Box Office Report: Raazi and Mahanati Prove Women Are Better Than Men

I was going to come up with something clever, but now, simple is best.  Every male star in every industry is struggling to make a decent box office, and Alia and the Savatri biopic sweep in and break records without breaking a sweat. (as always, figures from renttrack by way of bollywoodhungama)

Raazi made $6,500 per screen in America on 110 screens, $5,669 per screen on 19 screens in Canada, $2,100 per screen on 63 screens and NUMBER 9 AT THE BOX OFFICE in the UK, $5,000 per screen in Australia, $5,000 per screen in New Zealand, $18,000 per screen in Malaysia, and $550 per screen in Germany.

Image result for raazi

(Check out how much Alia looks like her mother!  Speaking of female power, how often do we see a mother and daughter onscreen together?)

Now, this isn’t the most impressive record breaking showing ever.  But let’s compare it with Judwaa 2, starring the other big successful Karan Johar protege.  Judwaa made only $2,600 per screen on 192 screens, for a smaller total than Alia got on only 110 screens.  Same per screen in Canada, slightly more per screen in the UK but only number 11 at the box office, $9,000 per screen in Australia, $8,500 in New Zealand, only $15,000 in Malaysia and didn’t release in Germany.

So, Alia did much much better in America, better in Malaysia and Germany, the same in Canada, worse in Australia and New Zealand.  This fits with general tastes for the different regions, Varun’s silly comedy with fight scenes would work for Australian and New Zealand audiences better than Alia’s tense spy drama.  But much worse for the American audience that generally likes something a little meatier.

And don’t forget to consider the ad campaign too!  Judwaa was estimated to have an overall 80 crore budget, 15 crore of that to promotions.  Raazi figures aren’t available, but words like “shoestring” are being thrown around to describe its budget.  Dharma promoted Raazi a decent amount, they had faith in the film, that’s clear.  But it was nothing close to the inescapable never ending promotions of Judwaa.  Which means both that Raazi did better with fewer advantages, and that it’s profits are a lot more profitable.

So, what have we learned?  We have learned that women are better than men.  Sort of.  To put it more accurately, a film with a female lead is assumed to also need a strong script, director, concept, performances, soundtrack, and all the rest of it.  While a film with a male lead is assumed to not need anything else besides the star, leading to much worse films.

The key is for there to be enough faith in the female star to give a decent release and promotion (unlike those sad little movies that sneak out hardly noticed by anyone like Angry Indian Goddesses), but not so much that the promotions go out of control and the script is forgotten.

 

 

 

Which brings me to Mahanati!!!!  Kind of but not really the same thing.  In this case, the script isn’t great, and the promotions were absolutely out of control.  However, the whole concept of the film is a sentimental love for a female movie star.  A dead woman is the biggest star involved.  And the box office is bigger than it has been for any live man lately, $5,800 per screen in America, $4,500 per screen in Canada (Canada!!!!  New market!), $2,500 per screen in the UK (another new market!), $8,000 per screen in Australia (!!!!!), $4,250 per screen in New Zealand (I have no more exclamation points to give).

Image result for mahanati poster

In this case, a woman is better because a woman is bigger.  In order to earn this film, she had to be 3 times the star than the piddling little men we have now, your Allu Arjuns and even your later day Chiranjeevis.  I didn’t like the movie, and I didn’t like the stuff they changed about Savatri’s life, but they certainly didn’t exaggerate anything.  If anything, they made her smaller than she was in real life.  She was a star in multiple industries in hundreds of films working from age 15 to her death.  She made 264 movies, to Gemini Ganesans 174 in the same time period.  She worked in 6 languages to Gemini’s 3.  There is no male star to compare to her, because no male star ever had to work that hard to be recognized.

