Bollywood star Aamir Khan has outdone himself, just about. His current release, the Rajkumar Hirani-directed comedy/drama PK, has become the highest-grossing foreign-language film of 2014 in North America with a cume to date of $7.91M after two frames. That sets it just below his mega-hit last December, Dhoom 3, which ultimately earned a touch over $8M at the North American box office — but PK could be on track to pass that. After opening last weekend to the biggest Bollywood bow of all time in North America with $3.57M at 272 locations, the UTV-released PK parlayed that into a $6.16M first week and added $1.75M this weekend at 264 dates. In a case of turnabout-is-fair-play, PK just leapfrogged Mexico’s Cantinflas, which was the foreign-language title holder before this weekend with $6.38M. Last year, it was Mexico’s Instructions Not Included which widely ended up the biggest foreign language title in North America, while Dhoom 3 came in 2nd.
PK now has an estimated cume in India of $51.6M and an overseas total of $17.8M (including North America). If the $51.6M cume at home holds after actuals are reported, and not taking currency fluctuations into account, that would catapult PK to the status of biggest Bollywood movie of all time at 327.6 crore — well beyond Dhoom 3‘s 284.27 crore, which at today’s exchange rate would equal $44.8M. It would also be the first time a Bollywood movie passes the 300 crore benchmark.
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. There’s some controversy in India from religious groups against the film, but that hasn’t seemed to have dented box office at all.
It’s been a couple of very strong years for Bollywood globally including 2014’s Salman Khan-starrer Kick; Fox’s Hrithik Roshan vehicle, and Knight & Day remake, Bang Bang; and Shah Rukh Khan’s Happy New Year. When PK kicked off last week, it entered the North American Top 10 at No. 9 becoming the third Bollywood title to do so in recent memory, following Dhoom 3 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, both last year.