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.
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.
The fun romantic comedy Band Baaja Baaraat (runtime 2 hrs. 35 min.) also gets a second week at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30. It posted dismal first week earnings of $43,820 in the United States, but that was from just 32 screens nationally, compared to 84 screens for No Problem. These meager numbers are something of a shock given that Band Baaja Baaraat is produced by Yash Raj Films.
When I started reviewing Bollywood movies in 2007, Yash Raj Films — fresh off huge hits like Fanaa and Dhoom 2 — was the one Indian production company whose films could be guaranteed a wide release in the U.S. But the company’s recent offerings have struggled to get distribution in the States. Lafangey Parindeyopened here in August on just nine screens.
I’m not sure why things have changed, but I hope YRF can regain some of its international mojo. The company has long made a point of reaching out to Indians living abroad with their films, and the polished production style of YRF appeals to audiences used to Hollywood’s big budgets. Maybe Mere Brother Ki Dulhan can turn things around for YRF.