As last year's "Dhoom 3" showed, Bollywood movies in North America are more than something an exhibitor tosses into screen #22 when he has nothing else to play. That film tallied more than $8 million, making it the highest grossing Hindi title ever Stateside. And although Bollywood film penetration in North America is limited to 100-200 theatres, the genre is a mainstay for many of those areas.. These types of films are heavily reliant upon star power and also on the film's soundtrack to the point where a synopsis is often that last thing that Bollywood exhibitors are interested in. It's almost exclusively about who's in the film and tracking how a film's songs are being received online.
Shah Rukh Khan is considered the biggest star in Hindi film. His movies have accounted for many of the highest grossing blockbusters of all time in Indian cinema and "Happy New Year" featuring Khan and famed Indian actor Abishek Bachchan, looks to be one of the biggest titles on the horizon for this coming year. A release date hasn't been set at this point but it looks to be somewhere in October. The film's pairing of two of the biggest actors in Hindi film is irresistible.
One thing that should be noted at this point is that Bollywood films are often referred to as the land of the Khans. Khan #2 is Saif Ali Khan and he stars in "Humshakals", which is being distributed by Fox on June 20th. The company also has "Finding Fanny", with Arjun Kapoor, in their stable on September 12th.
Khan #3 is Salman Khan, whose films tend to be a bit more inconsistent than the other members of the group, but this summer's "Kick", due July 27th figures to benefit from its star power as well as a lull at the Hindi boxoffice, due to this summer's World Cup. Ranbir Kapoor, who made his debut in Sony's "Saawariyaa", has carved himself out a nice little career, thank you, and his "Roy" comes out September 12th against the aforementioned "Finding Fanny".
November and December are always peak Bollywood playtimes and this year is no different. "Bombay Velvet" opens November 28th, Anil Kapoor and John Abraham star in "Welcome Back" on December 19 and the monster Hindi film for the end of the year is "P.K." with Aamir Khan (whose films are invariably released during this playtime and he forced the film's distributor to move the film from June to Christmas) as well as India's most controversial actor, Sanjay Dutt. Dutt was incarcerated in the 1990's for his association with the Mumbai blasts.
Check back with Box Office Insider for updated Bollywood releases schedules and analysis.