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September 28, 1999
Dil Kya Kare Leaves Many Hearts Cold
A P Kamath in New York
The heavily promoted drama, Dil Kya Kare, starring Ajay Devgan, Kajol and Mahima, isn't winning many hearts across America. It took a respectable but unexciting $ 189,000 from 35 sites for an $ 5,392 average during its first weekend. Unless the collections pick up in the second week -- which seldom happens in North America -- the movie could end up with about $ 600,000.
Given the disappointing run of Hello Brother and Baadshah in recent weeks, exhibitors and theater-owners are further demoralized by the mild reception to Dil Kya Kare.
On the other hand, Subhash Ghai's Taal came to an inch of a $ 2 million gross in North America in its sixth week. It has grossed about $ 900,000 in England. It is easily expected to reach the $ 3 million mark in North America and England by the second week of October.
In its sixth week in North America, its distributors, Eros, showed it on 39 screens. Of course, the number of shows had been reduced. But with a pleasing $ 2,567 screen average in North America, the film has strong legs, and is expected to have a long screen life in ancillary markets. A final $ 3.25 million gross in North America and England seems a reasonable expectation.
In Japan, Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth is getting royal treatment. With about $ 11 million in the treasury, the historic film is destined for a $ 15 million gross. According to trade insiders, the movie nominated for major Oscars, was released in Japan months after its American and European run because it was felt a very British film about the intrigues in its royal court would not have much appeal to the Japanese. But now, the experts say yet another myth is destroyed.
In Hong Kong, where the film is in its second week, it has made a decent $ 150,000.
In another development, Elizabeth finds a place among the top hundred British pictures. Very few recent films have found a place on the list led by Sir Carol Reed's classic The Third Man based on a story by Graham Greene and starring Orson Welles.
Elizabeth was 71 on the list, but handily beaten by rival era film, Shakespeare in Love. At the box-office, Shakespeare made about $ 250 million while Elizabeth made about $ 75 million including the good returns from a late Japanese opening. At the Oscars, Shakespeare took the major prizes; Kapur's film won just one award.
The list, announced by the British Film Institute last week, was based on votes cast by 1,000 people, from creative talent to distributors, critics, exhibitors, distributors -- and politicians known for their passion for cinema.
Manoj Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, which grossed $ 8.3 million in America and was the third highest grossing film last week with $ 225 million in the till, is performing strongly in a handful of markets where it opened last week. It has grossed about $ 7 million in two weeks in such territories as Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
Deepa Mehta's Earth, while performing better than her earlier film, Fire, is going steady at the box-office, but is yet to build a momentum that would make it a big art house hit. During its two-week run, it grossed about $ 121,000 in North America, with a reasonably good $ 6,395 average. It took a modest $ 77,000 in England during its opening week.
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