Box Office Report: October Falls

Well, it’s not the best pun title, but it’s something.  The point is, bad week at the box office this week!  October did terribly, and took all the screens, so nothing else had any space. (as always, figures courtesy of renttrack courtesy of Bollywoodhungama)

Let’s talk star power!  Or rather, perceived star power.   On the one hand, Tiger Shroff currently is getting a lot of credit for the success of Baaghi 2, which I think is a mistake.  Both that the success is being over-hyped and that it was more about the genre of the film than Tiger himself individually (although he did a good job, I just don’t think he was the only factor in its success), and that it isn’t good for Tiger’s career to get all this hype.

And on the other hand, we have October that shows the end result of all that hype.  Varun Dhawan was given so much credit for the success of his last few films, undeserved credit.  Judwaa 2 was a hit because of the nostalgia factor, and the promotions, and that comedies were doing good last year, and only after all of that, because of Varun.  And most of his other recent films, you could say the same thing.  Maybe not Badrinath, or Dishoom, but Dilwale was a Shahrukh movie more than Varun, Badlapur was as much about the pairing with Nawazuddin as him by himself, and so on and so on.

(People came in for this song, not for Varun doing this song.  Or at least, mostly not for Varun doing this song)

But because Varun was (incorrectly) crowned King of the Box Office, unable to have a flop, and so on and so on, now October is flopping.  The expectations were just way too high.  It is a strange little artsy mood piece made on a shoestring, it should have had a shoestring release.  But instead it is getting all this promotion and all these screens (131 in America alone!) that it will just never be able to handle.  Which has turned it into a flop, Varun’s first flop.

For the numbers, $1,500 per screen in the US, $1,300 in Canada (and Canada has the expensive ticket prices!), $670 per screen in the UK (which should be the perfect audience for it, they like artsy and they like romance), $100 per screen in Australia (they like the action films so it was never going to do well there, but $100 per screen is ridiculous).  I don’t trust the India figures at all, so I can’t speak to that, but I just can’t imagine that the numbers are this bad overseas and it’s actually doing well at home.

It is a little bit due to Varun that this is a problem, if he wants to be a real star, not just a popular actor, he needs to get more pro-active about making sure his films are released and promoted correctly.  That’s one area where Tiger seems to be doing well, or someone on his team.  There is a sense of the kind of movie he can do, and how it should be promoted, and how it should be released.

Image result for october poster

(This is a good poster for an art movie, a bad poster for a major release)


In other news, not much news!  Blackmail is doing slightly better in the second week than the first, if we grade on a curve.  That is, the first week was very bad for a first week, the second week is not so bad for a second week.  Looks like a combination of good word of mouth, people coming back a second time, and people who aren’t “first day first show” kind of people getting around to watching it.

Everything else is dropping.  This is the other problem with October, it took all the screens so nothing else big is coming out, and all the older movies are entering weeks 2-3-4 and naturally falling off.  This weekend there is nothing in Hindi, but if Mahesh Babu’s new movie does well, that could fill theaters and keep things going a bit during this IPL lag time.

7 thoughts on “Box Office Report: October Falls

  1. I know nothing about box-office but even for me putting October on so many screens sounds like terrible idea.
    It’s a small film, filmed quickly with, I guess , reduced budget, so it would not be difficult make a profit, am I right? So why spoil everything with this stupid numer of screens?

    Now I’m super curious how Bharat Ane Nenu will perform. Are you going to see it this weekend?


    • I probably won’t be able to see Bharat this weekend, unless I can find a good cheap showtime. But I am curious as well!

      On Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 2:22 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. I really love Faron, and the idea that he did not fail once, make my very angry, Failure will make him a better actor, a better star, continued success is a danger to him، I liked ‘October’ since the first picture appeared for them, wait for it to come online to see it, Faron would be fine even if the film failed.


    • I agree, my biggest fear is that this failure will end up not effecting Varun at all, that people will blame Sircar for the film instead and Varun will continue on having learned nothing.

      On Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 3:45 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. Anupama chopra just uploaded a video interview this morning with varun dhawan, talking about October, how varun landed the film, varuns acting process for the film, and claimed that it’s doing “well” at the box office after a bad opening night (up 60% on the 2nd night), and congratulating him for its success at the box office.

