Let’s be real, was anyone expecting any kind of a hit for Banjo? No, right? No matter how many songs you release or how hard you promote it, no one is turning out for a Ritiesh and Nargis starrer.
Okay, I’m going to be mean to corporate studios again! Brace yourself! From Bollywoodhungama, Banjo, released by Eros International, had only 23 screens in the US. And yet, that was still too many! Nobody wanted to see that thing. An average of $500 per screen on opening weekend. And it’s not like it wasn’t promoted! I saw the trailer plenty of times, I saw the interviews and the tweets and all of that. I just wasn’t interested enough to drive to the slightly farther theater for opening night of some Ritiesh Deshmukh thing. And apparently, neither was anyone else.
Meanwhile, Pink, released by its own director, went up in screen count from opening weekend to this weekend, and held steady in ticket sales. It’s still not at the freakishly high I-must-have-made-a-mistake-in-my-math levels of Neerja, but it’s pretty good.
I know I talk about Neerja a lot, but no one else is! How is this movie just not mentioned in the box office analysis for Pink? It did the female storyline first, and it did it without an Amitabh Bachchan, the only big names in the cast were both women, Shabana and Sonam. Sure, the storyline wasn’t as blatantly feminist, but it was still a female lead film that did spectacularly well on a small budget.
And Neerja was more consistent as well, doing amazing business in India and in all Global markets. Meanwhile, Pink is all over the place! In the US, it’s doing really well, even for week 2. Especially considering that it is beating Majnu which is in week one (which in America, means super inflated ticket prices) and on twice as many screens. And Telugu films usually do very well in America.
This is unlike in Canada, where it’s taking second to a Punjabi film, also in week two. Which isn’t really embarrassing, I mean, it is Canada. Punjabi is always going to win. But it also means Pink is more kind of an average success there, not a big exciting deal like it is in the US.
(Why have I never used this song before in a Box Office post? And can I use it every time a Punjabi film takes top honors from now on?)
In the UK, meanwhile, Pink is second to both Janaan (the Pakistani movie) and Oozham. Oozham, which is playing on a freakishly high number of screens! 104! On England’s tiny little island! What is up with that?
Because of colonialism, the UK diaspora population generally seems more evenly mixed than other countries (Canada and the Punjabis, Malaysia and the Tamilians). So maybe it is purely the holiday effect? Every Malayali in England is going to see Oozham (or whatever Malayalam film they can find playing near them) for Onam and every Pakistani is going to see whatever film is playing for Eid? But even with all that, Pink is still low in the UK, just like it was last week. Which brings me back to the thinking that it is just not playing among the “single-screen” type of audience, who you can find more of in England than in other overseas territories.
Really, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia are the only places that make sense to me this week. Australia and New Zealand both have Pink on top, followed by Majnu, and then Baar Baar Dekho and Banjo. This completely makes sense! Recent high profile Hindi film over new Southern film over older Hindi film. And then Malaysia has two Tamil films on top of Pink in both screen count and box office total. There is logic to the world!