(Still think this song is ridiculously triumphal though.  Way way too much for any movie star, even the biggest one ever)

 

That’s the ultimate lesson I am getting this week.  Power leads to laziness.  Male stars have the power, and it makes them lazy.  The movies are just not as good, and the stars aren’t as beloved.  Because they don’t think they have to work any more.  Women, they are better because they KNOW they have to work for it.

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45 thoughts on “Box Office Report: Raazi and Mahanati Prove Women Are Better Than Men

    • Very particular records, but yes. I think it might be the best per screen Hindi film in America in 2018, and I think it also broke the “female lead film” opening day record in India. It’s doing very similarly to how Neerja did, which is frustrating because I seem to be the only person talking about Neerja at this point, at least as a box office hit instead of just critically acclaimed. Neither of them got the number of theaters that other films did which held them back from breaking the more obvious records, and it seems like people just didn’t notice the smaller records.

      On Wed, May 16, 2018 at 10:46 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Although Aiyaary was too, and it didn’t work. I mean, it was a really terrible movie (not philosophically terrible, just extremely poorly made), but there is at least some level of bad quality which will turn off the audience even for a patriotic film.

      On Wed, May 16, 2018 at 11:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. Alia Bhatt may be very young .But she is brilliant actress and her surname Bhatt carries lot of weight , she just stepped into shoes of her sister Pooja Bhatt to continue to lineage. As for Ganeshan he was an employee or manager of Gemini studios later appeared on the movies as Romantic hero, some were hits and some were flop

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  2. You know I have been thinking about Mahanati and after researching her biography, I hated how the movie focused on her relationship with Ganesan and her need for a male figure in her life.

    However, I feel the movie is warranted in it’s portrayal of Savitiri because Sam is leading the story. Her boss requested for Sam to write the “behind the scenes” aspects of savitiri’s life and also due to Sam’s inability to proclaim her love in her life, she divulged into Savitiri’s love story, and hence, the movie Mahanati was made!
    Seeing it in this aspect, makes the movie brilliant as it combined a perfect balance of what happened in Savitri’s behind the scenes life and her on-screen portrayal.
    I am guessing this is the reason why Mahanati didn’t explore Savitri’s on screen MAGNUM OPUS throughout her movies in many languages.

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    • Interesting thought, that we are seeing Savitri through Samantha’s eyes. But again, there is still a decision made on the part of the filmmakers, to use Samantha’s character that way. And her character of a female reporter trying to prove herself could easily have been shifted so that the focus was on how Savitri inspired her to be a greater professional success and the love story took a backseat. Plus also, Savitri didn’t actually have the love story the film described, it’s not just an “interpretation”, it’s factually inaccurate in big things like her “shock” at Gemini cheating (when she must have known about Rekha for years before they separated), or the age of her son.

      And there’s also the assumption that the most important part of a personal life of a woman is romance, rather than focusing on her life as a mother, or just her friendship with her childhood friend. Gemini overshadowed everything. Very frustrating!

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      • True. Maybe the filmmakers were hoping for some Love Aaj Kal connection, humanizing Savitiri and her contribution to something other than cinema

        Gemini did overshadow everything. Question: Is he popular? Same/less/more popular than MGR or ANR?

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        • I’m not the best person to answer that, honestly your parents might be a better source!

          But my impression from what I have heard here is that Gemini is nowhere close to MGR or ANR. To put it in Hindi terms, I think maybe MGR would be Amitabh, and Gemini would be Rishi Kapoor. Or even something like John Abraham today.

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          • My parents are like PREM NAZIRRRRR. Have you ever watched any old mallu movies?

            That is an amazing comparision.

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  3. That’s a really interesting point about female led films getting more attention because it sort of guarantees a good story! It seems like a correction to the existing trend but the smaller budget films have been cashing in on it for ages haven’t they? I guess KJo’s baniya dimag is way sharper than we realize!

    Also, man oh man, what does this say for Alia’s career!!! She’s barely 25 and look at all the girl-led films she’s already done! I still have hopes for catching this in the theatres but I’m watching the trailer over and over again and I can’t get over how mature she looks. I know you hated her staple big cry moment from it but then again it isnt offset by teeny chirpiness, is it?

