Student of the Year 2 had a fine opening weekend in North American theaters. From May 10-12, 2019, the sequel earned $462,108 from 190 theaters ($2,432 average), according to Box Office Mojo. This year’s median opening weekend per-theater average is just over $3,000, and SOTY2‘s is well short of that. A $1 million final total here seems like a stretch.
Yet SOTY2‘s opening weekend is on par with Student of the Year‘s opening weekend back in October, 2012. The original also had an ambitious release strategy, opening in 106 theaters and earning $326,508 that weekend ($3,080 average). It ended its North American run five weeks later with $670,086 total. SOTY‘s second-weekend earnings were 40% of its first-weekend earnings, so let’s see if SOTY2 can match that.
Other Hindi films showing in North American theaters:
Kalank: Week 4; $13,839 from 19 theaters; $728 average; $2,729,336 total
The Tashkent Files: Week 5; $4,577 from two theaters; $2,289 average; $64,450 total
Few young actors’ careers have been watched as closely as those of the breakout stars of 2012’s Student of the Year: Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, and Varun Dhawan. The sophomore efforts of all three released theatrically in the last two months, the most recent being Dhawan’s Main Tera Hero on April 4, 2014. Here’s how their North American box office returns compare to one another, as well as to the film that launched three careers.
Student of the Year — directed by Karan Johar — released in 106 theaters in the U.S. and Canada on October 19, 2012. It earned $326,508 in its first weekend ($3,080 average), going on to earn a total of $670,086.
Malhotra was the first of the three stars to release his follow-up effort. Hasee Toh Phaseeopened on February 7, 2014, earning $334,397 from eighty-six theaters ($3,895 average) in its first weekend. That this was the best opening weekend of the three new films — better even than the first weekend of SOTY — shouldn’t be a surprise. A romantic comedy co-produced by Johar, co-starring Parineeti Chopra, and released a week before Valentine’s Day is a safe bet.
Bhatt’s film, Highway — which opened two weeks later — was a more ambitious venture, despite having an A-List director like Imtiaz Ali at the helm. Bhatt shouldered most of the load for the movie — a largely improvised road flick about a kidnapped woman — and her efforts paid off. Highway earned $325,522 from ninety-three theaters ($3,500 average) in its opening weekend.
Dhawan’s Main Tera Hero didn’t fare as well in its opening weekend as his former co-stars’ films. It earned $161,846 from seventy theaters. Its $2,312 average is significantly less than those of the other two films released this year and SOTY.
In his defense, Dhawan’s film presented the biggest challenge. Action-comedies aren’t guaranteed hits in North America, and his co-stars — Ileana D’Cruz and Nargis Fakhri — have good looks but not much name recognition here. Matching the final tallies of either Hasee Toh Phasee ($642,632) or Highway ($529,449) seems unlikely.
The best-performing Hindi film in U.S. and Canadian theaters during the weekend of April 4-6, 2014, was The Lunchbox. Now showing in 100 theaters, it earned $307,076, bringing its total earnings to $1,266,478.
For one week, Queen reigns as 2014’s overall highest-earning Hindi film in North America (it will lose this crown to The Lunchbox next weekend). In its fifth week in theaters, it earned $92,933 from forty-nine screens ($1,897 average), bringing its total to $1,327,223.
Lingering in one last American theater, Bewakoofiyaan earned $20. Its total stands at $106,800.
Note: All earnings figures except those of Student of the Year are courtesy of Bollywood Hungama.
North American Bollywood fans were in the mood for love, turning out in impressive numbers for the romantic comedy Hasee Toh Phasee. In its opening weekend in 88 U.S. and Canadian theaters, the film earned $336,985 (according to Box Office Mojo).
Hasee Toh Phasee‘s per screen earnings of $3,829 bested every other film in the top twenty-five apart from The LEGO Movie and The Monuments Men, which finished the weekend in first and second place, respectively.
The success of Hasee Toh Phasee points to an upward trend in the young careers of the two lead actors: Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra. This is only Malhotra’s second film after 2012’s Student of the Year, which earned $326,508 from 106 theaters ($3,080 per screen) in its opening weekend in North America, going on to earn a total of $670,086.
Chopra had greater success with 2013’s Shuddh Desi Romance. It earned $345,624 from 116 theaters ($2976 per screen) in its first weekend, finishing its North American run with $641,000 in total earnings.
Distributor Reliance Big Pictures should be pleased if Hasee Toh Phasee ends up earning around $650,000 in the U.S. and Canada.
With Bollywood heavyweights Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son of Sardaar dropping into theaters early next week, there are no new Hindi films opening in the Chicago area on Friday, November 9. This is likely your last chance to catch up on older releases before the two big boys wipe out all competitors.
English Vinglish and Student of the Year each earned upwards of $300,000 in their opening weekends and have continued to hold audiences. Chakravyuh opened with approximately the same tally as LSTCK the previous weekend (not including the approximately $15,000 it earned in the first two days of its mid-week opening), so LSTCK should perform similarly this weekend.
Last weekend’s other new release, Ata Pata Laapata, didn’t report its returns, which were surely worse than LSTCK‘s low figures. The fact that it departs theaters after one week seems to confirm that.
Hindi movies to catch while you can include Student of the Year at both the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30, and English Vinglish and OMG Oh My God at the South Barrington 30.
The other new comedy opening up this weekend is the directorial debut of character actor Rajpal Yadav: Ata Pata Laapata.
Ata Pata Laapata opens on Friday at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min. Both theaters are also holding over Chakravyuh for a second week. Update: The Cantera added Ata Pata Laapata to its lineup this weekend.
If John Hughes had made a Bollywood movie, it would be Student of the Year (SOTY henceforth). Writer-director Karan Johar incorporates some of the best elements of ’80s teen romantic comedies into a film that feels current but familiar.
The film begins with some direct-to-camera monologues — a la Ferris Bueller — that I wasn’t initially in love with. The technique allows Sudo (Kayoz Irani, son of Boman Irani, who steals the show in a brief cameo) to introduce present-day circumstances and explain how past events influenced them.
The “present-day” I’m referring to is actually ten years in the future. The film isn’t especially clear on when “now” is, though there is a flashback to 2011 within the main flashbacks, so “now” is 2022 and “then” is 2012. Hang on to those ripped jeans, fellas, because they’ll be stylish again in ten years.
Sudo sets the stage as he and several of his former classmates gather at the hospital to attend to the ailing former dean of their prep school (played by Rishi Kapoor). The dean left the school in disgrace, and Sudo and his classmates feel responsible.
As in many Hughes films, economic class has a huge influence on the lives of the teens at the heart of the story. St. Theresa’s High School in India populated by the wealthy offspring of business tycoons and academically gifted scholarship students.
Chief among the rich kids is Rohan Nanda (Varun Dhawan), the younger son of one of India’s richest men. Friendship with Rohan is seen as the surest path to future wealth. The most popular girl in school, Shanaya (Alia Bhatt), is rich herself, yet her parents push her to date Rohan, just to be safe.
Little do the other students know that Rohan is the black sheep of his family. His musical ambitions embarrass his father, who doesn’t hide his feelings from his son.
The tension within the Nanda family becomes more pronounced when Rohan befriends the new kid in school. Abhi (Siddharth Malhotra) is a scholarship student who is academically and athletically every bit Rohan’s match, and Rohan likes having a real peer among a sea of suck-ups.
Ambitious Abhi knows just what to say to impress Mr. Nanda, who seems to wish that Abhi was his son instead of Rohan. When Abhi suggests to Shanaya that the way to cure Rohan of his wandering eye is to make him jealous — using Abhi as the new object of her affection — it becomes clear that his ambition may be more important than his loyalty to his friend.
Rounding out the Breakfast-Club-like motley crew are nerdy Sudo, Shanaya’s tomboy best friend Shruti, slutty Tanya, and Rohan’s right-hand-man Jeet. While they are peripheral players to the main love triangle, they all compete in the titular “Student of the Year” competition that takes up the second half of the film.
The competition itself is inherently unfair, which the film acknowledges. Given that the final stage of a four-part competition is a triathlon, one might as well skip the preliminaries and hand the trophy to Abhi, who’s about a foot taller than everyone else. Nevertheless, the second half of the film contains some entertaining interpersonal drama and a great dance competition, which Kajol crashes for no apparent reason.
Though the film unapolagetically uses its youthful cast of unknowns as eye candy — the lingering pans of Malhotra’s manscaped torso are practically pornographic — the actors show some real promise. Malhotra is able to pull off emotional scenes as easily as he pulls off his shirt. Bhatt does a fine job as her character grows beyond her spoiled rich-girl beginnings.
Of the three leads, Dhawan seems the most capable of establishing a real career as an actor. He’s a tremendous dancer, which is a plus. His character is arguably the hardest to execute in that he needs to become more than just a snobby a-hole. Rohan is Steff from Pretty in Pink, but with a conscience. It’s easy to root for a poor, orphaned underdog like Abhi, but by the end of the film, I was on Team Rohan.
Teenage struggles with developing friendships, a sense of identity, and self-worth have been around forever, and Johar is beholden to use those plot triggers. In another nod to Hughes, Johar includes an array of catchy song-and-dance numbers in the film. Apart from some continuity issues and the questionable direct-to-camera monologues, Student of the Year is a really successful film.
Looks like my fears of a prolonged Bollywood drought were unfounded. Two new Hindi films open in Chicago area theaters on October 19, 2012. Getting the wider release of the two is director Karan Johar’s Student of the Year.
Also making its debut is the animated film Delhi Safari. Note that the version releasing this weekend is in Hindi, voiced by Indian actors like Akshaye Khanna and Boman Irani. Fandango‘s capsule description of the movie includes the information for the English-language version of the film releasing on December 7, featuring the voices of Jane Lynch and Cary Elwes.
Delhi Safari opens on Friday at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17. It has a runtime of 1 hr. 50 min. If you need added incentive to see the film, take a picture of your Delhi Safari ticket stub and you can win a $50 Toys R’ Us gift card.
The charming English Vinglish continues to perform well at the box office, having earned $1,405,758 in its first two weeks in U.S. theaters. It carries over for a third week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17.
The South Barrington 30 also holds over OMG Oh My God for a fourth week and Barfi! for a sixth, with is total U.S. earnings standing at $2,779,172.
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.