Tag Archives: Raaz 3

Bollywood Horror Movies at the North American Box Office

Bollywood horror movies are notorious duds at the North American box office. They open in a handful of theaters, make next to nothing, and disappear quickly. When Anushka Sharma announced that she would star in the horror film Pari — produced by her own company, Clean Slate Films — it raised the question of whether her presence as a marquee star could boost a genre movie’s ceiling internationally.

Horror films remain on the fringes of Bollywood. Most aren’t released in theaters internationally and are left to find their way into homes via DVD or streaming video. Still, when the Hindi film industry collectively decided (deliberately or not) in 2012 to increase the number of Bollywood movies released in North American theaters by a third — from 36 titles in 2011 to 48 in 2012, with an average of 50 Bollywood movies released here yearly since then — that left a lot of open slots to fill, leaving room for niche fare like horror flicks.

That’s not to say there was a Hindi horror boom in the United States and Canada. Most years only see one or two scary films released in theaters, plus a few titles that aren’t traditional horror fare like the horror comedy Go Goa Gone or the survival horror flick Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans.

Pari released in 45 theaters in North America: nine in Canada and 36 in the United States. That’s one more theater than carried NH10 — the maiden production from Sharma’s Clean Slate Films — back in 2015, but 42 fewer than the 87 that carried Clean Slate’s romantic comedy Phillauri last year (all numbers per Bollywood Hungama). Still, for a Hindi horror movie in North America, 45 theaters is about as big a theatrical footprint as you’ll find.

For the purposes of comparing to Pari, let’s look at other supernatural horror movies (which make up the bulk of Bollywood horror flicks). Here’s how such films have fared in North America over the years, in terms of: number of theaters they opened in; how much they earned total in their opening weekend; the average amount earned per theater in that opening weekend; and their final earnings total.

2012
Raaz 3: 28 theaters; $95,301; $3,404 average; $150,716 total
Bhoot Returns: 15 theaters; $3,478; $232 average; $3,478 total

2013
Ek Thi Daayan: 48 theaters; $65,857; $1,372 average; $112,135 total

2014
Ragini MMS 2: 20 theaters; $16,317; $815 average; $16,317 total

2016
1920 London: 38 theaters; $16,204; $426 average; $24,854 total

2017
Dobaara: See Your Evil: 30 theaters; $7,110; $237 average; $11,002 total

2018
1921: 10 theaters; $4,583; $458 average; $7,850 total

Pari opened with earnings of $118,906 — better than the final totals of all but one film in the list above (Raaz 3). Pari‘s $2,642 per-theater average was less than Raaz 3‘s $3,404 average, which only proves that Raaz 3 deserved a higher theater count than it got.

Where Pari really differentiated itself was in its second weekend performance. It held onto 54% of its opening weekend business ($64,247), which was leaps and bounds ahead of Raaz 3‘s 27% retention rate and Ek Thi Daayan‘s 21% carry over. By the end of its third weekend, Pari had earned $320,641 — more than double the next highest total on the list above.

The major takeaway from these numbers is that Hindi films in niche genres are more heavily dependent upon star power than those in more popular genres like romantic comedy or drama. The numbers also demonstrate which stars are able to draw North American Bollywood fans to the theater on their name alone. Sharma is obvious, as further bolstered by the box office success of her other home productions: NH10 ($319,872 total) and Phillauri ($471,522 total). Raaz 3 and Ek Thi Daayan star Emraan Hashmi is another clear box office draw, although his popular co-stars — Bipasha Bashu in Raaz 3 and the trio of Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin, and Huma Qureshi in Ek Thi Daayan — certainly helped. Both movies took in more than $100,000 here.

Yet no other recent Hindi horror film released theatrically in North America managed to earn even $25,000. Qureshi couldn’t do it opposite her real-life sibling, Saqib Saleem, in Dobaara. Despite their own name recognition and the fact that their movies were sequels, Sunny Leone and Sharman Joshi fell short with Ragini MMS 2 and 1920 London, respectively. With such dependence on the caliber of the cast, one wonders if Bollywood horror films without top-tier stars wouldn’t fare better by releasing straight to streaming services here in North America and skipping theaters entirely.