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    • There’s a great line she has, when her spymaster tells her she has to always look happy, “smiling makes your cheeks hurt”. So the chirpiness is turned on its head, she is the adorable happy young woman, but the audience knows it is fake.

      I don’t hate the big crying scene exactly, it’s more just that I realized I had seen her do this exact breakdown in so many films lately, it had lost it’s impact. It was the director’s choice to have her breakdown, instead of react in a different way, so it’s not on her. Just made me realize how similar a lot of her films have been. Even if she’s happy part of the time, she still has the big breakdown scene!

      On Wed, May 16, 2018 at 11:16 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Yes! It’s getting to be just too familiar, I want someone to make her convey despair without crying, just to change things up a bit. I am sure she could do it.

          On Thu, May 17, 2018 at 7:40 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It would probably change once she’s too old to pull off the ugly cry as ‘cute’. Plus she is actually still a kid. I’m not sure she has the emotional experience to do those scenes any other way. Once she works a bit more with smaller or more artsy directors where the motivation to do something different is present, she could definitely do those scenes without the unnecessary breakdowns.

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    • ‘Also, man oh man, what does this say for Alia’s career!!! She’s barely 25 and look at all the girl-led films she’s already done! ‘
      Of course she could skip all the stage1, stage2 phases that actresses generally go through-thanks to her mentor. Also let me offer Sai Pallavi from down south for comparison-26 year old, no mentor, no filmi background, has done roles of teacher, matured wife, chirpy girl, depressed mom, dubbed in 3 different languages & great dancer. Not saying one is better than the other but that Alia is not a phenomenon as she’s made out to be. I just saw some Twitterati rechristening Alia as Alia Blanchett & Alia Streep. So had to be mean & rant on another Alia-is-the-greatest comment.. love you A..😙

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      • Sai Pallavi has the advantage of working in industries that make films with a proper storyline on a regular basis. Alia, on the other hand, had a lifetime of “female lead” in Varun Dhawan films in front of her when she started. Instead, she’s chosen roles like bihari migrant worker in Udta Punjab, a dumbass with Stockholm syndrome in Highway and of course a mature and serious spy in Raazi. More than that, it’s not just that she looked for and did roles that were not your regular “item number and look pretty for the hero” fares, she actually made an impression in basically all her roles, like you’d remember her lines and her scenes and her plot in every Alia film you watch.

        I think of Sai Pallavi more along the lines of Swara, Richa and Shweta rather than Alia. Actors in smaller films can play a tree and it would be an addition to their career. A completely mainstream actress that doesn’t do an item number in every film and still succeeds is a rarity.

        At any rate, what a great time for our actresses isn’t it?

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        • Which mainstream actress does item number in every film? All the current generation actresses have had their share of women centric films & successes at that. Deepika in Piku, Anushka in NH10, Pari, Kangana in TWM, Queen, many others & the very first one-Vidya. They have done that and eye candy roles-just like Alia. To the credit of all these women, they dont owe their showcase films to anyone but their own talent-unlike Alia who got Highway & Raazi-courtesy her mentor. I’m not denying that she’s a good actress & does justice to her roles. But to make her out to be the greatest & the poster girl for women centric films is stretching it thin-especially when it’s quite evident that her connections help her big time & that she stars in movies which are well written & well made. Heck, she got SRK doing a cameo in one of her movies. I would like to see how Alia’s career progresses if KJo dies tomorrow(I don’t want him to die-just for his kids sake)Will she still maintain her impressive track record ? We may never find out, because that’s unlikely to happen & the noise of ‘Alia the greatest’ is getting louder & louder. She’s a good actress-no more, no less. But like M said , I do want to see her in diverse roles before anointing her as the greatest.

