This is FASCINATING! The screen numbers are all upside down! Mohenjo Daro had way way more screens, and yet Rustom still made more money! Very impressive, Akshay Kumar!
According to BollywoodHungama, in America, Mohenjo had almost exactly twice as many screens as Rustom, 212 to 111. And yet Rustom made more money. Only a little more money, it was close, but still more money. More important than the total, Rustom made $5,637 per screen while Mohenjo made a dismal $2,924 per screen. Not bad for a second week film, or an Emraan Hashmi release, but a big budget Hrithik film on opening weekend is an embarrassment if it makes less than $4,000.
You know how I keep talking about the tipping point in screen counts? When the market is saturated and theaters start losing money? This is it. This is the saturation point. There are enough people in America to solidly fill 111 theaters to see an Akshay Kumar movie. There are about the same number of people in America who are interested in seeing a Hrithik Roshan movie, but when you spread them out among twice as many theaters, it looks a lot less impressive.
The same story is true all over the world. Mohenjo had more screens, Rustom made more money. The only country where Mohenjo managed to win was the UK, where it opened on a stunning 145 screens to Rustom‘s 32. Of course, the per screen average was still weighted far in the direction of Rustom. The only countries where Rustom got more screens were New Zealand and Australia, where apparently Akshay has quite the little fan following, considering his last few films have done spectacular down there. So a good place to send extra prints. I’m guessing the same thinking went into extra Mohenjo prints in the UK, following up on Ashutosh’s Lagaan and Jodha-Akbar, which were huge hits there, thinking they would have an audience waiting for them.
To me, this is once again a sign that India is still a star driven film industry. Not like the audience will blindly buy tickets because the star they like is in the film (if that were true, this would be a tie, I am pretty sure Hrithik and Akshay have about the same number of fans), but that the stars have a better judgement and ability to create good films than any director or producer. Akshay was involved in Rustom start to finish, all the way up to coordinating the twitter promotions. Hrithik is a director’s actor, he trusts his director’s vision for a film and gives himself entirely into his hands. Which can lead to some great performances as an actor, but it also means his films lose that “star” input, the comments about how best to promote it and utilize his stardom.