Lincolnshire, and AMC Showplace Village Crossing 18 in Skokie.

Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include: