UPDATE, 12:11 PM PT MONDAY: The numbers not only held, they were markedly increased for Aamir Khan-starrer PK in North America, scoring the biggest Bollywood opening of all time with a confirmed $3.57M at 272 locations. That bests Khan’s Dhoom 3 which released to $3.44M in the same corridor last December. Disney’s UTV, which is distributing the film, says the three-day take for the day-and-date release in India was $21M. That also bests Dhoom 3 last year which opened to $17.64M locally. Other international markets on PK, including the UK, Pakistan, the Netherlands and more, scored $4.27M in their openings. The global cume of PK over the weekend thus stands at $28.84M. There’s some controversy in India from religious groups against the film which poses questions about belief systems, but that hasn’t seemed to dent box office. PK is now the second biggest opener of 2014, behind Shah Rukh Khan’s Happy New Year which just today was made available to worldwide audiences online.
PREVIOUS, 1 PM PT SUNDAY: After several strong global releases this year, including Kick with Salman Khan, Bang Bang with Hrithik Roshan and Happy New Year with Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood served up Aamir Khan in comedy/drama PK this weekend (see trailer above). Going out day-and-date in 22 markets – including India, North America and the UK – it released on about 5,000 screens at home and more than 800 overseas.
The total take excluding North America was $22.13M for the frame, says distributor UTV. An estimated $3.46M debut at 272 locations in North America will see it score the biggest Bollywood opening of all time if the numbers hold when the actuals come in this week – it’s that close. The one to beat is 2013’s Dhoom 3 which bowed to $3.44M last December – and also starred Aamir Khan. This frame, PK entered the domestic Top 10 (at No. 10) becoming the third Bollywood title to do so in recent memory, following Dhoom 3 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, both last year. Dhoom 3 topped out at about $8M in North America with a worldwide gross of about $89M.
While we do not have a market-by-market breakdown outside North America, local reports say the Friday/Saturday India gross was 57 crores ($9M). There has been media speculation it would top the 90 crore ($14.27M) mark when the three-day is tallied. That would set it above Kick‘s debut earlier this year, but could place it below Bang Bang and Happy New Year with the latter holding claim to the biggest opening weekend ever at home. PK had the seventh-best opening day of all time locally with 26.63 crores ($4.22M), giving Aamir Khan his second-best bow ever in India. Last year’s Dhoom 3 remains the actor’s best one-day grosser to date with 36.22 crores ($5.74M); the film went on to a $17.64M opening weekend.
Aamir Khan is one of Bollywood’s biggest names, having led such massive hits as 3 Iditos and Dhoom 3 — he 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. Helmed by Rajkumar Hirani, who also directed 3 Idiots, PK is released by Disney’s UTV.
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, says Bollywood Hungama. Sharma becomes his guide as the titular alien challenges some of the oldest rituals of religion. The film has stirred up a small controversy over the faith-based issues, but that doesn’t appear to have affected box office.
PK looks to have a clear run for the next several weeks at home and I’ll update figures as they become available.