Bollywood superstar Salman Khan is about to make a comeback of sorts when his latest film, Kick, opens worldwide on July 25. That’s the Friday that falls just ahead of the beginning of the Eid al Fitr holiday, generally one of the most profitable periods for Bollywood titles locally and abroad. Beginning in 2008, films toplined by Khan staked a claim on Eid which celebrates the end of Ramadan. They have included big hits Wanted, Dabaang, Bodyguard and Ek Tha Tiger — the latter the 4th highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time worldwide. But in 2013, it was rival Shah Rukh Khan‘s romancer Chennai Express that grabbed the Eid date and went on to leave a trail of broken records behind it. (Both Chennai and Kick hail from distributor UTV Motion Pictures in which Disney has a strategic stake.) With the recent success of Bollywood films abroad, Kick is set up to do strong business this weekend. (See trailer below.)
Some history: In June 2013, Yeh Jawaani Hai Dawaani, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone auspiciously broke into the North American Top 10 on its first weekend with an opening gross of $1.3M. Then Chennai, also starring Padukone, debuted last August in North America and became the biggest Bollywood opener of all time, besting Shah Rukh Khan’s own 2010 My Name Is Khan, with $2.225M on 196 screens (at home Rohit Shetty’s love story cum road movie became the fastest local film ever to break the 1B rupee mark, earning $17.07M in four days at the time.) And, in December, actioner Dhoom 3 set a new record for biggest opening weekend of a Bollywood film ever in North America with $3.3M.
Kick, which hits India, the U.S., the UK and France on Friday, mixes action and romance and sees Khan as a man whose desire is to live life to the full and get a ‘kick’ out of every opportunity that comes his way. Khan’s character Devil is an adrenaline junkie who is addicted to risk, but his many misguided and miscreant acts culminate in him becoming a thief, playing cat-and-mouse with the police and landing him in a turf war with a local gangster. All the while, he romances Sri Lankan actress Jacqueline Fernandez in the Sajid Nadiadwala directed film.
There’s a lot of heat on Kick, with the official trailer scoring 4M hits in 38 hours. But I’m cautioned that it may not reach the North American heights of Chennai Express because Shah Rukh Khan “is a much more bankable box office draw than Salman… But in India, it will be closer.” (The two are reportedly set to duke it out on Eid next year with films going head-to-head). One record Salman Khan’s film looks set to break is that of longest chase sequence. Shah Rukh Khan currently holds that mantle from his 1993 film Darr, and word out of India is that Kick is ready to beat that. Based on the trailer below, here’s what legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted to his 9.31M followers: “Did you see the trailer of ‘KICK’..baaadooom !! Compares with anything that the other ‘wood’ brings out from their high end films !” See for yourself: