Tag Archives: The Lunchbox

Bollywood Box Office: May 31-June 2, 2019

The weekend of May 31-June 2, 2019, was predictably slow for Bollywood movies in North America because of the impending release of Salman Khan’s Bharat on June 5, but there’s also a real lack of audience interest in the Hindi films currently on offer. Three-week-old De De Pyaar De led the way with $64,458 from 52 theaters ($1,240), according to Bollywood Hungama. With $992,995 in earnings so far, the comedy is on the verge of becoming the tenth Hindi film to earn $1 million in North America this year.

That’s where the good news ends. Both of the films in their second weekend of release failed to average $1,000 in per-theater earnings. PM Narendra Modi took in $12,110 from 16 theaters ($757 average), bringing its total to $109,885. India’s Most Wanted was absolutely tragic, earning $18,111 from 80 theaters — a per-theater average of just $226, according to Box Office Mojo. Even with its large theatrical footprint (having opened on 110 screens), it’s only managed to earn $168,016 here so far.

Photograph is struggling as well. In its third weekend, it earned $44,234 from 81 theaters ($546 average), bringing its total to $302,463. That’s almost exactly what director Ritesh Batra’s previous film The Lunchbox had earned at the end of its third weekend back in 2014: $306,347. However, The Lunchbox was only showing in 18 theaters at the time and was averaging almost $5,000 per screen. The Lunchbox didn’t hit its peak theater count (165) until Week 9, and its per-theater average didn’t fall below $1,000 until Week 15. The Lunchbox finished its run with $4.2 million in earnings, but it looks like Photograph might top out at about 10% of that.

Student of the Year 2 closed out its fourth weekend with $751 from three theaters, bringing its total to $738,134.

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Movie Review: The Sense of an Ending (2017)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Director Ritesh Batra’s followup to The LunchboxThe Sense of an Ending — opens in Chicago area theaters on March 17, 2017.

The Sense of an Ending demands a lot of patience from its audience. Those who stay on board for the whole film are ultimately rewarded, but there are plenty of reasons to abandon ship.

As in director Ritesh Batra’s debut film, The Lunchbox, The Sense of an Ending centers on a grumpy, older, single man. However, Jim Broadbent’s Tony Webster is much harder to love than Irrfan Khan’s Saajan Fernandes. Liking a character is by no means necessary for enjoying a film, but it helps invest the audience in the story arc when that character (or his or her journey) isn’t otherwise compelling. With Sense, the challenge lies in enduring Tony’s less savory qualities in the absence of a clear endpoint for said arc.

Curmudgeonly Tony lives alone, having divorced his wife Margaret (Harriet Walter) long ago. Their only daughter, Susie (Michelle Dockery), is due to give birth to her first child, but she’s learned not to expect much from her father.

A letter arrives from the estate of the recently deceased Sarah Ford (Emily Mortimer, in flashbacks), mother of Tony’s former college girlfriend, Veronica (Freya Mavor, in flashbacks). Sarah bequeathed to Tony a diary belonging to Adrian Finn (Joe Alwyn), Tony’s college best friend who killed himself shortly after graduating.

Untangling this complicated scenario makes up the bulk of the story, as Tony tries to explain the past to Margaret in the hopes of figuring out why Veronica (played in the present by Charlotte Rampling) won’t hand over Adrian’s diary to Tony. Revisiting his younger days forces Tony to accept that the narrative he’s told himself about his life isn’t totally accurate.

Viewer stamina becomes a requirement during tedious flashbacks to Tony’s university days (during which his character is played by Billy Howle). Tony, Adrian, and their friends over-estimate their own cleverness, as is the wont of many university students. Listening to them smugly drone on about whether one can actually know anything about history is annoying. If Tony was a jerk as a young man, and he’s still a jerk as an old man, will we really care what happens to him?

By the end of the movie, I did. But much of that was due to how much I liked Margaret and Susie, his ex-wife and daughter. If both of them are interested in gaining insight to this previously undisclosed part of Tony’s life, there must be something worth redeeming. I was happy every moment Michelle Dockery was on-screen.

Besides, I’m a sucker for stories that hopefully suggest that we’re never too old to change. If Batra wants to make that his field of study, more power to him.


