Dharma Productions, Lionsgate, Endemol India and Fox Star Studios are teamed on Brothers, the Bollywood remake of Gavin O’Connor’s 2011 Oscar-nominated sports drama Warrior which starred Tom Hardy. Produced by Karan Johar, directed by Karan Malhotra and starring Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra (My Name Is Khan) and Jacqueline Fernandez (Kick), this is teed up to be one of the Bollywood blockbusters of the summer. The trailer (see above) garnered nearly 2M views in less than 24 hours.
Kumar, who’s known as “the Jackie Chan of Bollywood” for his action and stunt prowess, is one of the industry’s top-grossing actors with commercial and critical hits behind him that include Namastey London, Singh Is Kinng, Housefull 1 & 2 (with Fernandez), and the No. 2 and 3 top grossers of the year, Baby and Gabbar Is Back (Avengers: Age Of Ultron is No. 5 in this market that loves its homegrown fare). Kumar also had a notable cameo in Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om and was the Hindi voice of Optimus Prime in the dubbed version of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. His films have been hugely popular abroad, putting him in the company of Bollywood behemoths Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, and Hrithik Roshan.
Brothers releases day-and-date in India, North America, the UK, the UAE, and other markets on August 14, kicking off India’s Independence Day celebrations. It’s the first film in a nine-picture deal between Dharma and Fox Star.
Expectations are high, especially with Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan having been delayed — it was originally scheduled for Independence Day but stepped off when extra VFX were required, making room for Brothers. As readers of my Bollywood coverage know, holidays in India are roundly staked out by the biggest names in the business. SRK’s Diwale, directed by Rohit Shetty, will be his next major release on December 25. The reigning King of Christmas, Aamir Khan (PK, Dhoom 3), does not currently have a film set for that holiday. Before Brothers enters the ring in August, recently-bailed Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan will lay claim to the Eid-al-fitr holiday in mid-July.
These pictures will all see significant overseas releases in a year that hasn’t yet had a massive hit. Nevertheless, there have been solid North American performances for a handful of titles — which are interestingly led by the female stars of India. Tanu Weds Manu Returns, starring Kangana Ranaut, is currently the biggest U.S. grosser in the mix with about $2.7M; followed by Piku with Deepika Padukone and Jurassic World‘s Irrfan Khan, at about $2.2M; Dil Dhadakne Do with Priyanka Chopra (Krrish 3) and Anushka Sharma (PK) recently released at $1.13M. In 4th place is Kumar’s Gabbar Is Back with about $600K. That film co-stars Karina Kapoor who’s also in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and appears in song for Brothers. Last summer’s Independence Day pic was Singham Returns from director Rohit Shetty and starring Kapoor and Ajay Devgn, grossing about $1.2M in the U.S.
Brothers could go a different route and follow the path of last year’s Bang Bang, a remake of Fox’s Knight & Day, which grossed over $40M worldwide when it was released in October. Check it out above.