Well, this is just sad! In every country except New Zealand and Australia, Jai Gangaajal did terribly and Neerja in its 3rd week beat it both per screen and by screen count. (Full info available here)
I mentioned in my non-review Review of Jai Gangaajal that I didn’t see it primarily because there were no theaters close to me playing it. And that I wondered if that was partly because Neerja was such a hit there were no screens available. And, yup! That is totally what happened! (At least in America)
Neerja is playing on 100 screens in America this week, on its 3rd weekend, and Jai Gangaajal is playing on 80 on its first. And the theater owners/distributors made the right call, because Neerja is still doing amazing per screen business, while Jai Gangaajal is already sort of flatlining. It’s not like Tere Bin Laden:Dead or Alive bad, but it’s not great.
Neerja is $1,412 per screen, which is pretty great for it’s third weekend. For some perspective, Bajirao Mastani, which was a similar word of mouth kind of hit with a much bigger initial promotional campaign and bigger names involved, was doing $2,000 per screen in its 3rd week. Meanwhile, Jai Gangaajal is doing $1,201 per screen in its first week. Ouch! Even Fitoor did better than that, with a solid $1,800 per screen average on the first weekend.
That’s just for America, in Canada Neerja and Jai Gangaajal have the same screen count (13 each), but Neerja made about $4,000 more in total. (Meanwhile, on only one screen, Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive made $98 in total for the whole weekend. That’s a real “ouch!”)
Neerja beat Jai Gangaajal in total in the UK, but had more screens. So the per screen average actually has Jai Gangaajal winning, 1265 Euros to 1077. Which is still not great for a first week, Fitoor did 2365 Euros per screen in its first week.
Australia and New Zealand, however, were solid wins for Jai Gangaajal. Higher screen count than Neerja, and higher per screen average in Australia, tied screen count and higher per screen average in New Zealand. Neerja is still doing great for a 3rd week no-star film, and Jai Gangaajal is not doing to well for an opening week “star” feature, but at least it isn’t such an upset.
Of course, this could all change next weekend, if Neerja loses a few theaters and word of mouth builds for Jai Gangaajal, but so far the signs point to “no” for both of those. Day by day break down isn’t available for global figures, but it is for India, and the trends do not look good. In India, Jai Gangaajal did 5.5 crore on opening day, 6.25 on Saturday, and 7.65 on Sunday. Friday is always the worst day of the weekend, because people work, and then it usually goes up the other two days and drops off again on Monday. Some sources are calling the one crore increase between Friday and Saturday and again between Saturday and Sunday as due to “word of mouth”. As in, it is an increase that may continue as more people hear about the film. However, this is more like the basic minimum increase you would expect as more shows are added on Saturday and Sunday.
Again, I hate to keep beating up on Fitoor, but it is the most recent example of a truly terrible box office flop. And it also went up about 1 crore each day on its opening weekend. Based on the lack of growth in the daily figures from India, I’m going to guess that Jai Gangaajal is going to fall, not rise, over the week and may lose even more screens next weekend and be an all around loss for the producers and distributors. Who in this case are apparently one company, “Play Entertainment” based in Pakistan.
If they take a loss, it’s their own fault because this release was handled idiotically! There was almost no effort or money put into promotions, and a ton of money dropped on making prints. If they had made it a limited release to less than 700 theaters, like Neerja, it is possible it would have made a respectable profit and been a decent success. Or if they had bumped the release until Priyanka (the only name actor in it) was available and made her talk to every news outlet in India, tweet about this film exclusively, attend the music launch and everything else, then it could have done less-terribly on opening weekend.
But most likely, no one is going to blame the producers, because they never do, and the end result is that both Priyanka and Prakash Jha will be labeled “box office poison” and have a much harder time getting their next films released. Which should be fine for Priyanka, since Quantico is back this week and she’s filming Baywatch with The Rock right now, so she may not even need to get another film released in India.