I just updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with yet another massive list of films that will soon expire from Netflix. Following the big purge of UTV titles on October 1, most of the rest of the UTV catalog will expire on November 1. Because of the ways that films are co-produced by multiple studios, I suspect a lot of this activity is due to a realignment of streaming video contracts. Many of these titles may wind up on Netflix again, although some will likely make their way other streamers (such as Disney+/Hotstar/Hulu in the case of movies produced by Disney India, like ABCD 2 or Zokkomon.)
Here are all of the movies leaving Netflix on November 1, with titles I’ve reviewed at the top followed by other titles in alphabetical order:
In other streaming news, the mass exodus of Yash Rash Films content from Amazon Prime that I wrote about last week turns out to have been more of a housekeeping matter. Previously, every YRF title had two separate catalog IDs: one from the initial time they were added to the Amazon Prime catalog and then when the movies were added again (for some reason). All of the original YRF catalog entries were wiped out on October 1, but the newer catalog IDs remain. So for now, the vast majority of YRF movies are still available on Amazon Prime. You can find all of them on my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime.
[October 3, 2022 update: At least for now, this appears to be a catalog cleanup rather than a mass expiration. Previously, all Yash Raj Films movies were listed in the Amazon Prime catalog twice, with two distinct catalog ID numbers for each title. The older of the two catalog IDs for each film has expired, but the newer one remains. For now, YRF movies are still available on Prime.]
It’s last call at Amazon Prime for the majority of movies in the Yash Raj Films catalog. 65 titles are set to expire from Prime on September 30, 2022.
This removal may be temporary, but there’s also a chance that the departures presage the launch of the independent streaming service YRF announced it was working on last year. The company already assigned a December 2 release date to its first streaming series The Railway Men, and the show needs a home, so the timing seems right. A handful of YRF films from 2016 — including Fan and Sultan — are currently unavailable for streaming anywhere, presumably waiting for the debut of the YRF Entertainment streaming service.
All eleven of the YRF movies released since August, 2017 will remain on Amazon Prime for the time being (check my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime for links). The company’s four most recent films — Bunty Aur Babli 2, Prithviraj, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, and Prithviraj — have their own separate streaming contract with Amazon Prime and will likely be last to leave the service.
Here are all the titles leaving Amazon Prime on September 30, 2022, organized first in descending order of my star-ranking, then alphabetically:
YRF’s catalog streams on Amazon Prime in the United States, so the same should hold true for these releases. What will be interesting is how long of an exclusivity window YRF gives to theaters. Six weeks to two months was the standard pre-pandemic, but I won’t be surprised if the window is flexible based on box office returns, if not shortened outright. Keep in mind that, even if theaters are allowed to operate at 100% capacity in India, not all states are currently doing so. US theaters have occupancy limits (where they are operating at all), and other countries may have similar restrictions.
A smaller movie like Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar would be an interesting test case for a day-and-date digital rental via Amazon, even if only outside India. (I’m not holding out hope that’ll happen — just throwing that wish out into the world.) With so many people unable or unwilling to watch films in theaters, there is a need to make new titles available as widely as possible before people turn to pirated copies.
Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb was rumored to debut on Hotstar on September 9, but it’s undergoing re-shoots, so no release is imminent. Instead, Hotstar will launch a second season of its original series Hostages on September 9.
In other news, Yash Raj Films plans to launch its own streaming service. This could potentially lead to YRF titles being removed from Amazon Prime, which currently holds the streaming rights to the studio’s catalog. The news report is light on details, so we’ll have to wait and see how YRF justifies asking consumers to subscribe to yet another streaming service.
Sixteen Indian movies are set to expire from Netflix on October 1 — mostly Malayalam titles, but the service’s lone Manipuri film, Loktak Lairembee, is on its way out as well. The full list of expiring titles is available here.
The Yash Raj Films exodus from Prime is underway, with ten titles leaving on September 29 and dozens more following on September 30. Click here, then scroll down to the “Expiring Soon” section for the full list of movies on the way out.
