Box Office Report: Mahira Rules in Canada, Karthi in America, Vidya Everywhere

Did anyone notice I skipped last week?  I did!  Travel and careful number calculations do not go together well.  But now I am home again, and ready to catch up.  And maybe even put up a video, if the sun comes out again. (as always numbers courtesy of renttrack by way of bollywoodhungama, full info available here)

Big story this week, Tamil!  Again!  Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru did well in places it shouldn’t have.  And poorly in places it should have done well.  I have no idea what is happening, but it is sure interesting!

Okay, what do I mean by “well”?  In the US, #18 overall, and $2696 per screen.  Okay, that’s barely okay.  Vikram-Vedha and Mersal, they both landed around $4,000 per screen.  But Tamil films never do as well in the US as Telugu films do.  And Karthi isn’t the biggest star, and (unlike Mersal) this isn’t a big fun colorful film but a serious drama.  And yet it still did more than $2,000 per screen.  Not bad!  In Australia, about the same.

Image result for Theeran Adhigaram Ondru (Tamil)

(Not saying Karthi isn’t cute, but he isn’t the biggest)

But then in the UK, the real mystery, $40 on 14 screens!  That’s not per screen, that’s total.  HOW??????  $40 doesn’t even divide evenly into 14!!!!  My real guess is that renttrack got a report of the full number of screens, but not all the screens reported their sales.  So I am going to ignore the $40 and focus on the 14.  14 is pretty good!  That’s one less than Tumhari Sulu.  So, the distributors are building the Tamil market in the UK, even if the audience isn’t (or is?  Really, $40?  That just can’t be right!) there yet.

Here’s the other interesting growing story, Pakistani films!  Verna came out on 17 screens in the US, 5 in Canada, and 27 in the UK.  And it did pretty solid in all 3 places.  Terrible if it was a film from any other industry, but considering Pakistani films are just beginning to come back overall, and to break into these new markets, managing to get that many screens and some actual people to come in and see them, that’s good.

Related image

(I assume part of the popularity is due to Mahira Khan’s massive international following, after the success of her TV series all over the world, plus slightly heightened name awareness following Raees)

And here’s a funky story, Malayalam!  Parava finally came out in the US and did pretty terrible.  It’s only on 7 screens, and it did less than a thousand per screen.  I’m guessing because it is soooooooooo late in releasing here.  It’s not like people are necessarily pirating it or anything, it’s more that the world is so small now, there was all that buzz and discussion when it first came out and we in America got to enjoy that.  And now the buzz is gone and it feels like old news, no one else is talking about it, why go see it?

I guess the 7 screens are also part of the problem.  If there were more than 7 screens it was playing on, than we Americans could have our own little discussion and buzz experience and so on.  But with only 7 screens, we can’t build our own community, and the larger global community has already moved on.

Let’s see, what else is happening?  Oh, the Telugu films are all doing terribly.  Again, some more.  That honeymoon is over.  And the Punjabi films aren’t doing too great either.  I can’t decide if it is that once the industry press started paying attention to it (all the articles this year about the rise of Telugu after Bahubali, all the articles last year about the rise of Punjabi), the audience pulled a reverse psychology type reaction and immediately looked elsewhere.  Or if it is a matter of distributors swamping the market, getting used to this big returns and over promoting and releasing even films that can’t bring in those returns until the audience gets tired.  Or if it is the filmmakers’ fault, they just got lazy.

Image result for bahubali 2 poster

(Bahubali!  But one film does not a movement make, and does not an audience make.  We aren’t all going to blindly continue watching Telugu films just because we happened to like something in the same language)

Whatever malaise is affecting those industries, I am beginning to have some vague hope that the Hindi films are starting to come out of it.  I may be kidding myself, but it does look slightly brighter this week.  Tumhari Sulu made slightly more than $3,000 per screen on 50 screens.

50 screens is a lot.  It’s no Khan release, or even an Akshay or an Ajay.  But it’s more than this week’s two new Telugu films got combined.  $3,000 per screen isn’t a lot, but it isn’t a little either.  Especially if word of mouth manages to grow and keep it steady next week.  Secret Superstar did only slightly better than this per screen.  On a lot more screens, but still, only slightly better.

