Two Bollywood movies were just added to Netflix: 2012’s Rowdy Rathore and 2008’s Fashion. I found both Fashion and Rowdy Rathore moderately enjoyable. For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.
Queen‘s box office run continues to amaze. The weekend of March 28-30, 2014, marked Queen‘s fourth weekend in North American theaters, during which it showed in more theaters and earned more money than it did in its first weekend (according to Bollywood Hungama).
To put this in perspective, compare Queen‘s North American box office performance to that of Jai Ho, currently the highest earning Hindi film released in the U.S. and Canada in 2014. Jai Ho opened in 183 theaters on January 24, earning $817,744. Its earnings fell by almost 80% in its second weekend. In its fourth and final weekend, it earned $2,396 from just three theaters.
Queen started out more slowly, earning $161,998 from thirty-nine theaters. Its earnings nearly doubled in its second week and held steady in week three. It expanded into its largest number of theaters in week four (sixty-four), whence it earned $212,550.
The way Queen has added just a few theaters per week mirrors the gradual roll-out of The Lunchbox in North America. The difference is that roll-out of The Lunchbox was planned, whereas Queen‘s growth has been due to audience demand.
With only Main Tera Hero likely to release in North America this upcoming weekend, Queen should retain much of its current theatrical footprint for a fifth weekend. With a total haul of $1,179,491 currently, that footprint should allow Queen to supplant Jai Ho ($1,256,275) as the highest earning Hindi film of 2014, so far.
Now showing in Canada as well as the U.S., The Lunchbox earned $277,853 from sixty-nine theaters ($4,027 average) in its fifth week of release. It’s total earnings stand at $848,990.
Dishkiyaoon made barely a peep in its opening weekend in theaters. It opened in just eleven theaters in the U.S. and Canada and earned $7,341 ($667 average). That’s still better than the first weekend returns of Gang of Ghosts, Ya Rab, and Karle Pyaar Karle, despite opening in fewer theaters than any of those films.
Other Hindi movies still in North American theaters include:
- Total Siyapaa: Week 4; $1,207 from four screens, $125,743 total
- Bewakoofiyaan: Week 3; $477 from two screens; $106,710 total
- Gulaab Gang: Week 4; $426 from one screen; $98,475 total
- Highway: Week 6; $160 from one screen; $529,449 total
- Gang of Ghosts: Week 2; $72 from two screens; $5,978 total
- Shaadi Ke Side Effects: Week 5; $48 from two screens; $947,787 total
Note: Figures courtesy of Bollywood Hungama
None of the three new Hindi films releasing in India on March 28, 2014, will open in Chicago on Friday. That leaves Queen atop the throne in local theaters. Now in its fourth week, Queen carries over at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington.
The Lunchbox continues its impressive box office run, carrying over for another week at the Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, and Renaissance Highland Park in Highland Park.
Despite two new Hindi films hitting theaters on March 21, 2014, the North American box office performances of all Bollywood films were dominated by a movie in its third week in theaters.
Queen continues its remarkable run, expanding into a total of fifty-seven theaters in its third week of release. According to Bollywood Hungama, it earned $284,030 in the U.S. and Canada for the weekend of March 21 through March 23, putting it in twentieth place in the general U.S. box office. With total earnings of $895,130 so far, Queen is poised to bypass Shaadi Ke Side Effects as the second highest earner among Bollywood films this year (behind Jai Ho).
The weekend’s two new releases fared dismally at the North American box office. Both movies opened in twenty theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Ragini MMS 2 earned $16,317 (an $815 average per screen), while Gang of Ghosts earned just $4509 ($225 average).
Bewakoofiyaan performed just about as miserably in its second weekend. It earned $12,589 from twenty-one theaters ($599 average). Its total stands at $105,025. Given that Bewakoofiyaan is a better movie than its numbers would indicate, I hope Yash Raj Films gets it on Netflix quickly to help it find an audience there.
The Lunchbox continues to perform well in the U.S., though figures differ on how well, based on the source. Now showing in thirty-six theaters, Bollywood Hungama lists The Lunchbox‘s fourth-weekend earnings as $139,033, while Box Office Mojo tallies them higher at $183,986. Bollywood Hungama reports the film’s total earnings as $468,043 so far, compared to Box Office Mojo’s total of $525,363.
Among older Hindi films still in theaters, Shaadi Ke Side Effects continues to best more recent offerings. In its fourth weekend — according to Bollywood Hungama — SKSE earned $3578 from eight theaters ($447 average), bringing its total to $946,659.