    I’m wondering if this video is an attempt at damage control? Or to drum up more business? To get the educated types to see it in the theater instead of waiting for Netflix? I mean, an anupama or rajeev interview about the actors’ methods or why /how someone was cast usually comes out *before* a movie’s release, not after, especially so with an art film.
    See: every rajkumar rao movie ever.

    Also to your point about how October was marketed, a quick scan of YouTube shows several of those fluffy star-vehicle types of interviews, where the two leads flirt with each other and guess what they each ate for breakfast and discuss airport looks. That’s a fun way to market judwaa 2 or A Gentleman, but really an tone-deaf choice for an art film or even a mainstream serious drama.

    Finally, since Anupama and Varun are claiming that October is now doing well, i was wondering if you could break down the box office on it so far, like you usually do? Is it doing well in certain countries or regions? Is it a per-screen flop but an overall hit? How does it compare with other recent art films that meet with some success, like newton, lipstick, trapped, or masaan? Or even with a female driven project like hitchki or tumhari sulu?

    I’ll put a theory out there. With amazon netflix hbo putting out so much original high quality content AND back catalogs of historically proven high quality content, all with high quality actors, whether newcomers or established, then the hurdle that you have to cross as a mainstream star to be accepted in a high quality theater release is so much higher than ever before. For the “classes” audience, why go to the theater to watch Varun try to be a serious actor, when i can turn on Netflix and see so many known and unknown actors actually succeeding at being serious actors in high quality production? I mean, i saw October to support shoojit and juhi, and quality cinema broadly, with my theater ticket dollars, and despite Varun’s presence, not because of it. So the masala actor becomes box office poison for an art film much more than ever before. October might have actually done better box office with parallel-branded actor like R Rao or a mainstream actor with strong acting cred like Ranbir or Sushant, as it would draw out the “classes” more. Or had better results with varun going straight to netflix with this one. I’m sure the producers made their money, so this advice is mainly for varun and actors like him in navigating their career choices. Deepika doing Finding Fanny was in 2014, and that had Cocktail preceding it. Perhaps Finding Faany wouldn’t have met with the same success today in the netflix amazon era. Plus varun hasn’t had his Cocktail yet to justify an October.


    • I just checked the numbers for each area and October is doing BAD. Way worse than I thought before I added it all together. Especially considering the overseas audience is the one it needs, this kind of an artsy odd film.

      The one I keep thinking of is Badlapur. Which I don’t remember being promoted this same way, if nothing else it was a dark revenge thriller, not a romance in any way, so it couldn’t be that big all audiences hit. Varun was really brilliant in that, and cast perfectly. But this movie, he did a good job, but it felt like they were pushing a little to have him in the role, and certainly they are pushing it down on the audience in a way they shouldn’t be.

      For the numbers, $1,500 per screen in the US, $1,300 in Canada (and Canada has the expensive ticket prices!), $670 per screen in the UK (which should be the perfect audience for it, they like artsy and they like romance), $100 per screen in Australia (they like the action films so it was never going to do well, but $100 per screen is ridiculous). I don’t trust the India figures at all, so I can’t speak to that, but I just can’t imagine that the numbers are this bad overseas and it’s actually doing well at home.

      I think you are right, they lost the audience that would have liked it with the promotions. You mention Finding Fanny, my memory is that movie only played at a few theaters and kind of snuck in and out with some lowkey promotion split among the cast. It wasn’t all about Dips and Arjun, or Dips and Ranveer, it was the ensemble. But this film, there was all this talk about it as a “Varun Dhawan movie” instead of a Shoojit Sircar film, or any of the other cast members.

      And obviously they couldn’t sell it to the Varun audience, since Niki (our resident Varunite) admitted she just couldn’t get excited about it. So they lost the Varun people because it wasn’t the usually happy bright fun Varun movie, and they lost the art crowd by promoting it as the bright fun Varun movie.

      On Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 7:28 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  4. Pingback: Box Office Report: October Falls — dontcallitbollywood – Business Startup-Bay Area

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