Raid got off to a great start in North America, earning $345,668 from 78 theaters ($4,431 average)* during the weekend of March 16-18, 2018, according to Bollywood Hungama. Box Office Mojo reported even higher earnings of $423,817 from 77 theaters ($5,504 average).
Other Hindi movies still in theaters in the United States and Canada:
Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety: Week 4; $65,647 from 32 theaters; $2,051 average; $910,572 total
Padmaavat: Week 8; $18,678 from 16 theaters; $1,167 average; $12,140,306 total
Pari: Week 3; $9,197 from nine theaters; $1,022 average; $320,641 total
Pad Man: Week 6; $716 from four theaters; $179 average; $1,667,233 total
Aiyaary: Week 5; $65 from one theater; $642,278 total
*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first few weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting technically puts Raid in 91 theaters (making for a $3,799 per-theater average).
Even though no new Bollywood movies released in North America during the weekend of March 9-11, 2018, there’s still plenty to write about. Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety went gangbusters in its third weekend of release with earnings of $124,250 from 45 theaters ($2,761 average). Its business fell just 16% from its second weekend to its third, which is remarkable considering the 2nd-3rd weekend drops for other Bollywood releases this year: Padmaavat (-56%); Pad Man (-70%); Welcome to New York (-81%); Aiyaary (-86%); Mukkabaaz (-99%). Great word of mouth — including a 7.8 user rating at IMDb and an 84% “liked it” score at Rotten Tomatoes — continued to drive audiences to the theater for SKTKS, which has current total earnings of $781,009.
Pari likewise held up really well in its second weekend of release, dropping just 46% of its opening weekend business (second best for the year behind SKTKS‘s 38% drop). It earned $64,247 from 37 theaters ($1,736 average), bringing its total to $281,324 so far. I wish more theaters had taken a chance on this horror flick (and I suspect they do, too).
Even in its seventh weekend of release, Padmaavat was still the third highest earning Hindi film in North America, taking in $49,494 from 26 theaters ($1,904 average). It finally crossed the $12 million mark, with total earnings of $12,093,933.
Welcome to New York was vastly more popular in Canada than the United States, with three Canadian theaters earning $4,245 compared to $911 from three US theaters. Contributions to its $220,383 North American total are almost evenly divided between the two countries, with Canada taking a slight edge despite the standard US-heavy screen disparity.
Other Bollywood movies showing in US theaters:
Pad Man: Week 5; $4,409 from seven theaters; $630 average; $1,664,077 total
Aiyaary: Week 4; $2,205 from four theaters; $551 average; $641,064 total
Although trailers for 3 Storeys and Dil Juunglee ran before Welcome to New York locally, neither movie is releasing in Chicagoland. Here are the Bollywood movies carrying over in Chicago theaters the weekend beginning Friday, March 9, 2018:
Pari‘s seemingly modest opening weekend numbers in North America are more impressive than they appear, given a few mitigating factors. From March 2-4, 2018, Pari earned $118,906 from 45 theaters ($2,642 average). A six-figure opening weekend for a Hindi horror movie is darned good here (more on that later this week). It also made several thousand more dollars than Welcome to New York did on twice as many theaters last weekend. Pari‘s performance cements Anushka Sharma as one of the few Bollywood actresses who can bring international moviegoers to the theater on her name alone, without an A-list male co-star.
Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety posted a super second weekend, carrying over more than 60% of its opening weekend business. The romantic comedy earned $147,989 from 72 theaters ($2,055 average), bringing its total after ten days to $519,080.
Welcome to New York headed in the opposite direction, losing 75% of its opening weekend business. It took in $27,423 from 28 theaters ($989 average), pushing its total to $193,254.
Other Hindi movies still showing in North American theaters:
Padmaavat: Week 6; $72,310 from 63 theaters ($1,148 average); $11,978,304 total
Pad Man: Week 4; $19,179 from 25 theaters ($767 average); $1,642,915 total
Aiyaary: Week 3; $11,844 from 26 theaters ($456 average); $628,417 total
After four weeks atop the North American box office, Padmaavat was finally unseated by Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. From February 23-25, 2018, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety earned $239,955 from 66 theaters ($3,636 average). That’s about $2,000 less than the lifetime North American earnings of Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, the last film by writer-director Luv Ranjan and his cast of regulars.
Padmaavat was still the second highest earning Hindi film in North America in its fifth weekend of release, taking in another $173,915 from 89 theaters ($1,954 average), bringing its total earnings to $11,833,407. Gitesh Pandya reports weekend earnings for Padmaavat of $187,949 from 91 theaters ($2,065 average), and a total of $11,846,060.
The weekend’s other new Bollywood release — Welcome to New York — only managed to land in third place, with $111,044 from 84 theaters ($1,322 average). That’s a somewhat disappointing total considering that it showed in both 2D and 3D, which inflates tickets prices.
Pad Man earned $95,877 from 95 theaters ($1,009 average) in its third weekend of release, bringing its total to $1,588,321. Last weekend’s new release, Aiyaary, lost over 3/4s of its opening weekend business, taking in $81,709 from 74 theaters ($1,104 average). Its total earnings stand at $587,041.
*Bollywood Hungama routinely counts Canadian theaters twice in its weekly reporting, at least for a movie’s first three weekends of release. When possible, I try to verify the correct theater count with other sources, like Box Office Mojo. The above figures represent what I believe to be the actual theater counts. Bollywood Hungama’s reporting puts Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety in 77 theaters (making for a $3,116 per-theater average), Welcome to New York in 99 theaters ($1,122 average), Aiyaary in 87 theaters ($939 average), and Pad Man in 102 theaters ($940 average).
Note: This is a review of the 2D version of the movie.
Welcome to New York has plenty of laughs for the hardest of hardcore Bollywood fans, packaged in an enjoyable fish-out-of-water comedy.
When I say “hardcore,” I mean it. It’s not enough to be familiar with the biggest Bollywood hits of recent years. Welcome to New York requires an appetite for industry gossip, knowledge of awards shows, and a fondness for Karan Johar–particularly his talk show, Koffee with Karan.
The extremely meta setting for Welcome to New York is the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, which were held in New York City last year. As in real life, Johar plays the host of the awards show. His actual co-host, Saif Ali Khan, is replaced in the film by Riteish Deshmukh, playing a self-deprecating version of himself who bemoans his underpaid, B-list status.
In order to boost viewership in India, awards show organizers Gary (Boman Irani) and Sophia (Lara Dutta) create a talent contest, giving two winners the chance to perform onstage during the show. Sophia uses the contest to sabotage the show and get back at Gary, choosing the two worst entries among all the submissions as the winners.
Those winners are Teji (Diljit Dosanjh), a small-town repo man and wannabe actor, and Jeenal (Sonakshi Sinha), a feisty fashion designer. Whisked away to New York, the two must overcome their differences to navigate their flashy new surroundings and make their dreams come true.
Meanwhile, an angry Karan Johar doppelgänger named Arjun (also played by Johar) plans to kidnap his lookalike before the awards show. Teji accidentally foils one kidnapping attempt, thinking he’s playing a version of the Rapid Fire Round from Koffee with Karan.
The plotlines aren’t well-integrated, but it hardly matters, given how silly the movie is. Teji’s and Jeenal’s budding friendship is sweet to watch, and Dosanjh and Sinha are both effortlessly likeable. Dosanjh’s Teji gets most of the fish-out-of-water jokes, such as when he calls Jeenal’s terrycloth robe a “coat that looks like a towel.” Their characters have some amusing interactions with Aditya Roy Kapur and Sushant Singh Rajput that play off of people’s mistaken tendency to conflate actors with their roles.
When it comes to playing a role, no one in Welcome to New York does so more enthusiastically than Karan Johar, who plays the most outrageous version of himself imaginable. He’s vain, snarky, and snobbish, and he’s hilarious. He gets to spout lines like, “You are a traitor, Riteish Deshkmukh.” The payoff to subplot in which Karan advises Rana Daggubati on his career after Baahubali is worth the price of admission alone. Lara Dutta and Boman Irani being as great as always is a nice bonus.
The most disappointing element of Welcome to New York is its music. Songs range from forgettable to annoying, and there’s precious little dancing to speak of.
Casual fans may find Welcome to New York too “inside baseball,” but Bollywood junkies will see their obsession pay off in a multitude of self-referential gags. The actors seem like they had fun making the movie, and that quality translates to an enjoyable experience for the audience.
The weekend’s other new release is the comedy Welcome to New York, starring Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh. The South Barrington 24 and Cantera 17 carry the movie in both 2D and 3D, while MovieMax has it in 2D only. Welcome to New York has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 58 min.