Good week for Punjabi films! Bad week for all other films. Oh well, someone always has to rise to the top. (as always, figures from bollywoodhungama)
Batti Gul Meter Chalu did BAD!!! Which I can’t find it within myself to feel sorry about. Less than $2,000 per screen in America (and on only 63 screens), and only $1,000 per screen in the UK (but on 53 screens which is a lot for England, so not quite so bad). Only $2,250 in Canada.
(So, I wasn’t the only one who decided to skip it and stay home with a good book instead)
Meanwhile, Manmarziyaan is doing slightly better in the second week for a second week than it did in the first. Slightly over $1,000 per screen on 60 screens in America, not totally terrible. Terrible in the UK though, 22 screens and only $300 per screen. Ouch! And about the same in Canada, for Canada, $1,200 per screen on 19 screens.
Stree on the other hand is doing magnificent, over $2,000 per screen in week 4 in America. Almost $2,000 per screen in Canada. Not so good in the UK, $130 per screen. Of course, it also severely slashed the screen count, down to 23 in America and only 4 in Canada and the UK. So maybe not “magnificent” but “intelligently making the most of things”.
The southern films are just dreadful this week. Nannu Dochukunduvate continued the trend of the southern film having more screens in America than the Hindi, released on 101 screens. And it made less than $1,000 per screen. Saamy 2, the Tamil release, had only 36 screens and did even worse per screen. I suppose this could just be because Devudas is coming out soon and no one wants to release in competition, but I’m honestly not sure if anyone besides me is excited about that. So it could be that hopes were high for these films (101 screens seems like it) and they didn’t live up to their promises.
But, who is looking good this week? Punjabi!!!! Qismat is doing extremely well basically everywhere. Only 24 screens in America, and $4,000 per screen. $7,500 per screen in Canada. $4,100 per screen in the UK. A very solid hit all over the world.
So, what does this tell us? First, the thing I have been banging on about for weeks, the audience is no longer strictly following language lines. Or rather, the lines of “my home language plus Hindi” now it’s more “my home language plus anything else that looks interesting”.
But second, if language lines no longer matter, what is bringing people in? Stars go with language, so it’s no longer stars. If it was, Shahid Kapoor’s film would be opening far far better based on the success of Padmavat earlier this year. Clearly the first film did well, and this one didn’t, completely unrelated to actors. No, it’s the type of film that is bringing them in.
Urdu did well a few weeks back when it had traditional romances releasing. Then Telugu, when it had a romance. And now Punjabi has the good old traditional romance, and it is doing well. The pattern is clear.
And what Hindi films are failing? The ones that lean away from romance. Manmarziyaan emphasized its cool hip Anurag Kashyap surface in the promos, instead of the traditional romance heart. Batti Gul Meter Chalo went after the social message instead of the romance in it’s promotions. And both films are failing. Qismat loudly and proudly declared itself a good old-fashioned romance, and it is taking off.