All of the stuff I am talking about really gets back to Tumhari Sulu.  Because it is a smaller Hindi release, because the other Hindi releases are also small right now, there is space for other industries to spread out and find an audience.  It isn’t good for Hindi to dominate so entirely, to take up every screen for an audience that is tired of their films.  A week like this week, it lets Tamil find new audience, Pakistani films be rewarded with new audiences, and it lets the other Hindi films hang on a little longer too.

Ittefaq, in week 3, is still on 28 screens and making slightly more than $1,000 per screen.  Could be making more, but that’s not terrible, that’s still a profit for 28 theaters.  Secret Superstar on week 5 is still on 26 screens and also making slightly more than $1,000 per screen.  Qarib Qarib Singlle, also making slightly more than $1,000 per screen.  Lower than the other two, but still in the $1,000 range.

So let me put this in terms of the small theater owner.  Say you have 5 screens.  You are playing Ittefaq, Verna, Tumhari Sulu, Qarib Qarib Singlle, and one of the new Telugu films.  The Telugu film is giving you a loss.  Verna is giving you a slight profit, so is Tumhari SuluQarib Qarib Single and Ittefaq are breaking even.  So you are coming out ahead this week.

Compare that with, say, the week Tubelight came out.  If you owned a 5 screen theater, you set aside 3 screens for Tubelight.  The first week, you make a slight profit on those 3 screens, and take a loss on the other two because nothing big opened opposite it since everyone else was scared to compete.  The second week, you are still stuck with Tubelight, and you take a loss on all 5 screens.  The same thing the week after that.

Image result for tubelight poster

(I will never get tired of beating up on Tubelight.  It’s this year’s Fitoor)

It may not be as flashy and exciting as when you have some big box office record breaking film, but this is a good week overall.  The films with the most screens were all solid.  Not great, but okay to breaking even.  And there was plenty of screens for everyone to get their film out there and find an audience.



29 thoughts on “Box Office Report: Mahira Rules in Canada, Karthi in America, Vidya Everywhere

  1. I really like Karthi more than i like Surya, he seems more charming and laid back. Have you seen any of his work other than Kaatru Veliyidai? If you haven’t, I recommend Paiya and Oopiri. Paiya is a simple road movie with a couple of roadblocks in the form of your usual commercial villains, plus has a really catchy soundtrack. And he shares good chemistry with Tamannah (who he is paired with in Oopiri as well)
    This is my favourite song from Paiya shot in my City Bangalore.


    • I have been wanting to watch Oopiri for ages, as part of my Nagarjuna obsession (I don’t know what it is, maybe his mustache is magic, but I am in love). Anyway, it is very hard to find streaming with subtitles. I haven’t had any luck so far. Maybe Paiya will be easier.

      I was very very impressed with him in Kaatru, but that character was so unique and specific, I was pretty sure it was a different kind of performance from his usual.


      • Im in love with Nagarjuna from ages, and Im 23 now, so maybe he is quite the charmer :D. Regarding Karthi, yes, it was quite a departure for him playing a suave, urban guy in Kaatru Veliyidai. His first 2 films, Paaruthiveeran and Ayirathil Oruvan had him play a rural, rustic villager with unkempt hair and a beard. It was only in Paiya that he played an urban character, but even in that he seemed rooted.His last decent hit was Madras, where his character was from North Madras,an area of Chennai where the residents belong the lower middle class.


        • Madras!!! I need to watch that. I’m in love with Pa Ranjith after Kabali and Madras has been on my “to watch” list since then.

          And thank goodness it’s not just me that loves Nagarjuna and his mustache, despite the age inappropriateness. Felt very odd to see all those family photos and have no interest in his very appropriately aged son and be all about the 60 year old Dad.


          • Nagarjuna’s younger son and I are of the same age, and i also have absolutely no interest in him.
            I started liking Nag after watching him in a film called Super,which was also Anushka Shetty’s debut. He was not his usual soft romantic self, but played a thief along with Sonu Sood. Its a really bad film, but i really liked Anushka madly pursuing him and being rejected :P. Guess it added to his desirability.


          • Aryan Khan, nagarjuna’s kids, and abhishek should start a “even women my age and younger are more attracted to my father than me” support group.


  2. what’s wrong with the Telugu industry is that it’s the same as it has been all the time. Everyone liked Bahubali because it wasn’t anything like the regular Telugu fare. I was so excited for DJ world premiere on tv the other day and I couldn’t take it. It felt like a film from the 90s in Bollywood and exactly like every other Allu Arjun film i’ve seen so far. It would have been fun except it wasn’t engaging. It’s hindi tv ratings havent even been reported so far. I guess the telugu industry didn’t really expect Bahubali to become so big that the entire country and even overseas audience would begin to expect more of it.

