Box Office Report: Blindness Beats Love (Bonus Namaste England Trailer Discussion at the End)

Well, the numbers are out and AndhaDhun is a shocking hit!  Not the biggest ever, or even the biggest of the year, but far bigger than I would expect for a film like this. (as always, figures from bollywoodhungama)

This is one of those weekends that is all about expectation and per screen.  If you just look at the raw box office total for AndhaDhun in America, it isn’t that impressive, only about 2/3rds of what, just to pick a comparison at random, Gold made.  But AndhaDhun released on 51 screens, and Gold released on 161.  AndhaDhun released on a non-Holiday, Gold released on Independence Day.  AndhaDhun is a low budget black comedy/thriller, Gold is a big inspiring sports story.  Gold had Akshay Kumar, AndhaDhun had Ayushmann Khurrana.  The screen count, the release date, that tells me even the producers didn’t have much faith in AndhaDhun.  The cast and topic tells me why they didn’t.  And then AndhaDhun ends up making $4,500 per screen!!!!!!  That’s better than a Hindi films has done since maybe Sanju!  That’s a better opening weekend than Stree had!  And that neatly puts AndhaDhun at the top of the heap for all Indian films in America this week.

(Not for nothing, I think it also had a better soundtrack than everything else out this week)

In America, there is one other factor.  Monday was a holiday for some people (not for me, but for some).  These figures don’t include Monday, so it isn’t a 3 day weekend bump that way.  But possibly the Sunday night shows were fuller than they would have been otherwise because people didn’t have to get up in the morning.  Even allowing for that, this is still a shockingly impressive box office take.

What’s really interesting is the way the numbers go up and down around the world.  In Canada it only released on 3 screens (too many Punjabi movies), but it made over $7,000 per screen.  In the UK, it got 30 screens and made $1,600 per screen.  Which isn’t terrible for the UK.  In Australia, it was on 16 screens and made $3,500 per screen, which is terrible for Australia.  In New Zealand, it only made $1,100 per screen.  In Malaysia, it made almost $3,000 per screen which is very good for a no stars Hindi film in Malaysia.

So, once again, the global audience is not united.  In America, a high concept black comedy with familiar but not spectacular stars was extremely popular.  In the UK, it was moderately popular.  In Australia and New Zealand, not at all.

They aren’t united in the second week films either, Sui Dhaaga is still doing shockingly badly in America, about $1,300 per screen in the second week.  Really not good for a Yash Raj picture with all that promotion behind it, and clearly they weren’t expecting this either because it is still on 114 screens.  But in Canada, it’s doing $2,500 per screen on 18 screens, not great but also not that bad for a second week, especially competing with major Punjabi releases.  It’s doing okay in Australia too, $2,000 per screen in the second week, again competing with Punjabi films.  But it’s doing terribly in the UK, traditionally Yash Raj’s best market, about $850 per screen.

Loveratri though, it unites the whooooooooole world.  Everyone in the world looks at it and goes “eh”.  $1,300 per screen in America, $1,800 per screen in Canada, $1,200 per screen in the UK (besides New Zealand, that’s the best, the UK box office is always pretty low and $1,200 is respectable), $1,500 per screen in Australia, and then the one really bright spot, $4,000 per screen in New Zealand.  The box office isn’t the worst I have ever seen, but it also isn’t good.  Except in New Zealand, for some reason they looooooooooove it in New Zealand.  WHY?????

Image result for loveyatri poster

(Is there some strange fetish for men whose faces don’t move?)

 

So, what does this tell us?  Well, black comedy is IN!  In America and in India, but not necessarily everywhere else.  And big name stars are out, they almost look like a detriment to a film instead of a benefit.  Stree did great with a clever youth oriented plot and concept and actors who were known as good actors, but not as major celebrities.  And now AndhaDhun has done the same thing.

It also tells us that it is better to be a producer of a small clever movie than a big one.  And better to be the theater owner who takes it.  The profits must be enormous for those lucky folks behind Stree and AndhaDhun, without having to pay big star rates they are getting close to big star box offices.  In two weeks, we will watch Ayushmann’s next comedy Badhaai Ho release opposite Namaste England and see if the pattern holds.