          Sai Pallavi is a mainstream heroine-down south. She’s acting with the likes of Dhanush, Suriya etc(it’s sad that i have to mention the heroes names to establish the credibility of the heroine. But I don’t know what else you mean by ‘mainstream’). She has had box office success & her last movie was promoted only using her name. She has done everything Alia has done, being only a year older & without a mentor. Parvathy is slightly older but she too is an actress whose name gives the assurance that the heroine will be more than eye candy.
          Agree that it’s a wonderful time for actresses all around. But then haven’t we had some great roles for actresses in the past too? Sridevi, Madhuri, Manisha, Rani& several others had some memorable roles along with their usual heroine roles.

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          • I agree that not all mainstream actress do item songs anymore. But that’s after a significant portion of their career. That those haven’t been a staple of her as yet short career is commendable. I’d love to say there are girls in the Hindi industry that have made the effort to not do those staple roles but that isn’t true is it? Just a disclaimer but I didn’t say she was the greatest actress of all time 😁 or even of this generation 😁 just that I like how her career is shaping up. How she’s picking good roles when she could just churn out the “heroine” parts in five films a year.

            I don’t hate her for having a mentor. Why should I? That takes a lot away from her own efforts. I’m also not going to establish Sai Pallavi as the topmost actress of all time either simply because she’s done well without a mentor. How is that relevant? Also, I don’t like to compare actresses from different industries. Because the odds are stacked against them all in their own industries. If anyone is doing well in theirs, more power to them. Alia is doing great in the Hindi industry. Sai Pallavi is doing great in the south. Swara, Richa and Shweta are doing great in the Hindi non commercial films, Sweety is having roles characterised to her strength, Sonam is trying her hand at production even though she’s still in the “heroine” age, Kareena is doing mainstream films post marriage and Saif is the one with a post marriage career slump, radhika apte is normalising female sexuality on screen while a hundred other girls like Ileana are still stuck doing the heroine/pretty prop routines which is familiar and easy. It would be wrong to take away from each of these women the glories that they have earned and comparing them is unjust. We can enjoy them all in their own unique way. Of course on a post about Raazi and in a conversation about the film’s heroine, a few words on what she’s doing right for herself doesn’t mean everyone else is being deliberately ignored. Also, if Premam was ever to be remade in Hindi I’d want Alia to play Sai Pallavi’s part 😂 😂 😂

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          • Yep.. can totally picture Alia as a teacher romancing a younger guy😂😂

            ‘But that’s after a significant portion of their career. That those haven’t been a staple of her as yet short career is commendable. I’d love to say there are girls in the Hindi industry that have made the effort to not do those staple roles but that isn’t true is it?’ -Would she have been able to do that if KJo wasn’t around? How’s Alia able to land all these great roles so early in her career when every heroine in every industry had to go through the grind of doing ordinary roles until they are established as a dependable heroine? Heck even Sridevi, Madhuri had to do some terrible roles early on. Why is Alia the only choice of filmmaker for the good roles? Doing all the great things that she’s doing with a safety net strongly in place does take away or diminish the aura around her achievements.

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          • Maybe she has the advantage of a famous bapu and the safety net of being rich which allows her the option of just staying home if the great roles aren’t there. She’s basically acting like what we’d expect Ranbir to act like with his privilege. But NOOOOO!!! He’s still in that zone where be thinks he can make crappy films and the audience should adore him nonetheless (I have hopes for Sanju though 😁)

            And when I compare Alia to other starkids, i totally see how she’s not cruising on her privilege but actually working hard at being the kind of actress that can pull off roles that, like you said, maybe come her way easier than they would for a newbie. Even Varun Dhawan who claims to be on an equal footing with the khans in terms of BO success, has made some totally crappy and cringeworthy films and he started with her. Riddle me that!!

            This makes her a great role model for the next gen of starkids and there are SOOOOO many of those waiting in the wings- especially Saif’s daughter and Sridevi’s daughter.

