Bollywood star Aamir Khan has officially outdone himself. His holiday season release PK already held the record for the biggest-ever North American bow of a Bollywood film, and as of last weekend was the market’s top foreign-language title of 2014. At the end of its second week, the Rajkumar Hirani-directed comedy/drama has become the highest-grossing Bollywood movie ever in North America with $9.15M, and in Australia at $1.9M. Meanwhile, at home in India, it is now the No. 1 release of all time with $65.2M. The global cume to date is $86.2M.
Since going out day-and-date on December 19 courtesy of Disney-owned UTV, PK has steadily beaten records previously set by Aamir Khan’s 2013 megahit Dhoom 3. Its opening in India was $21M, besting Dhoom 3’s $17.64M locally. Its North American bow of $3.57M outperformed Dhoom 3’s $3.44M. And, its current North American cume of $9.15M sits above Dhoom 3’s final tally of about $8M. For it to beat Dhoom 3’s final worldwide gross, PK would have to reach $89M. It’s still got a clear run for the next several days at home — until Tevar with Arjun Kapoor lands on January 9 — so it wouldn’t be a surprise for it to pass the milestone.
Khan, one of Bollywood’s biggest names, is known for blockbusters like 3 Iditos and Dhoom 3, and also produced and starred in 2001 Foreign Language Oscar nominee Lagaan. Anushka Sharma, next up in Anurag Kashyap’s Fox Star Studios-produced Bombay Velvet, also stars in PK. The story sees Khan as an alien who lands in the Rajasthan desert with a mission to study life on Earth. When the device that allows him to communicate with his spaceship is stolen, he sets out to find it while attempting to blend in. Ultimately, he heads to Delhi where the fish-out-of-water asks innocent questions that hold a deep and valuable meaning about the belief system that humans have created to reach God. The film has stirred up some controversy over its faith-based elements, but that clearly hasn’t dented box office.
After a strong year for Bollywood films around the globe, 2015 is shaping up with some exciting looking titles. They include drama Piku with Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan and Deepika Padukone; Bombay Velvet, which I expect to see as part of the Cannes selection; Salman Khan in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo; and Shah Rukh Khan in Fan. However, the 2015 Christmas corridor currently has no Aamir Khan title slated. Instead, the frame for the moment belongs to Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh in Bajirao Mastani, and Padukone again, with Ranbir Kapoor, in Tamasha.