(Speaking of Namaste, here is the newest trailer.  I like the new plot info, showing that it will really look at the experience of illegal immigrants, and that there will be a lighthearted twist and love triangle, but oh my gosh this trailer is terribly edited!!!!!  Or else it is a truly awful movie, but I don’t think that is it, the way the music is thrown in the background and swells and fades at random tells me it might just be the trailer)

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12 thoughts on “Box Office Report: Blindness Beats Love (Bonus Namaste England Trailer Discussion at the End)

  1. Looks that people in New Zealand really like bad movies or Aayush Sharma has a lot of family there. I don’t see other explanation.
    For Namaste England – I like this second trailer better that first, but I wonder now – Parineeti looks like someone who works and has success, so why her husband must risk his life to visit her in England? Isn’t there a visa for family members? I’m now both interested and annoyed with this movie and I think I would rather buy a ticket to Badhaai Ho if I could chose. The only asset Namaste Englad has is Arjun looking sexy.

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      • If it’s like the plot point in a recent Malayalam movie, the hero would face some trouble with the passport or visa application, prompting him to take an illegal route to cross borders.

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    • I think your Sharma family theory for New Zealand is probably the best explanation.

      The Namaste England plotting does seem a little shakey. It could still make sense, if Parineeti left for England two years ago and became successful, and meanwhile Arjun stayed back in the Punjab, and they got a divorce so he had no legal grounds to travel to be with her, plus it sounds like Parineeti wasn’t expecting to see him again. I kind of like the idea of this take on the immigrant experience, the husband and wife showing the lowest and highest end of immigration.

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  2. This trailer of Namaste England will make it work I feel, which makes me happy because Im rooting for Arjun and Pari haha. Is it weird that I don’t even truly care if it isnt the greatest movie as long as it works for them?

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    • Isn’t weird at all! We all have our strange sympathies and soft spots for celebrities. I kind of feel the same way about Aditya Roy Kapur in Kalank and Sadak 2.

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  3. The second Namaste England trailer does look better and definitely gives away more of the plot. I agree with Angie that 1) not sure I believe that there isn’t an easier way for Arjun to get there (maybe he has trouble getting a longer visa back home but couldn’t he just go on a travel visa and deal with it later if he convinces Parineeti that they can both settle in England…either way it’s going to be an issue long term which makes me think there’s a regressive ending and they end up back in India because her career dreams take the backseat to his demands to be with her?) 2) Arjun does look sexy in lots of scenes and I am on board no matter what. I need more sexy smirks from him and it looks like there are a few in this!

    I am slightly worried that Arjun will be crossing into that obsessive, demanding, stalker-ish role he seems to be sometimes cast in like Half Girlfriend, but hopefully not in this one.

    Still this movie could be an awful mess and I’ll still find something to like about it…the scenes where Arjun is good-naturedly messing with Parineeti by getting engaged to someone else are great and they do have the best kind of banter-y, antagonistic romantic chemistry.

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    • There was a so-so Malayalam movie that dealt with a similar situation (he had to sneak into America to stop his girlfriend’s wedding) by having him have a feud with the local police commander. Since you have to pass a quick police background check to get your Visa, it can be impossible merely because you and the local cop have issues. So maybe they will do something like that, simple and easy and explains why he can’t get any kind of a Visa at all, even a tourist one.

      I am hoping that Arjun doesn’t cross that line either, if they are already married it feels different to me, it’s legitimate to feel like you need one more conversation with your ex-wife to resolve your issues. And hopefully, based on this trailer, she rejects him again and he reacts by changing tactics from stalking to backing off and seeing if she will follow. I love the idea of secret exes secretly feuding in the middle of a marriage to someone else. I could even write a fanfic with that! I just hope it turns out the Bride is either in on it, or so horrible that we don’t feel guilty for Arjun tricking her.

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      • “I need more sexy smirks from him and it looks like there are a few in this!” YES YES YES to sexy smirks, all this trailer looks a way better the moment Arjun does his sexy , natural self.

        Oh yes, about visa. I remember now, it was in Bhavesh Joshi too – the policemen had to approve Harsh’s documents and they didn’t want to do it until he paid them.

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