In its third weekend, Total Siyapaa earned $1,918 from 5 theaters ($383 average; $123,755 total earnings), while Gulaab Gang earned $1,334 from 4 theaters ($334 average; $97,630 total earnings).
Two spooky new Hindi movies arrive in Chicago area theaters on March 21, 2014. First up is the erotic horror sequel Ragini MMS 2, starring Sunny Leone.
On the other end of the supernatural spectrum is the comedy Gang of Ghosts.
Gang of Ghosts also opens on Friday at the South Barrington 30. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 9 min.
The delightful comedy Queen continues to build on its great word of mouth, carrying over for a third week at the South Barrington 30 and Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and expanding to the AMC River East 21 in Chicago on Friday.
Other Indian movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend include Balyakalasakhi (Malayalam) and Cuckoo (Tamil) at the Golf Glen 5 and Kaum De Heere (Punjabi) at the Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale.
Something fascinating happened at the North American box office during the weekend of March 14-16, 2014. A movie in its second weekend not only won the weekend over the lone new Hindi release, but also nearly doubled its own first weekend earnings.
Following an unexpectedly strong box office performance last weekend, driven by positive word of mouth, twelve more theaters in the U.S. and Canada added the charming coming-of-age film Queen to their rosters. With a total of fifty-one theaters in North America now showing Queen, it earned $299,592, nearly double the $161,998 it earned last weekend, according to Bollywood Hungama. Its $5874 per-screen average put it ahead of all of the movies in the general U.S. top twenty besides The Grand Budapest Hotel and Veronica Mars.
Queen‘s growing success put a major dent in the returns for the weekend’s only new release, Bewakoofiyaan. The romantic comedy took in just $67,738 from sixty-six screens for an appalling average of $1,026.
Bewakoofiyaan‘s underperformance is almost as surprising as Queen‘s overperformance. The rom-com had the backing of a major studio (Yash Raj Films), featured two rising stars in Ayushmann Khurrana and Sonam Kapoor, and the trailer was heavily promoted in theaters. On top of that, it’s an entertaining and very accessible movie.
Bollywood Hungama attributes the film’s poor performance in India to low overall theater attendance before the start of Holi and student exams. Given that neither of those reasons apply to the same degree in North America, why did Bewakoofiyaan fail here?
- Too Many Romantic Comedies
There have been a glut of romantic comedies released recently: Hasee Toh Phasee on February 7, Shaadi Ke Side Effects on February 28, and Total Siyapaa on March 7. By the time Bewakoofiyaan hit theaters on March 14, I know I was much more in the mood to see some dudes fight than to watch another couple fumble their way to the altar.
- Misleading Title
Total Siyapaa is guilty of this, too. Which one of these titles would you assume belongs to a romantic comedy: Stupidities, Total Chaos, or The Side Effects of Marriage? The target audience for a rom-com may not be interested in stupidity or chaos. Also, with American multiplexes presently awash in action flicks, cartoons, and months-old Oscar nominees, Bewakoofiyaan could’ve drawn in mainstream moviegoers desperate for something new if it had an English title (like Queen).
- Misleading Trailer
The marketing for Bewakoofiyaan is as guilty of misrepresentation as the title. The trailer promises wackiness and stupidity that (thankfully) aren’t present in the movie. Why promote a film about the effects of the global recession on a romance between executives to the same crowd that would be happy to watch Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn slap each other for two hours?
As for the rest of this weekend’s box office returns, The Lunchbox continued its strong performance. Now in eighteen theaters, it earned $77,044 ($4,280 average), bringing its U.S. total to $290,526.
Shaadi Ke Side Effects earned $32,005 from thirty-two theaters ($1,000 average) in its third weekend. Its total North American earnings stand at $933,225.
The other films in their second weekend in the theaters fared far worse than Queen. Total Siyapaa earned $13,525 from twenty-one theaters ($644 average), while Gulaab Gang earned $11,048 from nineteen theaters ($581 average). Their total earnings — $116,241 and $92,203, respectively — are nothing to brag about.
Holding out in one remaining theater, Highway earned $1,511 to bring its four-week total earnings to $528,721.
One new Hindi movie opens in Chicago area theaters on March 14, 2014. The romantic comedy Bewakoofiyaan stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Sonam Kapoor, and Rishi Kapoor.
Of last weekend’s new Bollywood releases, Queen and Total Siyapaa get a second weekend at both the South Barrington 30 and the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles. The South Barrington 30 also keeps Gulaab Gang around for one show per day.
Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Balyakalasakhi (Malayalam) and Hang Up (Telugu). The Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale is showing the Punjabi film Kaum De Heere (with English subtitles).
