Baaghi! Which is being called the arrival of Tiger, massive hit, blah blah blah-de-blah. Only, it’s not really. It’s good, definitely solid hit. But not the kind of groundswell that announces something really spectacular.
Like Aadhi, Baaghi 2 is a screencount hit. It made less than $3,000 per screen in America. But it released on 123 screens, which drove up the overall box office. And like with Mohanlal’s son in Aadhi, I don’t mind that their father’s name and connections got them the opportunity, I appreciate that they put in real work and tried to make the best film they could, but I very much resent that they got the benefit of this ridiculous release that is making them appear far more popular than they are.
It’s not just in the US that Baaghi has this pattern. It made about $7,000 per screen in Canada, which is very good (would be great in other places, but Canada has expensive tickets), but it’s not spectacular. It only looks that way because it was on 22 screens. It was on 51 screens in the UK and made about $2,500 per screen. 30 screens in Australia, $8,000 per screen. 16 screens in New Zealand, about $10,000 per screen.
So, Baaghi is a solid masala action movie. It did well in the traditional action markets (Australia, New Zealand, Canada) and poorly in the traditional romance belts (US, UK). But the overall box office was driven up and up by screen count, and there seems to be a further effort to drive up the buzz around the film to make it appear as though it is a much bigger, and more surprising, hit than it really is. This is not the “Tiger is now a star who can open a film on his name alone” moment. This is the “Tiger is now a solid lead who is not a detriment to a movie” moment. Which is an important moment! Nothing to take away from Tiger, it’s a big deal when you reach the plateau of having enough name recognition and experience that people don’t go “what, who’s in this film?” but instead go “oh, that looks fun, and Tiger’s in it, he’s okay”.
(What I am saying is, the helicopter and gun and general action vibe were as appealing as Tiger in this poster. But Tiger was a definite plus point too, a marked improvement from Baaghi 1)
I should say that I enjoyed Baaghi 2 myself, and I saw it in a packed theater, mostly with young men. And Tiger got whistles when he appeared. So he does have buzz, this movie has a legitimate fan base, it’s a true hit. Way way better than Aadhi in that regard. But it’s not good for Tiger to give him more credit than he deserves at this moment. He has proven his ability in a very specific genre kind of film. Let him do Student of the Year 2 and a few other films, let him have a real big budget big hit after that, THEN you can announce “Tiger has arrived”.
Other box office news, Ram Charan has arrived!!!!!!! For realsies. Rangasthalam is MASSIVE in the US. Okay, not massive, but way way way way way better than any other Telugu film (besides Bahubali 2) in over a year. Almost $9,000 per screen. Even allowing for inflated tickets and a Thursday release, that is still super good. And, more importantly, that is better than the last Pawan Kalyan and Mahesh Babu movies, and Chiranjeevi, and Allu Arjun, and essentially all the big names. So, Yaay Ram Charan! Listen to all the excitement over Tiger and pretend they are talking about you, because they should be!
(Here, dance on one leg for like a year in celebration)