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Spooky Bollywood Movies on Netflix

This post was originally written in 2014. Click here for my 2017 edition.

Halloween is just days away, and although horror flicks are still somewhat rare in Bollywood, there are several creepy Hindi films available for streaming on Netflix to get you in the mood for the holiday.

Raaz_3dRaaz 3 (2012)
I loved Bipasha Basu as a movie star so desperate to hold on to her fame that she makes a deal with the devil. Emraan Hashmi plays her conflicted boyfriend, and Esha Gupta the up-and-comer who drives Bipasha to black magic. While by no means terrifying, Raaz 3 does have some eerie, atmospheric sets and fun performances. My review

 

13b13B (2009)
13B has a neat premise: a daily soap opera predicts the horrors that await a family in their new apartment, but only the husband (played by R. Madhavan) realizes the show’s significance. While more of a creepy thriller than out-and-out horror flick, it serves as an entertaining satire on obsessive TV viewing habits. My review

 

Dangerous_Ishhq_PosterDangerous Ishhq (2012)
The best thing to be said for Dangerous Ishhq is that it’s a pretty film to look at. Karishma Kapoor returned to the screen after nine years to play a model who hallucinates the deadly events of her past lives. This supernatural murder mystery makes up the rules as it goes along, and the acting is just okay. My review

 

Gauri_-_The_UnbornGauri: The Unborn (2007)
Atul Kulkarni and Rituparna Sengupta play a married couple who must protect their daughter from a spirit that seeks to claim her. Sounds scary.

Streaming Video News: October 4, 2013

Raaz 3 is now available for streaming on Netflix. With Halloween less than four weeks away, it’s the perfect time to check out this not-so-scary supernatural thriller from 2012.

Today marks the streaming debut of Lootera on Eros Now. The movie is gorgeous, and well worth the rental price of $3.99.

Opening September 14: Barfi!

One of my most anticipated Bollywood releases of the year, Barfi!,opens in five Chicago area theaters on September 14, 2012. Barfi! — which is the name of an Indian dessert and not a variation on a euphemism for vomit — tells the story of a deaf-mute man played by Ranbir Kapoor and his relationships with two women, played by Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz.

Barfi! opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min.

Last week’s 3D Hindi horror film, Raaz 3, carries over for a second week at the Golf Glen 5, Cantera 17, and South Barrington 30, which is also holding over Ek Tha Tiger for a fifth week.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Life Is Beautiful (Telugu), Run Baby Run (Malayalam), and Shirdi Sai (Telugu).

The trailer for the November 2 release Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana hit theaters today:

Movie Review: Raaz 3 (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Note: This review covers the 2D version of the movie, not the 3D version.

I am not a fan of horror movies. I startle easily, and I’ve been known to walk out of the theater if a film is too intense. With that in mind, I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed Raaz 3.

Despite being the third film in the horror series, Raaz 3 isn’t a true sequel. None of the characters from the previous Raaz (“Secret”) films carry over into this one, though actors Emraan Hashmi and Bipasha Basu are back for a second round.

This time, Basu plays Shanaya, a superstar actress who sees her fame being usurped by a new starlet, Sanjana (Esha Gupta). When conventional prayers don’t work, Shanaya turns to black magic to dethrone Sanjana. Shanaya enlists her boyfriend, Aditya (Emraan Hashmi), to help her carry out her evil plans.

Aditya, himself a successful director, helps out of love for Shanaya and obligation to her for furthering his movie career. He casts Sanjana in his new film as a means to poison her with an evil concoction that traps her soul in the spirit world. When the spell starts to have real world consequences beyond Sanjana’s emotional torment, Aditya realizes that being loyal to Shanaya was a mistake.

As with most horror films, the scares are the gilding on a traditional morality tale. Raaz 3 is really about the dangers of ego, jealousy, and the pursuit of fame, embodied by Shanaya. A neat shot early in the film captures Shanaya sitting in her luxurious apartment in front of a wall-sized photo of her own face. Her whole apartment is a tribute to herself, and Shanaya sees a threat to her standing in the industry as a threat to her very existence.

