Salman Khan’s ‘Sultan’ Storms Bollywood, Offshore Box Office; Sets Multiple Records – Update

Yash Raj

UPDATED, 9:55 AM PT: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s every film seems to become an even bigger event than the last in a market that is 90% skewed to local fare. In India this week, folks are referring to “Salmania” as Khan’s latest, Sultan, has been embraced by critics and is throwing off unprecedented numbers. I reported below on initial numbers coming out of India and overseas, and Yash Raj Films now has come through with confirmed figures and even more records set.

Sultan began its international rollout on Wednesday in India and some 50 day-and-date markets. The India total stands (as below) at 180.36 crore net ($27.1M). While box office generally is reported in gross numbers, India takes a different tack, with the standard being a net sum which is tallied after an entertainment tax. The scores reported earlier below are net. If we look at Sultan in gross terms, the Indian total rises to 252.2 crore or $37.7M.

Offshore, the updated numbers from producer-distributor Yash Raj show a total $13.7M. In gross box office that becomes a $51.4M weekend, which would make Sultan far and away the No. 1 movie in international markets this frame, besting China’s Cold War II, which had a $44M start. Taking the net number from India (which is the one that Deadline typically uses), the total is $40.8M for the No. 2 slot internationally.

Khan continued to break records in India this weekend. Added to those I cited below, Yash Raj has provided a staggering list of all-time milestones. To wit: Sultan has the highest advance booking ever, the biggest pre-Eid opening day box office, is the fastest to cross 150 and 175 net crore (five days), boasts the biggest opening in Yash Raj history and is first movie to gross 345 crore worldwide on an opening weekend.

Outside India, Sultan set the biggest opening day and weekend ever for Bollywood in the UAE-GCC and the fastest to $5M (five days). Pakistan likewise saw the biggest opening day and weekend ever and a speed record to $1M (three days). The UK and Ireland had the top opening day and weekend ever, and Australia and New Zealand also set debut weekend records.

The film will enter the Top 10 ever among Bollywood net titles today, and as Salmania continues, is expected to have a strong ongoing run.

PREVIOUS, 6:18 AM PT: Salman Khan cemented his status as a titan of Bollywood this weekend with Sultan setting new benchmarks in its release in India and elsewhere. Falling on the Eid holiday which has become synonymous with Khan, Sultan made 180.36 crore ($27.1M) on about 4,000 screens in India, per local estimates. That sets a new all-time opening weekend record for Bollywood and far outdistances the No. 2 film, Khan’s own Prem Ratan Dhan Payo from 2015. It’s not exactly apples-to-apples as PRDP bowed on a Thursday and Sultan had a Wed-Sun debut. However, even if we stripped Sultan of the Wednesday gross, the film still largely overtakes PRDP‘s first frame of 129.77 crore last year. Khan now has four films in the Top 10 all-time openers; more than any of his contemporaries.

In 15 global markets tracked by comScore, the total on the Yash Raj Films title for the FSS was $20.4M with a $32.23M cume across the 5-day. It’s not often a Bollywood movie enters the top ranks on an international weekend, particularly one very dominated by Chinese and studio fare. But Khan was absent from screens for the past nine months and thus Sultan became an event for fans which landed it squarely in the Top 10 this week.

Outside India, the UAE and GCC countries scored the biggest haul at 25.17 crore ($3.8M). In North America, Sultan set a 2016 record for Bollywood with $2.22M in the 3-day and $3.23M for the 5-day — besting the lifetime’s of all Hindi releases this year in its first frame.

Back at home, rushing past the 100 crore mark — a coveted local milestone — in just three days in India, Khan bested his own record for the most films to achieve the number. He now has 10 to his name. Sultan has also already become the top Bollywood film of the year in the market, handily passing Airlift which released in January and went on to gross 129 crore. It is expected to enter the Top 10 of all time Hindi films at the Bollywood box office today which would give Khan five total, per Bollywood Hungama.

The Sultan opening on Wednesday was the biggest of the year for Bollywood, the 2nd best of Khan’s career and the 3rd ever for a Hindi film. Over the first four days of a five-day frame, Sultan grossed over 30 crore per day, a first for the market. Sunday was the biggest day for the Ali Abbas Zafar-directed wrestling drama at 38.21 crore.

The only major new film in India was The Secret Life Of Pets which scored $488K to rank as the top international opener. Disney currently holds the record for the biggest Hollywood movie ever there with The Jungle Book at $39M from earlier this year.

Bollywood pundits expect Sultan, which has an essentially unfettered run ahead of it, will cross 200 crore in the next few days. To best Khan’s biggest-ever film, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, it would have to see Salmania continue apace and pass 320.34 crore. The all-time record holder is Aamir Khan’s PK which is just above Bajrangi with 340.8 crore.

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