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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).
A glut of new releases led to some strange North American box office results for the weekend of March 7-9, 2014.
This past weekend saw the release of four new Hindi films — Queen, Gulaab Gang, Total Siyapaa, and Ya Rab (in its U.S. debut) — to compete against a big budget romcom (Shaadi Ki Side Effects), a hyped indie film (The Lunchbox), and a lingering critical hit (Highway). All four of the new films released in relatively few theaters, limiting the potential audience.
According to Bollywood Hungama, the weekend’s winner in terms of total gross was Shaadi Ki Side Effects in its second release week. Much of that success stems from showing in ninety theaters, whereas its closest competitor — Total Siyapaa — commanded only fifty screens. SKSE earned $165,079 ($1,834 average), bringing its total North American collections to $855,836.
In terms of per screen average, The Lunchbox won the weekend. Expanding into thirteen theaters nationally, The Lunchbox earned $114,779 for an average of $8,829 per screen. Its two-week U.S. total stands at $174,711.
Queen fared the best of the weekend’s new releases. It earned $161,998 from thirty-nine theaters. Its per screen average of $4,154 is the fourth highest for a Hindi film this year, and it bested the average of all but the three highest earners in the overall U.S. top ten (according to Box Office Mojo).
The second place finisher among the new releases earned less than half of Queen‘s total, despite debuting on more screens. Total Siyapaa earned $77,469 from fifty screens for an average of $1,549.
Despite having arguably the most local hype of any of the new flicks, Gulaab Gang earned just $60,718 from 46 screens, a per screen average of $1,320.
The big loser of the weekend was Ya Rab, which dropped into fifteen U.S. theaters with no fanfare weeks after its Indian theatrical release. It managed to underperform even Karle Pyaar Karle, taking in $1,404 total for an average of just $94. Jeepers.
In its third week in theaters, Highway earned $10,904 from seven screens. Its per screen average of $1,558 was better than those of Total Siyapaa, Gulaab Gang, and Ya Rab in their debut weekends. Highway‘s total North American earnings stand at $525,033.
Total Siyapaa (“Total Chaos“) could’ve been a cute romantic comedy about the power of love to overcome cultural differences. Instead, the level of humor never rises above ethnocentric cheap shots. It’s a missed opportunity.
Ali Zafar plays Aman, a Pakistani musician who’s on the receiving end of nearly every abuse one could throw at his country. He arrives in London to meet his girlfriend, Asha (Yami Gautam), only to be arrested by a white police officer who suspects Aman of being a terrorist.
Things get worse when Aman meets Asha’s family. They really, really, really hate Pakistanis. In fact, the only defining characteristic of Asha’s younger brother, Manav (Anuj Pandit), is his hatred for and desire to kill Pakistanis. Naturally, Asha failed to tell anyone in her family whence Aman hails.
Once Aman meets the family — headed by a matriarch played by Kiron Kher — there are plenty of opportunities for situational comedy. Aman’s behavior grows more erratic due to his social discomfort and his realization that he may have accidentally killed Asha’s father, who was hit in the head by a container of frozen soup Aman dropped out the window.
Asha’s mom gamely tries to overcome her prejudices and accept Aman for her daughter’s sake, even as Aman’s goofy antics make it hard to understand what Asha sees in him. The film’s most successful scenes feature Kher and Zafar, who share a nice comic chemistry.
Over and over the jokes in Total Siyapaa return to slams against Pakistanis, well after the film has exhausted that humorous vein. The climactic argument that nearly drives Aman and Asha apart involves them shouting nationalist insults at one another.
For good measure, the white cop from the beginning of the film returns near the end to refer to a mixed group of Indian and Pakistani young men as “stinky terrorists.”
The whole experience feels like being stuck at a family gathering while an elderly relative tells a series of vaguely racist jokes, heedless of the uncomfortable expressions on the faces of his audience. There’s not much point in speaking out, since it’s not like you can change his mind, so you just sit there and wait for the joke teller to either run out of material or get up to refill his beverage.
As Total Siyapaa plods along, it’s easy to see how the movie could’ve been better. It has a solid fish-out-of-water premise; it has some decent visual gags; and it has tried-and-true comic actors in Kiron Kher and Anupam Kher, who plays Asha’s father.
If only director Eeshwar Nivas and writer Neeraj Pandey had dialed the Pakistani jokes way back after the first half hour, Total Siyapaa could’ve been pretty good.
I have never seen a weekend so packed with new Hindi films! Five new movies open in the Chicago area on March 7, 2014, though in a limited number of theaters.
At last, Chicago gets The Lunchbox! The only downside is that it’s opening in just two theaters, and neither of them is a theater that typically shows Bollywood movies. Clearly, distributor Sony Pictures Classics trusts that The Lunchbox will draw in the general public, in addition to the local Bollywood diehards. I’d love for this to start a trend.
The rest of the new Hindi movies opening locally March 7 will run at many of the usual Bollywood-friendly theaters. First up is Gulaab Gang, starring Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Juhi Chawla. It opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 19 min.
Also new on Friday is Total Siyapaa (formerly known as Aman Ki Asha), a romantic comedy starring Ali Zafar and Yami Gautam. It opens at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30 and has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 49 min.
The Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30 will also carry Kangana Ranaut’s Queen this weekend. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 26 min.
Even though it released in India on February 7, the political drama Ya Rab debuts this Friday at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30. It has a listed runtime of 2 hours.
Note: My tentative plan (subject to change) is to review Queen on Monday and Gulaab Gang on Tuesday. I’m planning to give Ya Rab a pass, but things can always change. My reviews of The Lunchbox and Total Siyapaa are now online.
Despite all of the new fare in theaters, the Hindi movie most widely accessible to Chicago area Bollywood fans remains Shaadi Ke Side Effects. After a good opening weekend in North American theaters, it carries over for a second week at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30, plus the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.
In addition to all the new Hindi fare, the Golf Glen 5 will also carry Nimirndhu Nil (Tamil) and Thomson Villa (Malayalam) this weekend.