Basu is magnificent as Shanaya. She strikes the perfect balance of rage, vulnerability, and egomania. Her fear is understandable, and that’s what makes it so dangerous. Basu plays every scene perfectly, shedding tears as Shanaya reels Aditya in, turning ice-cold the second he consents to help her.

Hashmi likewise hits the right notes with Aditya, a guy whose good nature makes him an easy target. There are some great shots of Aditya as doctors and priests speculate as to what’s wrong with Sanjana, his face revealing his internal debate over whether he should admit his role in her suffering.

Esha Gupta is outshone by her costars. It’s only her second role, so I’ll cut her some slack, but she plays Sanjana all wrong early on. Sanjana, who’s supposed to be the innocent young actress uncorrupted by fame — the foil to Shanaya — aggressively pursues Aditya romantically on the set of their film. She comes across as desperate for love, almost as desperate as Shanaya is for fame.

Even though it’s nearly 140 minutes long, Raaz 3 is paced well enough to never feel slow, and characters are given time to develop. Director Vikram Bhatt doesn’t miss an opportunity for a callback (you didn’t think you’d seen the last of that creepy clown in the photo with Sanjana, did you?). There are some cool sets as well, from Shanaya’s glamorous apartment to the eerie pond in the slum where she bargains with the evil spirit.

The fact that I was able to endure the whole movie inside the theater indicates that Raaz 3 is probably tame by the standards of hardcore horror fans. There are a number of jump scares that are (mercifully) predictable, and those don’t even start until 30 minutes into the movie. It’s minimally gory, but its R rating is reason enough to leave the kids at home.

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Opening September 7: Raaz 3

Raaz 3 — another sequel that’s not really a sequel — opens in Chicago area theaters on September 7, 2012. The 3D horror film stars Emraan Hashmi and Bipasha Basu.

Raaz 3 opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 (2D only) in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 (3D only) in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 (2D and 3D) in Warrenville. The film is rated R and has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min. Read my review of the film here.

Despite opening to dismal collections of just $105,865 from seventy-four U.S. theaters, Joker gets a second week at the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17. For comparison’s sake, the Tamil film Mugamoodi earned $55,501 from just twenty-two screens in its U.S. debut last weekend.

Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi gets a third weekend at the South Barrington 30, while Ek Tha Tiger sticks around for a fourth week at all of the above theaters.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Desperate Endeavors (English), Mugamoodi (Tamil), Run Baby Run (Malayalam), and the Telugu films Shirdi Sai and Sudigadu.

I’m sad to report that the streaming video service Mela is shutting down on September 15. I updated my article on the best ways to stream Bollywood movies on the iPad to reflect the news.

In the days that Mela remains active, I recommend using it to watch the exceptional documentary Supermen of Malegoan. If you’re a masochist, check out the Hindi horror film Ghost, the current leader in the race for my worst Bollywood film of 2012. Other movies I’ve reviewed via Mela include Hate Story, Bumboo, Chaurahen, and The Forest.

The Toronto International Film Festival is underway, and this year’s City to City spotlight shines on Mumbai. The great political thriller Shanghai is among the ten films featured in the select program.

Today marked the release of the trailer for Rani Mukerji’s Aiyyaa, which opens in theaters on October 12:

In Theaters August 10, 2012

With the guaranteed blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger set to open next Wednesday, there are no new Hindi movies opening in Chicago area theaters on Friday, August 10. However, the options that remain are pretty good.

The inept yet deliriously fun Jism 2 carries over for a second week at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. The South Barrington 30 also carries over the compelling romantic drama Cocktail for a fifth week. Last weekend’s largely unheralded new release, Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai, gets another week at the Golf Glen 5.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Andala Rakshasi (Telugu), Julayi (Telugu), Mirattal (Tamil), and Vaadhyar (Malayalam).

The trailers for two October 5, 2012, releases went public today. Preity Zinta’s Ishkq in Paris:

… and Vivek Oberoi’s Kismet Love Paisa Dilli:

Some other noteworthy trailers released recently include those for Raaz 3 (opening September 7):

… and Student of the Year (October 19):