    As for the hindi industry, well, the mass genre is not doing well but the smaller, slice of life films are doing great.


    • Very curious how Tiger Zinda Hai will do. Padmavati, setting aside the controversy and everything else, that’s not a massy replicable kind of film. Bhansali is his own thing.

      But Tiger Zinda Hai, that looks like a fun well-done action movie with big name stars. It’s the kind of thing that is the bread and butter of the industry. If it does well, it means the world makes sense again, you know? At least once a year or so the big hits will still work, and then we can make do with little films in between.


      • We have been moving away slowly from the mass genre for a few years now. Only now, in the last couple of years, the smaller film has moved away from the always-depressing arthouse themes. The smaller film actor now has name recognition and they’re only going to get more mainstream.


        • It feels like a healthy balance would still have at least a little mass involved. Something big and fun and special. But mubarakan level 3 times a year, and tiger zinda hai once a year sounds about right, with the rest of th e year filled in with nice small movies.


    • “what’s wrong with the Telugu industry is that it’s the same as it has been all the time.”
      Yes! I fell in love with telugu movies after Bommarillu, but after seeing some other movies I was bored, because it was always: young guy falls in love with the girl he has seen in college / on the street but before they can be together he must defeat some evil guy (usually gang boss or bad politician or both).

      • It feels like there has always been the more unusual romances available, but they are all so different from each other, that they aree seen as exceptions rather than the rule. Geethanjali, Mali Mali idli rani raju (sp?), and Fidaa and Ninnu Kori and arjun reddy this year are all different kinds of film but they are seen as the exception rather than the rule.


          • Yeah, it feels like Telugu falls into “big action cop film” or “romance that involves fight scenes and gangsters” or “completely strange categorized movies that are different from anything else”. But it all gets lumped together (not by us smart people, but by stupid industry analysts and stuff) as the same thing. So they all get the same kind of release and the same kind of publicity and it really doesn’t work.

            On Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 4:35 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. “We aren’t all going to blindly continue watching Telugu films just because we happened to like something in the same language”
    I burst out laughing at this part because that is exactly what I did! After bahubali, I literally watched all of prabhas’ movies, rana’s “Nenu Raju Nenu Matri” and got terrified after watching Arjun Reddy, and is for sure going to watch Bhagamaathie first day first show!
    I always loved telugu movies for its masala formulas because movies are made for entertaining and day-dreaming. I hope Telugu movies never change and keep releasing “Mirchi” kind of plots!


    • But you are unique! A special audience member. The vast majority loved Bahubali, tried Mirchi, got half way through Chatrapathi, and then gave up and lost interest.


      • Haha! Thankyou! aka my Friends! They couldnt sit through Bujjigadu or Billa after Chatrapathi, hahaha!!

        Rajamouli was recently asked to rank his movies, and, Chatrapathi was last and I do not blame the guy!


  4. Pingback: Box Office Video. Because I Might As Well | dontcallitbollywood

  5. In the year 2007-08 113 movies released in telugu and I watched 104 of them in theatres. Some of them 2 or 3 times. That’s when I was really upset and lost interest in my own mother tongue. Almost 80 of those 104 shared same plot closely. The thing i didn’t understand is why were some of them hits and some of them utter flops ?
    I stopped trying to answer the question. Most unusual and original movies like mantra ( a wonderful horror movie ; Margaret should definitely watch this) were hits and big movies got sidelined.
    It is then I decided to follow word of mouth advise. I watch movies only after I get to see public ratings (not critic ratings). serves as a good purpose in this regard that atleast 10000 people vote for any movie.
    P.s. Telugu is unpredictable in the sense that good plots come out with new faces. As the face gets more and more familiar his quality of films get poorer and poorer. Varun sandesh, an actor started with happy days (another great movie from fidaaa director released in 2007 and it’s biggest that year), ended with a series of flops. Even Naga chaitanya suffered with more flops than hits.
    Analyzing this i can say, there is a cycle of expectations and fan-hero relationship that feed each other and engulf the story so much that you loose interest as all of them become formulaic in the end.
    Word of advice : In telugu, if the faces are new and talk is good then it is definitely worth more than any bollywood movie. If not, better avoid it, like I do.


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