Mainstream audiences across America and the United Kingdom have rejected Kites:The Remix despite a handful of strong reviews especially from Los Angeles Times.
The streamlined version of Kites, which is about 90 minutes long (the original was 130 minutes), and presented by Brett Ratner, one of the most successful of Hollywood directors, has grossed a pathetic $40,000 at 40 American locations in the entire week. In the UK too the Remix was a thud.
The Remix was released a week after the original Kites opened to enthusiastic reviews from major publications ranging from The New York Times to Village Voice to San Francisco Chronicle.
'Even with the lights of the Vegas strip forming a gauzy halo behind his tousled head, Roshan is a master at low-keying his enormous charm and shrugging off his blinding handsomeness,' wrote the Voice. '(Barbara) Mori, a Mexican telenovela star, is almost a match for him: She's a dead ringer for Megan Fox (Jennifer's Body) but warmer, less calculating in her sexiness. Not even the incoherent mish-mash of plot (mostly faux Sergio Leone by way of Tarantino and Rodriguez, with periodic car-flipping chase sequences) can entirely dim the appeal of this match-up between a blue-eyed Punjabi and a blue-eyed Mexican of almost equal comeliness.'
Ratner, one of the most expensive directors in Hollywood who can easily get over $5 million (plus profit sharing) per film, worked on the Remix free because he wants to consolidate his relationship with Reliance, he said.
Reliance, which distributed Kites worldwide, is emerging in Hollywood not only as a partner of Steven Spielberg but also a producer of over a dozen projects involving some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
The Ratner version drew some praise from a handful of American publications though distributor Reliance had not held screenings for critics.
'Director Brett Ratner, who cemented his success with the Rush Hour trilogy, has taken Anurag Basu's entertaining Bollywood extravaganza Kites... and reworked it .... to make it more appealing to wider audiences,' wrote Kevin Thomas in Los Angles Times, 'and has succeeded admirably without destroying the heart and soul of the original.'
He added: 'Superbly reedited and with composer Graeme Revell revving up Rajesh Roshan's splendid original score, The Remix is clearer, leaner, hipper and punchier, and its love story all the more poignant for it.'
Most of the American reviews had concentrated on the original version directed by Anurag Basu.
But some caught up with the Remix a day after it opened. The LA Times had one solid complaint against The Remix.
'One of Jay's (Hritik Roshan) various gigs is teaching dance, which allows a deft segue into a dance sequence in the original that shows off Roshan's sensational terpsichorean skills,' it added. 'It's a delightful sequence but understandable that Ratner cut it for the more Americanized version.'
With the dismal first week showings for The Remix, there is little chance it will add more theatres.
Meanwhile, Kites has grossed a decent $1.6 million in two weeks, and could end its run with nearly $2 million. Had the film done very good business in India, the $2 million North American gross would have helped the film with a budget of $20 million to break even, or make a small profit. The movie grossed worldwide about $18 million in its first week but suffered a steep fall in the second.
The failure of Kites:The Remix follows the debacle of the director's cut of My Name Is Khan which was reedited for the mainstream audiences.
Released a few weeks ago in just two theaters, it grossed less than $10,000 and distributor Fox Searchlight abandoned expansion plans for the film.
But at least the original edition of the film was a huge hit, grossing worldwide nearly $40 million. Kites, a more expensive film, would be lucky to gross half the gross of MNIK