It’s last call for movies from the Yash Raj Films catalog at Amazon Prime. YRF is taking its library to Hotstar, and Prime has started posting expiration dates for the 60+ films on the way out. Most titles — including Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge — will be gone in the next two weeks. The most recent releases will be the last to go, with no departure dates announced for films like Thugs of Hindostan and Sui Dhaaga: Made In India. I’ll update this post when their dates are announced. Here are the expiration dates we know so far:
Kabir Singh comes to Netflix in India on September 19, but I haven’t seen confirmation of its US availability yet, so stay tuned. In other Netflix news, Karan Johar signed a multi-year contract to produce fiction and non-fiction content exclusively for the streaming service.
The recent release of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! inspired me to take a look at the US box office history for all of the Yash Raj Films releases from the past decade. I based my analysis on data provided by Box Office Mojo and Bollywood Hungama (which in turn uses information from Rentrak).
Looking at the total grosses of all films, it looks like there’s a slight trend upward in total box office, over time. (The orange line represents a simple linear regression of all data.)
You might notice that one film did disproportionately well in late 2013. That’s Dhoom 3, which raked in about $8M. Remove this outlier from the equation, and the other YRF releases are actually on a gentle decline in total box office take.
Despite the stagnancy of total box office dollars, YRF’s widest releases are being shown in more US theaters than ever.
A flat box office and more theaters means that opening weekend averages per screen are also trending downward, even when including Dhoom 3 in the calculations. Blockbusters have been immune to the trend, but the underperformers are doing worse than ever. The last four Yash Raj movies released in 2014 (Bewakoofiyaan, Mardaani, Daawat-e-Ishq, and Kill Dil) each came in at under $2,000 per screen.
Taking into account that average ticket prices have also climbed almost $2 (from $6.41 in 2005 to $8.17 in 2014, according to Box Office Mojo), this lack of growth in box office also means that fewer tickets are being sold for each Yash Raj Films release, on average.
The good news for YRF is that Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! bucked recent trends, averaging about $4,000 per screen in US theaters in its opening weekend. That puts it on par with films from the studio’s most reliable period, 2007-08.
For the remainder of 2015, Yash Raj Films has only one film officially planned for release: Fan, starring Shahrukh Khan. Yet Fan‘s release date has been changed multiple times, and it’s not currently listed on Bollywood Hungama’s release calendar. The surprise success of the romantic comedy Dum Laga Ke Haisha in India prompted Yash Raj Films to create an international trailer for the movie, renaming it My Big Fat Bride. There’s a chance that it could open in US while Fan is completed — though its star, Ayushmann Khurrana, isn’t a guaranteed money maker like Shahrukh Khan.
Even if Yash Raj Films doesn’t release another movie in 2015, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! has nudged the studio’s fortunes in the US back in the right direction.
Author’s note: My thanks to Box Office Mojo, Bollywood Hungama, and Rentrak for the raw information. Note: there’s no reliable box office data for a pair of 2010 releases — Badmaash Company and Pyaar Impossible — so I couldn’t take them into account in this analysis.
I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix to reflect one change. After just five days, Daawat-e-Ishq has disappeared from the streaming service. The same thing happened to Mardaani and Bewakoofiyaan, two other movies produced by Yash Raj Films. It took a few months for Bewakoofiyaan to return for its official run on the Netflix, so I expect it will be a while before we see Mardaani or Daawat-e-Ishq on the service again.
This serves as a warning that, whenever YRF’s most recent theatrical release, Kill Dil, hits Netflix, you’d better watch it right away.
Update: Mike of The Arts blog may have solved the mystery: no English subtitles. At least that was his experience watching Daawat-e-Ishq on Netflix the other day. It’s unknown (at least to me) if the YouTube videos have English subtitles, so rent with caution if you don’t speak Hindi.
Update 2: Thanks again to Mike for noticing that Daawat-e-Ishq is back on Netflix again, now with subtitles. Still not sure what happened to Mardaani, though.