Box Office: Rock On 2 Does Terribly, Not Because of Demonetization, But Because It Is Terrible!

Woot!  Global box office is out!  Which is completely unaffected by the demonetization of India.  Which means the Rock On 2 producer’s arguments that it is only doing badly because people can’t buy tickets don’t hold up at all.

Karan’s recent interview broke down the whole global box office for us:

You know, I don’t know why my films do well there. If you go to the UK, you’ll find the Asian community is far more rooted in tradition and culture than some of us in urban India. Let me get mildly technical here. There is a certain mapping that can be done. The UAE and Dubai behave like Bombay. The UK behaves like Gurgaon, Delhi and Punjab. They go for colour, glamour, music, song, dance. The USA behaves like Mysore. So the films that perform exceedingly well there are the ones that are more intelligent, like Piku, Pink, Neerja, Kapoor & Sons. The template for “evolved” Hindi cinema will work very well in North America. So you lump everyone under “NRI,” but there are differences. Ae Dil… is doing exceedingly well in the UK because it’s also doing very well in Delhi/Gurgaon. It’s doing very well in the USA because it’s also doing very well in Mysore. It’s doing well in the Bombay/Maharashtra belt, but nothing path-breaking. So that’s what it’s like in the UAE. Action, on the other hand, will do very well in the UAE but nobody in the UK will go to watch it. So I cannot design a movie for all this. I can only make the movie I want, and hope that the audiences – cumulatively – give us love.

Okay, let’s see if Karan’s argument holds up!  In the UK, the Punjabi film Chaar Sahibzaade – Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur did fabulously, $2,424 per screen on 53 screens.  Which, considering the UK has super cheap ticket prices, is very very good.  So, yep, behaving like the Punjab!

UAE and Dubai, boo!  No reports listed for this week!  But I am going to assume, following Karan’s template, that ADHM is doing well there, because that’s how it is doing in Bombay.

Karan didn’t have a specific theory for Canada, or Australia or New Zealand.  But if we assume that as part of the greater British Commonwealth they should follow the same pattern as the UK, then yes!  Everyone is still going for Chaar Sahibzaade – Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur.  The only variation is that ADHM is second in Canada and New Zealand, but third in Australia, after the Tamil film Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada.  I’m thinking there is a growing Tamil population in Australia?

Karan says the USA should go more intellectual, more like Mysore.  Let’s see!  ADHM is still on top, 163 screens (more screens than Airlift, for instance, got opening weekend) and a little over $1,000 per screen.  Which is not the best for a week 3 box office, but also not the worse.  A slight over-saturation of the market, but not a complete lack of interest.  Achchan Yenbadhu Madamaiyada comes next, and only after that Chaar Sahibzaade – Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur.  So Karan is right!  The US is going for the intellectual relationship dramas over the action film.


You notice what is missing in all of these?  Rock On 2, the semi-major Hindi release which came out this weekend.  It did the best in Canada and Malaysia, making a hair over $1,000 per screen in both places (which still wasn’t enough to move it up into the top 3 Indian releases for the week.  Everywhere else in the world, it did less than $1,000 per screen.  Rule of thumb, $2,000 or more is barely respectable for an opening weekend.  Around $3,500 to $4,000 per screen is respectable for a major release.  Another over $4,000 is a major major hit.  $1,500 per screen is maybe okay for some low budget barely advertised T-series release with a couple of newcomers.  Under $1,000 per screen is death.

In India, the producers are making all these statements about how the demonetization effect ruined their box office, because nobody has the cash to purchase tickets.  But there is nothing wrong with American money!  Or UK or Australia or anywhere else.  And yet, people still don’t seem to want to purchase tickets for this thing.



7 thoughts on “Box Office: Rock On 2 Does Terribly, Not Because of Demonetization, But Because It Is Terrible!

  1. Indian movie box office stuff and how hit status is awarded will always be completely over my head. I guess I should care that the movies I like do well so that others like them will be made but I find it all very silly and boring.

    As for Rock On 2, I liked the first one but really only for the music and Arjun. I’m normally a Farhan fangirl, but he’s lost a bit of his shine for me since the Shraddha affair. I find her completely underwhelming in every way and his feminist cred is honestly suffering in my eyes…no doubt there were legitimate issues to leave his marriage but moving on quickly to a much younger woman…seems like a mid-life crisis to me. They were on Love Bollywood with Raj and Pablo this weekend and it was kind of awful.

    OK, on to caring about more important stuff in this post-election world;)


    • If it helps, my perspective on Box Office is always to look at it as primary empirical data showing national moods. Of course, you have to correct for screen count, promotion campaigns, etc. etc., which is what I try to do with my analysis, but once you sift all that out, you are left with some idea of where the people of the world are at the moment. For instance, a rejection of Rock On 2 is a greater rejection of the whole modern urban westernized Indian identity, in favor of the more regional, and aggressive, identity presented by the Punjabi film. Or the more international and completely rootless identity of ADHM. Don’t know if that makes it more or less interesting to you, but that’s why I find it interesting.

      Is the Shraddha affair confirmed? Last I heard it was only “rumored”. If so, uch! Farhan always seemed a bit full of himself to me, but this is a step beyond. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with divorcing and dating a younger woman. Aamir, for instance, I am totally fine with him getting a divorce and marrying much younger Kiran. Because they seem to have interests in common, and I can believe that he just grew apart from his first wife as she does not seem to share those interests. But if Farhan moved on to Shraddha, it’s not quite the same thing.


      • Oh, I didn’t mean that I don’t enjoy reading about the box office and your analysis is definitely interesting! Just saying that I’ll never understand all the math (and manipulation of the numbers by PR teams).

        I don’t think the Shraddha affair is confirmed, but I tend to believe this one, especially because they are both being very feisty about it when asked. I’m even more interested in the alleged Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora Khan affair…


        • I am so interested in the Arjun Malaika affair!!!!!!!! Especially considering that Arjun himself is a child of divorce and seems to still resent his father for leaving his mother and Sridevi for breaking up the family. And now he is doing the same thing to another family?

          Also, what is it that these Kapoor men have? First Sridevi, now Malaika? I feel like I should make a dirty joke here, but I don’t have the right kind of a mind.


  2. I question Karan’s statement that action films don’t do well in ghe UK, as well as that the North American market prefers “intellectual” films. All of Salman’s action blockbusters are blockbusters in the UK, too, as well as other hit action films. And Dhoom 3 was a blockbuster in Norrh America, too, while hardly being intellectual, or even a decent action film.


    • Aw, I liked Dhoom 3! Although that might just be because it made Chicago look so pretty.

      I think Karan is talking about a continuum. The Khan films, and other big hits, those are going to do more or less well all over the world. But they will do slightly better in some places than others, which is important to know if you are making decisions about where to send prints and promo money to capitalize on that. This week for instance, ADHM is doing well still everywhere, but it is doing slightly better in certain places.


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