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          • Oh and Alia as Malar would be such a great fit. I doubt she’d be able to do that enigmatic smile but she could do the peppy teacher bit I’m sure. And siddharth could be the dumbass student 😂

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          • If it’s a choice of Alia as Malar or Sid as George, I will any day pick Alia. Malar was brutalised by Shruti Hassan in Telugu remake(so was the whole movie & George’s character)So Alia would be a definite improvement. But will she do the jaw-dropping-choreography bit?
            Why go for remakes when the original with subtitles is available?

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          • I know and I recommend the original to everyone like a crazy person. 😂 BUT, if it were to be a thing, better Alia than anyone else, no? Also, if she comes close to the original, we’d know for sure if she’s THAT good!!! I’ve been stuck on who should play George. I want to say Rajkummar but he has a tendency to look like a loser when the character’s fortunes take a downturn. George never does that.

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          • Ranveer!!!! He will so own it. Funny how we tend to cast our personal favourites in any role that’s found interesting. Part of Malar’s appeal was that she’s a enigmatic & we don’t know how the story will pan out. Whether the lovely teacher is indeed the sweetheart that she appears to be or will she break his heart. So casting someone who doesn’t come with the star tag would be better. Aditi Rao Hydari may do well. She has that fragile quality without feeling like a school girl. I’m still not convinced about the dancing bit though. Btw we have totally hijacked Raazi post with Premam😂😂

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          • You and Ratnam have the same thought! Did you run across the news story that Sai was first choice for Kaatru, but didn’t agree so Ratnam went with Aditi? they do have a very similar feel onscreen.

            On Fri, May 18, 2018 at 9:43 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yep, I was thrilled that Sai was getting to work with Mani & then it fell apart. But Aditi was surprisingly good in an otherwise disappointing movie. Aditi feels a little older & sadder than Sai though. Also watching Sai in Fidaa was like a smack to the head. Very different from from her other films.

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          • She was good in MCA too, but didn’t have nearly enough to do.

            Hopefully she gets a chance to work with Ratnam again in future, because I would really like to see what he brings out in her.

            On Sat, May 19, 2018 at 10:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • She can’t act at all!! Her eyes are totally dead.

            Ranveer as George, well I can get into it. But only if he immerses himself into the role. Which he might be able to do.

            As for hijacking another post to talk about Premam, M was literally after my life to watch it last year and now that I have, she’s going to have to have to get after my life again to stop talking about it on other posts 😂

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          • No, now I need to start getting after your life to watch Mayanadhi and fall in love with Tovino Thomas instead!

            On Sat, May 19, 2018 at 10:22 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • (hopefully the link works)

            On Sun, May 20, 2018 at 9:53 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Check out the below scene from Kaatru Veliyidai. She can be convincing under good direction. Sorry, I cdnt find a subtitled version. Full movie is available on Amazon Prime though.

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          • Don’t worry, there’s a whole flashback structure, in the “present” he is in a Pakistani prison, all bearded and rough and stuff.

            On Sat, May 19, 2018 at 10:23 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Again that’s the point I wanted to make-given a decent script & good director, a semi-decent actor can do well. I’m sure Aditi would have done Raazi as well as Alia but she doesn’t get those roles to make an impact & continues to languish in the sidelines while Alia is hailed as the best.

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          • actual artists all across the hindi industry as doing those small roles and building their audience through the smaller films. Nobody owes any of them a lead in a big film. So far, Alia has justified being cast in those big films and she continues to justify being picked for these female led films. Again, I’m not the one hailing her as the best. I just like her immensely 😛

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  4. I’m also getting tired of Alia is the best thing today narrative. From what I’ve read, KJo made sure she got Highway and this one. She delivered the goods, but she clearly has a huge advantage. Compare this to Yrf which routinely throws their mentees’ careers under the bus.

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  5. And big yes for Mayanadhi! (the thread above has become too long and it’s hard to join, so I’m writing here). More power (and fans) to Tovino Thomas!

    Liked by 1 person

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