Thank you Salman for giving me such a pun-friendly title! This headline isn’t as good as last week’s, but it is still pretty good. Not good: the Tubelight collections. (for general background on box office, check out my massive post with box office background here)
We all saw the writing on the wall last week and yep, it’s as predicted. Tubelight is sinking fast, already down to around $1,000 per screen, which is pretty much unheard of for a Khan film in week 2 (well, except Fan, everyone hated that).
In the other part of last week’s story, yep, DJ is sinking too. Sinking fast. The two films are still following separate trajectories which each make sense for them, but are not related.
Now, what I find interesting in terms of backtracking and understanding industry is the screen counts. DJ and Tubelight are both losing screens. But not as many as they should be. Tubelight is still on 149 screens in America when, considering how abysmal it did last week, it should really be down to like 60. DJ is on 98, only slightly less than last week. And still too many, it’s making less than $1,000 per screen. Less than Tubelight now.
So, here’s what happened. Tubelight opened on way way too many screens. In the second week, there were apparently a large number of theaters that had an option to drop it, and chose to exercise that option. But about half the theaters must have either signed a 2 week contract and were stuck, or else didn’t have anything else to play. For instance, the theater near me is still playing it on two screens. Because there was nothing new out in Hindi last week and they have to play a Hindi film to stay in business.
(This is the theater near me. I love them and want them to stay in business!)
But then DJ kept way way more theaters and did worse per screen! So what that says to me is, Tubelight was playing at a lot of “white people” theaters, that could afford to dump the only Hindi film out there if it wasn’t doing well. While DJ was primarily at the desi theaters, that HAVE to play a Telugu film no matter what. My theater held it over too.
What’s really interesting (at least to me) is that the Hindi films that stay over because theaters HAVE to play a Hindi film is consistent worldwide (except for Malaysia). Australia, the UK, Canada, along with America, they are all still playing Tubelight on way way more screens than they should.
But in meanwhile, in Canada, it is two Punjabi films that are holding too many screens right now. And in Malaysia, it is Tamil.
So, worldwide, we are seeing a large number of theaters in every country that always have to have a Hindi film playing to stay in business (even if it is a terrible film). And an almost equal number of theaters that have to have some non-Hindi film of type X, varying depending on the country.
And this is the other flaw with the wide release. It’s both broad and long. Last week, everyone suffered because Tubelight was playing in every theater everywhere. This week, it is playing on fewer screens, but the theaters are still kind of held hostage because there is nothing new releasing this week that they could push it aside for.
Let’s see, any other interesting news in this weeks report? Oh! Hindi Medium is doing FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. $6,000 per screen in week 7. But only on one screen. Again, if everything was more evenly distributed, if we didn’t have these insanely wide releases with nothing on either side, Hindi Medium and films like it could have come out this week, or last week, or the week before last, and theaters would have had options instead of being stuck with Tubelight. And audience members would have options too, and would get to see an interesting different kind of film.