Shaadi Ke Side Effects got off to a great start in its debut weekend in North American theaters, February 28 – March 2, 2014. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise for an accessible, family-friendly romantic comedy featuring two supremely talented actors. SKSE took in $578,346 from 108 theaters (according to Bollywood Hungama). Its per screen average of $5355 is the second highest first-weekend return of any Hindi film to open in the United States and Canada in 2014.
The Hindi film with this year’s highest U.S. per screen average also released this weekend. The Lunchbox debuted in just three American theaters on February 28 but earned $40,634: a per screen average of $13,545! According to Box Office Mojo — whose earnings totals differ slightly from those supplied by Bollywood Hungama — The Lunchbox had the best per screen average of any movie playing in the U.S. over the weekend.
The Lunchbox opens in eleven additional theaters on March 7 and in many more theaters across the U.S. in the coming weeks. The stellar box office returns of The Lunchbox — which is being distributed in America by Sony Pictures Classic — goes to show just how well an Indian movie can perform in the U.S. with the benefit of some marketing to the masses. If only sophisticated films like Dedh Ishqiya and Highway had received such support.
Speaking of Highway, business for the road-trip drama fell significantly in its second weekend. It earned $94,030, bringing its North American total to $489,860. With the potential for three new Hindi movies to hit theaters on March 7, I don’t expect Highway to stick around for a third weekend.
Shaadi Ke Side Effects (“The Side Effects of Marriage“) should be retitled Parenthood Ke Side Effects. The main characters — Sid (Farhan Akhtar) and Trisha (Vidya Balan) — enjoy their married life just fine until they have a kid. Then their lives go to hell.
Shaadi Ke Side Effects (SKSE, henceforth) is a standard marital romantic comedy, full of all the expected clichés about marriage. The wife controls the relationship, and the husband has to accede to her ridiculous demands to keep her from making his life miserable. Also, he must tell her that she’s not fat, despite the fact that he secretly thinks she is (and despite the fact that she objectively is not).
Trisha gets pregnant, and the couple decides to have the child, even though they’d planned to wait until they felt more settled financially. Parenthood turns Trisha into a control freak, and Sid goes to increasingly complicated lengths to get away from her and their daughter, Mili.
Writer-director Saket Chaudhary deserves credit for the progressive way he handles the couple’s response to Trisha’s pregnancy. They initially decide — due to Sid’s reluctance — to abort the fetus and try again in a few years. Sid changes his mind while Trisha is in the operating room, following a chance encounter with an overwhelmed father of quadruplets conceived as a result of fertility treatments. It’s refreshing to see a movie couple consider abortion as an option, like many real-life couples do.
Unfortunately, the rest of SKSE is unimaginative, and the considerable talents of Vidya Balan are underutilized because of it. Balan has little to do besides play the shrew, and her character only changes for the worse over the course of the film.
Akhtar’s character narrates the film as he evolves from free-spirited musician to henpecked husband to duplicitous lout. Like Balan’s role, Sid doesn’t give Akhtar many opportunities to shine. It’s nice that Akhtar gets to sing a couple of songs in the movie, but the trite script causes his talents behind the mic to overshadow his talents in front of the camera.
As safe as the script is, the story takes an unexpectedly dark turn in the last twenty minutes of the film. It’s jarring and by no means an improvement. If anything, it makes marriage and parenthood seem like traps to be avoided at all costs.
Such a turn might work if SKSE was meant to be subversive, but it isn’t. It’s light popcorn fare for couples to enjoy on a rare night out while Grandma watches the kids.
With such escapist fare, the outcome of the film should never be in doubt: Sid and Trisha overcome their problems to ultimately reaffirm their love for one another. We should never wonder if Sid and Trisha would be better off apart. After watching Shaadi Ke Side Effects, I’m not so sure.
The romantic comedy Shaadi Ke Side Effects (“The Side Effects of Marriage“) opens in Chicago area theaters on February 28, 2014. The film is a sequel to 2006’s Pyaar Ke Side Effects, with Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhtar taking over the lead roles of Trisha and Sid from original stars Mallika Sherawat and Rahul Bose.
Shaadi Ke Side Effects 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, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 20 min.
Chicago fans long-awaiting the U.S. release of The Lunchbox will have to wait a little longer. It also releases in the U.S. on Friday, but only in New York and L.A. The Lunchbox opens in the Chicago area on March 7. Click here for the full list of where The Lunchbox will open in the U.S over the course of the next two months.
After posting solid first-weekend earnings, the wonderful drama Highway carries over for a second week at all of the above theaters except for the Woodridge 18. The South Barrington 30 gives a third weekend to Gunday and a fourth weekend to Hasee Toh Phasee.