Oh boy! I haven’t down a box office run down in a few weeks, because it’s been boooooooooooring. But now Bharat is out! Excitement! (figures from bollywoodhungama)
Huh. Bharat did only about half as well in the first weekend as Sultan. I guess there is something to the YRF promotion machine and release juggernaut. On the other hand, Sultan dropped like a stone in the following weeks, I’ll be curious to see if Bharat has more rewatchability and staying power.
Sultan opening weekend made 13.73 million in overseas. Bharat only made 7 million. I’m putting the two films together not just because they are both Salman films, but they had the same director, similar quality (although I think Bharat is significantly better), similar stories (covering years as Salman ages), both Eid releases, even had the same composers.
Sultan released on 283 screens in America and made almost $7,000 per screen. Bharat released on 259 and made only $3,745 per screen. That’s a significant drop. But it is also in keeping with the general drop in box office for all films (Indian and American) in America. That same decline that you can see in Dilwale versus Zero, Srimathudu versus Maharshi, and on and on. The figures that now indicate a major newsworthy hit (like Padmavat), back in 2016 were expected for every major holiday release. We can see the same thing in that post I put up yesterday asking for favorite films of 2019, most of you had only seen one or two in theaters and the rest streaming.
Anyway, Bharat! In the new scale of success, how is it doing? The screen count is all over the place in a strange way, only 259 screens in America which is at least a 100 less than the largest count I have seen. Very odd for a holiday weekend with no American holiday to compete with. But in Canada, a record breaking 43 screens! And only $5,554 per screen, which isn’t great for Canada. But is good for 43 screens in Canada (I’m used to something like 12 screens and $10,000 per screen). 144 screens in the UK which is, again, shockingly high. And $2,506 per screen, which is really good for the UK (usually more like 60 screens and $1,500 per screen). 67 screens in Australia, $6,660 per screen, like Canada that is a high screen count and a lower than usual per screen. Malaysia’s a bit of a surprise, usually nothing but Tamil plays there, but Bharat made it onto 14 screens at $9,448 per screen. And then finally Germany! Land of Shahrukh and Karan Johar, Bharat made it onto 33 screens and squeezed out $1,500 per screen.
This is the power of the big name stars, and the holiday release. Looking at those countries, there’s a combination of places where Salman and action films do well, and countries where Eid is a major holiday. America got left behind (which is what drove the overall global figures down) because Eid isn’t as big a holiday for us thanks to immigration patterns, and because Salman and action just aren’t our cup of tea. Along with America’s increasing hatred of movie theaters for reasons I can’t follow. The curse of reliable cheap internet? But the UK, Malaysia, Germany, places where Eid is a big big deal, the film definitely benefited. And of course just any Hindi film wouldn’t release big in Malaysia or Germany, it needs a recognizable brand up front, the Salman Khan name and magic to carry it.
I am only reporting the global figures of record, the ones reported and recorded by Renttrack and repeated by BollywoodHungama. Thanks to my lovely international commentators, I also know Bharat was playing in Italy (for instance) and I don’t have those figures. And of course the UAE is a major game changer, and I don’t have those numbers either. Based on what we do have, it looks like the traditional major market of America is continuing to drift ever further away from movies in theaters. But Indian film is compensating by using the big releases and big names to try to break into new markets as needed.
The other good news (for those of us who like quality movies) is that the newest X-men film, which generally got bad reviews (even from American reviewers who, unlike Indian reviewers, actually like and understand the artform they are reviewing), landed terribly worldwide. In India, it is being phrased as Bharat chasing it out, but looking at the global figures, it seems more like it was just a bad movie that people didn’t want to watch. So, Yaaay for Bharat! Giving the people of the world a decent alternative to a lazy film. And YAAAY for the Indian audience! Picking the higher quality more original and entertaining picture over the lazy unimaginative one, even if it comes with the Hollywood gloss that they are being trained to think of as “better”.