Well this is an exciting box office week! Not in Hindi film, Toilet and Jab Harry Met Sejal are declining, A Gentleman is flopping (even though it is SO GOOD! People are stupid), Bareilly Ki Barfi is holding steady in it’s small way. No no, it’s the southern market that is FINALLY healthy again. Well, Telugu. Tamil is still on life support.
I’m just gonna knock the Hindi out right away. Toilet is completely reliable and unexciting, as has been every Akshay film since I started tracking this stuff. He has some kind of magic very dull system that guarantees consistent box office in films you kind of forget about two days later. Well, not Airlift, that was a legitimately interesting film. But Rustom, Toilet, blah blah blah. Anyway, in week three, it is making slightly over $1,000 per screen in the US, slightly under $2,000 per screen in Australia, slightly under $1,000 in the UK, basically following the exact same pattern it has had every week since release and every other Akshay film follows. Does well in Australia and other action/Punjabi strong places, does poorly in the UK, does okay everywhere else.
Jab Harry Met Sejal continues it’s steep decline, down to only 5 theaters in the US, making about $500 per screen. It has the largest number of screens and worst per screen figures in Australia, 35 screens and $8 per screen. !!!!! What the heck is happening in Australia? Not the $8, but the 35 screens. What idiot got those distribution rights? Or, alternatively, what genius got those distribution rights and forced theaters to commit to a 4 week run and pay upfront? Anyway, someone is losing a lot of money.
(Is it the Cricket connection? Is that why they got so many screens?)
And then there’s Bareilly, the little film that could. In the US, $2,700 per screen in week 2, on 29 screens. Only down 7 screens from week one, which means the distributors/theater owners have faith in it. And went from $4,400 per screen to $2,700, which is very healthy. That’s mid-level star figures, Akshay or Varun type stuff. Only for a star-less little slice of life film. Yes yes, on many many fewer screens that Akshay or Varun would get, but the markets it is playing in, clearly interest is high. And it’s following that solid pattern everywhere, basically the same as Toilet (which makes sense, since it is also a northern focused film). A little low in the UK, high in Australia, etc. Doing terrible in New Zealand for some reason (why?), but otherwise a solid little hit.
And finally, A Gentleman. Oh dear. I so wanted you to do well! Although, it is doing fabulously in New Zealand (WHY???? New Zealand, why are you so mysterious????). But everywhere else, bleh. Only slightly over $1,000 per screen in America (where it should have had the best release, considering how in-jokey it is about life in the US), well under $1,000 per screen in the UK, about $2,000 per screen in Australia (yay! And also, WHY????).
To sum up, nothing exciting is happening in the Hindi box office. Toilet and Bareilly are still doing solid business, Jab Harry Met Sejal is terrible but that is old news by now, A Gentleman was always a bit of a gamble and it didn’t pay off. Now, the Big News, TELUGU!!!!
$8,662 per screen on 88 screens for Arjun Reddy. Which isn’t the best I have ever seen, but my understanding is that this is kind of an off beat film without a really major star (and a release on only 88 screens supports that), which means $8,662 is MINDBLOWING. That’s in the US, the Telugu heartland, but even over in Australia, it is still doing really well, $5,500 per screen.
Yes yes, I know I should watch it. And no, that probably isn’t going to happen. Just because this week Baadshaho and that impotence comedy are both coming out in Hindi and I should really try to see both of them. But, what I can glean from The Internet, is that this is not a big silly action film, not what has come to be thought of as “Telugu” film. And yet it is finding a massive audience. Just like Fidaa, also not a big silly action film, did earlier this year. And meanwhile DJ and other big star films of the year did okay, but nowhere near these numbers or this long term sustainability.
So, either this means the Telugu market is shifting, finally, away from big star action films. Or it means the NRI market is growing farther and farther away from the India market, flocking towards more thoughtful character dramas. Or it means this has already happened and I just didn’t notice it because I don’t know anything about Telugu films. You can tell me in the comments!
I am leaning towards this being a newer trend just because of the release pattern, especially in comparison with the Tamil release. The new Tamil movie, Vivegam, I think is one of those big star action films again? And it came out on 159 screens in the US, the distributors clearly had high hopes. And then it just went foop at the box office. Only a little over $1,000 per screen, and that’s with the Tamil opening day boost.
So the expectation was that the audience would flock to this big star action film, and be only moderately interested in the off-beat character drama. But, NOPE. Character drama all the way. And Tamil film, once again, loses out.