Yeah, nothing is ever going to be as pun friendly as Tubelight. Even Toilet, when it comes, will be just too obvious, no scope for invention. And this week I have to make do with alliteration. (background on box office available in my big discussion post here, as always, full figures available at bollywoodhungama here)
Let’s start with Mubarakan! Which made more money than anyone expected. Because we were expecting NOTHING. It only made around $1,900 per screen in America. Which is pretty bad. But not shockingly horribly embarrassingly bad, at least not for a silly comedy with no really big star. Would have done better on fewer screens, 128 was kind of pushing it. But still, not career ending bankrupt bad.
Did way way way better in other markets! $3,000 per screen in Canada, about the same in Australia, and a whopping $4,000 per screen in New Zealand. In other words, the Punjabi markets. Hadn’t occurred to me that there was a market reason to set it among the Sikh diaspora, in addition to a comedy reason. But it’s smart! The Punjabi market is taking off, and it’s a lot easier for a Hindi film to break into than the older southern markets. So why not make a movie aimed right there and swing the release overseas hard in the Punjabi direction?
And so Mubarakan made money. Which was the primary goal of its existence, this isn’t a movie that is going to change the world and blow the minds of the critics or radically change anyone’s career. It’s just out there to make a decent profit. Which it now has. So, that’s the Mubarakan money story.
Now here’s the Vikram-Vedha volume story! Big big jump in screens in week two! From 40 in the US to 58. From 0 to 3 in Malaysia. And only lost one screen each in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. And this jump is deserved, it’s holding steady with $2,944 per screen in the US. Which would have been bad for opening week, but for a second week, especially a southern second week when the ticket prices drop to normal, this is pretty darn good. And most likely based on quality and word of mouth, not on promotions driving up opening weekend box office, which makes it even better. It’s a rare film that adds screens and holds steady per screen in a second week. A sign of a very good movie.
And finally Fidaa. Oh shoot! Should that have been my alliterative headline word? “Finally”? No, phenomenal is better. Because Fidaa is doing phenomenal. $3,400 per screen in week 2 in the US, on 106 screens. Down from the bonkers $8,500 per screen last week, but not that far down. Again, especially for a southern film which loses the high ticket prices in the second week. Although, that is just in the US. Last week it was on one sad screen in Canada. This week, only the US. Smart, I guess. If you are making such massive profits in the American market, why try anywhere else?
But also really really interesting! Is this the new trend? Micro-global releases? Make a film calculated for one particular international market and target your release zones? Mubarakan might have done better barely bothering with the American market and focusing on Canada and Australia to the exclusion of all else. Vikram-Vedha seems to have waited until the second week to see which areas it did best in and then swung the screens that way. This week we are supposed to get the first big global evenly balanced release in months, I’ll be fascinated to see if it is consistent across all markets, or if there is still this big swung nation by nation.