Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SRK sells in the US: crunching numbers for My Name is Khan, Ra.One, Don 2, Jab Tak Hai Jaan

In a game of pure numbers, Don
2 clearly comes out on top.
UPDATE, October 2012: The following post was written in January 2012 after Don 2's opening in December. For comparison purposes, here are the numbers for Jab Tak Hai Jaan: 161 theater opening, $1.3 million opening weekend. That puts it behind Ra.One in terms of opening theaters but ahead of Don 2 and My Name is Khan. It had a larger opening weekend than Bodyguard ($800,000) or Ra.One ($400,000) but a smaller one than My Name is Khan ($1.9M) or Don 2 ($1.7M).

After reading earlier today that Don 2 was faring well overseas, including the U.S., I decided to look at some of the details. Now this is sort of like the breakdown I did for the newspaper blog in September on the summer’s Bollywood releases, looking at U.S.-kept box office statistics on wideness of release, opening weekend gross and life-to-date gross of SRK films.

In that breakdown, I found that the most widely released (in the U.S.) Bollywood film of the summer was Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara at 100 theaters.

I also found that, “The Bollywood film that holds the record for the widest U.S. debut is My Name is Khan with 120 theaters, and even the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time, 3 Idiots, debuted in only 119 theaters, though it eventually made its way into 156 theaters. 
A marketing executive involved with Ra.One told Toronto.com that the film hoped to open at a record-shattering 400 theaters in the U.S.”

Here’s the reality check: Ra.One opened at 189 theaters in the U.S. and was in that many theaters at its peak. That was, yes, a record-breaker and record-setter. It grossed $2.5 million in the U.S. (see further below for some non-U.S. stats) in its five-week run. U.S. opening weekend data for Ra.One isn’t available.

The previous theater record was MNIK at 120. It reached 125 theaters at its peak. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $1.9 million in the U.S., earning it the No. 13 spot on the charts for that weekend.  During its entire 12-week run, it grossed $4 million, the record for an Indian film in the U.S. (ignoring some multi-country productions such as Monsoon Wedding).

To interrupt the flow of SRK films briefly, let’s hop over to Bodyguard, which broke many opening collections in Bollywood. Bodyguard opened at and stayed at 88 theaters. It collected $800,000 in its opening weekend and $1.8 million total.

Now let’s come back to SRK and Don 2. In its opening weekend, Don 2 grossed $1.7 million. That was good enough to make Don 2 the No. 12 movie of the weekend in the U.S. and the No. 6 new release of the weekend. It opened at 157 theaters and made it to 167 at its peak (thus far). In the three weeks since its release, Don 2 has already earned $3.7 million. *

So, what does all of that mean? Mostly it highlights Ra.One’s failure in the U.S. And Don 2’s success.

Ra.One opened in significantly more theaters than the previous record, MNIK, which had already beat out 3 Idiots. BUT so did Don 2, which had much less hype and marketing.

The number of theaters playing Don 2 grew while Ra.One didn’t. More theaters also added Don 2 than added MNIK.

Don 2 earned in two weeks what Ra.One earned in five...with 30 fewer theaters.

Opening-weekend collections alone for MNIK and Don 2 were more than half Ra.One’s complete total.

Ra.One was made to sell in the U.S. Don 2 sold better.

Still...Ra.One earned $700,000 more than Bodyguard.

MNIK earned more in its opening weekend than Bodyguard did total. Don 2 nearly did the same.

If Don 2 had kept its pace...it could have passed MNIK’s earnings within a fraction of the time. *

As Bodyguard is the highest-earning Salman film that I can find, SRK sells significantly better in the U.S. than Sallu. (I’ve commented before on how I think that Salman is India’s best-selling and perhaps best-loved Khan domestically while Shahrukh is clearly the best-selling and perhaps best-loved Khan abroad. Aamir is much harder to gauge. 3 Idiots did very well, of course; his other big grosser, Ghajini, did about the same as Ra.One but with a terrible opening weekend.)

Now, here are a couple of other interesting tidbits that I could find about these SRK releases in countries other than India and the U.S.

MNIK grossed huge around the world for Bollywood ($38 million). Its top countries besides India and the U.S. were the U.K., South Korea and the U.A.E., in that order.

Complete Ra.One overseas collections are listed at $33 million with no detailed breakdown like MNIK. However, the countries displayed only add up to $2.9 million.

Don 2, in less time, has earned $3.1 million in the five listed countries.

All numbers are from Box Office Mojo.

* Note: At four weeks, Don 2's collections were updated still in the $3.7 million range, meaning they slowed from previous weeks.

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