Box Office Report: Tubelight Turns Off

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.

Image result for moviemax

(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.

18 thoughts on “Box Office Report: Tubelight Turns Off

    • And my local theater just posted their showtimes and they are officially not playing it.

      They have Lakshyam instead, should I bother with it?


      • Lakshyam did not do a great job at the box office.It is a normal crime thriller.I suggest you to avoid it and rather look out for ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ and ‘Tiyaan’.


        • Great! Then I don’t have to try to squeeze in multiple trips to the movie theater this week! fingers crossed we get the “good” movies next week.

          On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 7:56 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I like them both! Although, as I discovered watching City of God, Indrajith might be a slightly more flexible actor.

        On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 10:35 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  1. Since you have watched some malayalam movies in theatres, I would like to know about the theatre attendance for malayalam and in general, Indian movies in USA.I asked an Indian film reviewer in America the same when ‘Ezra’ was running,and he said it was 60% full. What is the appx. % of Indians and Non-Indians you see in there?


    • Well, it’s kind of hard because I usually see Malayalam films during the week, so not at the peak business hours. The last few films, it was me and 3 other people in the whole theater. But those were lessor movies. When I saw Angamaly Diaries, or Ezra, it was maybe a 3rd full.

      I’ll put it another way, it’s about the same as Hindi films. If I see a Hindi movie (unless it’s like a Khan release or something) on a weekday night, there’s between 6 and a dozen people in the theater. If I see it opening night (unless it’s a Khan release), it’s about half full.

      But that’s kind of meaningless without looking at the number of screens they are playing on. A Malayalam film will play in one theater for the entire midwest. The audience I am seeing that fills the theater is drawing every single Malayali in 3 states, if you think of it that way. Whereas the audience for the Hindi films is drawing every single Hindi film audience for maybe 5 miles (because there is a theater playing Hindi movies about every 5 miles). The Hindi audience is just a lot thicker on the ground here.

      Oh, and I’ve never seen another non-Desi at a Malayalam film (well, besides the ones I brought with me!). I hardly ever see any other white people at the all Indian theater near me. But any time I watch a Hindi film at a mainstream theater, I see one or two other white people in the audience. It could just be a matter of accessibility, the all Indian theater is way out in the suburbs and only advertises in the ethnic newspapers and websites, not mainstream places. The Hindi films play everywhere, so it’s easy for people to know about them.

      On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 9:31 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

        • Oh yeah. that’s the thing with the whole “crossover” audience idea. It’s crossed over! The desi population in America is large enough that, if they all buy tickets for the same movie, it will be a massive hit. Which is what happened with Bahubali.

          My guess is, the few not-my-friends white people I see are similar to me. Somehow stumbled on the films, sincerely enjoy them and seek them out. It’s not that they are seeing posters and going in on a whim or something like that.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. The word of mouth for DJ has definitely not been that good, especially in my family friends group. I didn’t think the movie was that bad but not many people that I know agreed with me. The good thing is that Nani’s next movie, Ninnu Kori, is coming out this weekend. Over the past couple of years Nani has developed a decent following among the American Telugu moviegoers. Plus the movie is looking pretty good too, here’s the trailer with subtitles:


    • Ooo, I kind of want to see it! I’m out of town this weekend, but maybe I can snatch a day next week.

      On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 6:36 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I’m trying to watch it this weekend so I’ll let you know if I like it or not. You should totally check out the soundtrack on Saavn. I’m in love with Adiga Adiga and the rest of the songs are good too.


        • Thank you! The luxury I allow myself with non-Hindi films is to let other people work as my taste-testers and protect me from Tubelight experiences.

          On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 7:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Well it’s a two way street and we expect you to watch the Tubelights and Fitoors to protect us 🙂


          • Oh boy, you are going to have to watch SO MANY bad Telugu movies to make up for my seeing Jagga Jasoos next week.

            On Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 2:51 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. Pingback: Box Office Report: Jagga Jasoos Lays an Ostrich Sized Egg | dontcallitbollywood

  4. Pingback: Box Office: Mubarakan Money, Vikram Vedha Volume, Fidaa Phenomenal | dontcallitbollywood

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.