The regional underdogs have arrived. Telugu sci-fi thriller Eega, which opened on July 6, has recorded the highest screen average at the American box office over the weekend, overtaking not only Bollywood biggie Bol Bachchan (that also released on July 6) but also all other films in the US. Close on its heels is Punjabi flick, Jatt & Juliet, that on a modest budget of Rs 2.5 cr earned Rs 12.8cr in its first 10 days.
“A film like Eega is path breaking to surpass all films in US, including Hollywood. These figures show how superiorly talented Telugu and Tamil cinema is,” says trade expert Taran Adarsh.
The film’s director S S Rajamouli tweeted: “I can’t believe this… ?#eega? per screen avg. $17,387 is more than Spiderman $14,500 UNBELIEVABLE.”
Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma is as amazed. “I think ‘Eega’ will b first film to start the 100 crore club in Telugu industry,” he tweeted. The film is set to become one of the biggest grossers nationwide, like Robot. It’ll reportedly be dubbed and released as ‘Makhi’ in Hindi by year-end.
Jatt & Juliet, too, has had 100% occupancy since its release, and both films have been getting primetime slots in multiplexes. “Seeing the great response, we plan to run it longer,” says Anant Verma of DT Cinemas. “Regional movies are doing well as there is a huge population of regional language speaking audience living in the metros and abroad. Indian cinema doesn’t mean only Hindi any more,” says Rahul Singh of PVR Cinemas.
Eega’s opening weekend figure was Rs 34 crore even though it was released in only 1,200 screens in India, while Bol Bachchan, which opened in 2,600 screens, managed only R43 crore
Jatt & Juliet: Made on a modest budget of Rs 2.5 crore, the film netted an impressive Rs 12.8 crore worldwide.
Jatt & Juliet
Directed by Anurag Singh, this Punjabi romcom takes you through the lives of a roguish Punjabi jatt and a modern kudi who hate each other initially, but gradually develop a close bond that culminates in love.
A Telugu sci-fi extravaganza, the film, directed by S S Rajamouli, is about the protagonist who gets killed by a character played by well-known Kannada actor Sudeep. After this, he takes rebirth as a housefly to take revenge on the villain in his reincarnated form.