Ayan Mukerji’s Bollywood action fantasy “Brahmastra Part One: Shiva” was one of the leading films at the global box office over the weekend, grossing $28.2 million, according to its producers, Disney’s Star Studios India and Dharma Productions.
The film released in India across 5,019 screens and debuted at No. 1 with a three-day weekend of $18.9 million. The film’s overseas screen count was 3,894.
In the U.S., where the film is distributed by Disney, it released in 810 theaters and debuted at No. 2 with $4.4 million.
However, the film needs to sustain its momentum to break even, with its budget approximately $51 million.
“Brahmāstra: Part One,” the first of a planned trilogy, takes place in modern-day India and follows Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor) — a young man on the brink of an epic love, with a girl named Isha (Alia Bhatt). But their world is turned upside down when Shiva learns that he has a mysterious connection to a secret society called Brahmānsh.
In Variety’s review, Courtney Howard called the movie “special and innovative,” as well as a “wildly entertaining jump start to a planned trilogy – touted as Bollywood’s first original cinematic universe, the ‘Astraverse.’”
The film was released in 2D, 3D and Imax 3D in the Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada languages. The cast also includes Amitabh Bachchan, Mouni Roy and Nagarjuna Akkineni.
Mukerji said: “I am extremely indebted to all the audiences in India and International, who have showered their love and support to ‘Brahmāstra.’ Their positive energy and their faith in me and my team, has made our ‘Brahmāstra’ journey truly exciting, emotional and magical. The opening weekend response has made me very grateful for all the blessings given to me, and I hope the audiences continue to embrace the film for the weeks to come.”
Should “Brahmāstra” continue its strong box office run, it will come as a much needed relief for Bollywood, India’s Hindi-language film industry, with only three films emerging as hits in 2022 so far – Vivek Agnihotri’s “The Kashmir Files,” which made $43 million, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Gangubai Kathiawadi” (starring Bhatt) that collected $26.5 million and “Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2,” starring Kartik Aaryan and Tabu, which grossed $33.5 million.
Bollywood films that were expected to score big time in 2022, underperformed. These include “Forrest Gump” remake “Laal Singh Chaddha,” starring Aamir Khan, which was made on a budget of approximately $22 million and collected $16 million; “Shamshera,” starring Kapoor, produced for approximately $18 million and grossed $8 million; and “Raksha Bandhan,” headlined by Akshay Kumar, made on a budget of approximately $9 million and grossed $7.7 million.
On the other hand, a handful of Indian films made in South Indian languages, rather than Hindi, the language of the Mumbai-based Bollywood sector, have made a mark.
S.S. Rajamouli’s Telugu-language “RRR,” starring Ram Charan and NTR Jr, and Prashant Neel’s Kannada-language “K.G.F: Chapter 2,” starring Yash, were hits in their Hindi-dubbed versions as well. “K.G.F: Chapter 2” released in Kannada with dubbed Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam-language versions and grossed $160 million, while “RRR” also released in those languages and made $150 million. Tamil-language “Vikram,” starring Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil, collected $63 million from its combined original and dubbed versions.
However, these films were made with large budgets by Indian standards. “RRR” was produced on a budget of approximately $73 million. “Vikram” cost $18 million and “K.G.F: Chapter 2” some $13 million.
South Indian films that were produced on more normal budgets that scored at the box office include Tamil-language “Thiruchitrambalam,” starring Dhanush, which was made for approximately $3.7 million and grossed $14 million; Telugu-language “Karthikeya 2,” made for $3 million and collected $15 million: and Malayalam-language “Bheeshma Parvam,” which cost approximately $1.8 million and grossed $13 million.