In Theaters: March 17, 2017

After a super start at the North American box office, problematic romantic-comedy Badrinath Ki Dulhania carries over for a second week at the following Chicago area theaters: AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

MovieMax also holds over Commando 2 and both the Hindi and Telugu versions of The Ghazi Attack. Other Indian movies showing at MovieMax this weekend include Angamaly Diaries (Malayalam), Chowka (Kannada), Maa Abbayi (Telugu), Aby (Malayalam), Nagaram (Telugu), and Maanagaram (Tamil).

With no new Hindi movies opening locally this weekend, Bollywood fans may want to check out the second film by the director of The Lunchbox, Ritesh Batra. The English-language drama The Sense of an Ending opens in the following Chicago area theaters on Friday, March 17: River East 21, 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. It has a runtime of 1 hr. 48 min.

Bollywood Box Office: December 19-21

Update: Box Office Mojo lists PK‘s North American earnings as $3,565,258 from 272 theaters ($13,108 average). The movie finished in ninth place overall in the weekend rankings, just behind Top Five and ahead of Penguins of Madagascar.

Aamir Khan’s PK just posted the biggest opening weekend for a Hindi film in North America in 2014. During the weekend of December 19-21, 2014, it earned $3,508,980 from 296 theaters ($11,855 average). That total already puts it in third place for the year behind The Lunchbox and Happy New Year. PK will claim the top spot in a matter of days.

What remains to be seen is how close PK can come to matching the remarkable success of last year’s Dhoom 3, which earned $8,090,250 during its seven-week run in the United States and Canada. A more attainable goal is the $6,533,849 earned by 2009’s 3 Idiots, the previous collaboration between Khan and director Rajkumar Hirani.

Action Jackson closed out its three-week run by adding $179 from three theaters ($60 average), bringing its North American total to $256,872.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: October 24-26

Happy New Year got off to a roaring start in its first weekend in North American theaters. From October 24-26, 2014 — plus some Thursday night preview showings — Happy New Year earned $2,076,873 from 280 theaters ($7,417 average per screen). That’s the biggest opening weekend performance of the year by a wide margin over second place Bang Bang, which earned $1,410,383 from 292 theaters.

However, Happy New Year‘s opening weekend earnings fall short of Shahrukh Khan’s biggest ever opening weekend in the United States and Canada. That honor goes to last year’s Chennai Express — also co-starring Deepika Padukone — which earned $2,416,213 from 196 theaters.

Among the three films Khan and Padukone have starred in together, Happy New Year ranks third in terms of per-screen average in North America. Its $7,417 ranks behind Chennai Express ($12,328) which ranks behind 2007’s Om Shanti Om ($15,474). Yet Happy New Year‘s average is still high enough to rank third for this year, behind only The Lunchbox and 2 States.

Other Hindi movies showing in North American theaters over the weekend include:

  • Bang Bang: Week 4; $19,536 from 20 theaters; $977 average; $2,578,746 total
  • Haider: Week 4; $3,326 from six theaters; $554 average; $1,036,098 total
  • The Lunchbox: Week 35; $160 from one theater; $4,050,393

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: October 17-19

Bang Bang and Haider continued their strong box office performances in their last uncontested weekend before Shahrukh Khan’s Happy New Year hits theaters. In its third weekend in North America, Bang Bang earned an additional $138,308 from 128 theaters ($1,081 average per screen), bringing its total earnings to $2,523,614. That makes it the second highest earning Hindi film in North America in 2014, behind The Lunchbox.

Haider added $62,361 from 49 theaters ($1,273 average) to its coffers, bringing its total earnings in the United States and Canada to $1,022,727. That total puts it in eighth place in North America for the year.

Other Hindi movies showing in U.S. and Canadian theaters during the weekend of October 17-19, 2014:

  • Khoobsurat: Week 5; $2,296 from three theaters; $765 average; $725,610 total
  • The Lunchbox: Week 34; $370 from one theater; $4,050,233 total
  • Daawat-e-Ishq: Week 5; $229 from one theater; $385,415 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: October 10-12

With no new Bollywood films for competition, Bang Bang and Haider continued to dominate the North American box office during the weekend of October 10-12, 2014. According to Bollywood Hungama, Bang Bang held the lead, earning $482,043 from 257 theaters ($1,876 average). That brings Bang Bang‘s total earnings to $2,214,333, putting it in third place for the year among Hindi films released in the United States and Canada. Advantages like a holiday (Columbus Day) across much of the U.S. today and another weekend without new competition in theaters should provide enough of a boost to push Bang Bang into second place for the year, ahead of Kick ($2,403,553).

