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September 2, 1999
Baadshah Fails To Dance to Taal Numbers
Aseem Chhabra in New York
Shahrukh Khan's Baadshah performed rather poorly in the North American market in its opening weekend signaling the fact that the quality of a film is far more important than the star appeal of its lead actor.
Baadshah, an action comedy, released by Eros Entertainment on Friday, August 27, earned approximately $ 263,000 in the first three days. The movie could end up grossing about $ 600,000 a big gross for, say a Govinda movie, but disappointing for a highly hyped Shahrukh starrer.
With Arjun Pandit not shaping into a significant contender, and Baadshah turning out disappointing fans, and Taal on its last legs, the desi video stores are having a brisk business
According to the Hollywood trade publication, Daily Variety, the film directed by the Abbas-Mustan team was the 29th most popular film in North America during its opening weekend. While the 29th position sounds impressive, it should be noted that Subhash Ghai's Taal (also an Eros release) ranked 20th in its opening weekend with approximately $ 600,000 in gross revenue and a huge per screen average of $ 13,438.
Eros gave both Taal and Baadshah, big openings. Both film showed on 44 screens in the first weekend. However, unlike Taal, Baadshah's opening weekend per screen average was $ 6,264.
A close watcher of Hindi film trends in the US suggested that Baadshah's weak performance could be attributable to its poor story line. Twinkle Khanna was not an asset either.
Several moviegoers said it was too much of a challenge to Shahrukh Khan. In addition, Ghai's Taal is still showing strength and maybe the Hindi film market in the US is not ready to support two major films at the same time.
In the 17 days since its opening, Taal has already earned over $ 1.4 million. In the current weekend its box office receipts fell by 50%, but the film still generated $ 181,000. For the weekend, Taal was ranked 37th among the movies showing in the US. The 38th ranked movie was Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. During the weekend, Eyes Wide Shut made $ 30,000 less than Taal.
With the first week's box-office reports, there was speculation that Taal may breeze past the $ 2 million benchmark for a desi film. But with the current rate of attrition, it could gross about a very impressive $ 1.6 million.
In the United Kingdom where the movie was No 10 in the opening week, it has grossed about $ 500,000, and is expected to make another $ 100,000. In all, Taal could gross about $ 2.2 million from North America and the United Kingdom alone.
Taal, with $ 1.6 million, could become the highest grossing desi film of the year, followed closely by Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The latter's success is, however, unique it did not have the name recognition as in the case of Taal, and hardly anyone had heard of composer Ismail Darbar. But the word of mouth was so strong on the opening day, Hum grossed about half a million dollars in the first three days. And the demand for its music cassettes began soaring in the first week itself.
Arthur J Pais contributed to the story.
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