Haider continued its strong performance as well, earning another $218,287 from 104 theaters ($2,099 average). With total earnings of $891,734 so far, it should easily pass Shaadi Ki Side Effects ($947,787) to finish its run in eight place for the year.

[Box Office Mojo lists slightly higher weekend and overall totals for Bang Bang ($499,182/$2,248,354) and Haider ($226,840/$901,610).]

Other Hindi movies still in theaters:

  • Khoobsurat: Week 4; $4,419 from five theaters ($884 average); $721,451 total
  • Daawat-e-Ishq: Week 4; $734 from one theater; $384,848 total
  • The Lunchbox: Week 33: $96 from one theater; $4,049,709 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: October 3-5

Two major Bollywood movies hit theaters in the United States and Canada on Thursday, October 2, 2014, and both posted impressive opening weekend numbers. (Bollywood Hungama doesn’t specify, but I suspect the numbers below represent the two films’ Thursday-Sunday earnings.)

Bang Bang — which opened in more international theaters than any other Bollywood film to date — earned $1,410,838 from 292 North American theaters for a per-screen average of $4,830. That’s the biggest opening weekend total for a Hindi movie in 2014 by a margin of nearly $400,000 over the previous title-holder, 2 States ($1,026,353). Granted, Bang Bang debuted in more than twice as many theaters as 2 States (131), giving 2 States a much higher opening weekend per-screen average ($7,835).

Bang Bang‘s enormous international release is an impressive stunt, but I wonder if it would’ve been better for individual theaters had the distributor scaled it back a bit. Could the film still have earned $1.4 million had it debuted on 230 screens? Probably. Take a look at the North American figures broken down by country:

  • USA: $1,156,946 from 271 theaters for $4,269 average
  • Canada: $253,437 from 21 theaters for $12,068 average

Anecdotally, Bang Bang opened in 13 theaters in the Chicago area, several of which don’t normally carry Bollywood films. I went to the first show on Thursday at one of those theaters. There were nine other people in the theater with me, so at $5 per ticket, the business only grossed $50 from that showing. On the positive side, three of those people were middle-aged white guys who said that this was their first Bollywood film. Still, I’m not sure numbers like that will inspire the theater to book more Hindi movies in the future.

October 2’s other new release, Haider, posted impressive returns as well. The adaptation of Hamlet earned $538,999 from 123 theaters ($4,382 average), giving Haider the eighth highest opening weekend earnings for a Hindi film in North America in 2014.

[Update: Box Office Mojo reports slightly higher 4-day earnings and slightly lower theater counts for both movies: $1,449,215 from 271 theaters ($5,348 average) for Bang Bang and $549,372 from 119 theaters ($4,617 average) for Haider.]

Finding Fanny is nearing the end of its theatrical run, and its total earnings are less than what I anticipated. From October 3-5, 2014, it earned $440 from one theater to bring its total to $798,652. When it debuted, I noted that every other Bollywood movie that earned in excess of $500,000 in its opening weekend this year went on to earn at least $850,000. I suspect Finding Fanny‘s failure to reach that benchmark can be attributed to the surprise success of Khoobsurat, which released the following weekend.

Other Hindi movies showing in North American theaters:

  • Khoobsurat: Week 3; $43,999 from 34 theaters; $1,294 average; $707,592 total
  • Daawat-e-Ishq: Week 3; $5,831 from 11 theaters; $530 average; $382,809 total
  • The Lunchbox: Week 32; $498 from two theaters; $249 average; $4,049,489 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: September 26-28

Khoobsurat continued its box office dominance in North America for a second week. During the weekend of September 26-28, 2014, it added an additional $173,022 from 60 theaters to bring its total to $621,318. The Disney romantic comedy’s business fell a mere 48% from its debut weekend. Its per-screen average earnings of $2,884 were fourth highest among second weekend averages this year, behind juggernauts like The Lunchbox, Queen, and 2 States.

In a repeat of last weekend, Daawat-e-Ishq fared poorly compared to Khoobsurat. Daawat-e-Ishq earned $82,764 from 77 theaters ($1,075 average), a 60% drop from its opening weekend. Its total North American earnings stand at $354,875.

Other Hindi movies showing in the United States and Canada over the weekend:

  • Finding Fanny: Week 3; $25,151 from 41 theaters; $613 average; $793,309 total
  • The Lunchbox: Week 31; $1,232 from three theaters; $411 average; $4,048,317 total
  • Mary Kom: Week 4; $910 from three theaters; $330 average; $632,832 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Box Office: September 19-21

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

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama