In a return to the Christmas frame after sitting out 2015, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan has scored his best worldwide opening with Dangal. The sports biopic grossed $31.2M across India, North America and other international markets this weekend. That tops the $28.8M start for Khan’s PK in 2014. That film went on to become Bollywood’s biggest worldwide grosser at about $100M. In North America, Dangal set a record for the biggest Bollywood opening frame ever at $4.3M over the five-day launch, with daily bumps from Wednesday through Sunday on 331 screens. The cume there with Monday factored in is $5.13M.
The India opening was $21.9M, per distributor UTV. Those are understood to be gross figures whereas in India the standard is to calculate a net sum, which is tallied after an entertainment tax. Local reporting has Dangal at 106.95 crore ($16.08M) over the FSS. That tops PK but falls just short of Khan’s 2013 holiday pic Dhoom 3, which took in 107.61 crore ($16.18M) on its opening weekend.
Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, Dangal is the female-empowerment story of Mahavir Singh Phogat and the daughters he coached to wrestling fame. It opened Friday to strong notices on 4,436 screens in India. Its numbers, according to local box office analyst Taran Adarsh, saw day-to-day increases over the weekend.
#Dangal Fri 29.78 cr, Sat 34.82 cr, Sun 42.35 cr. Total: ₹ 106.95 cr [incl Tamil and Telugu]. India biz. FANTABULOUS!
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) December 26, 2016
Dangal has become only the second movie this year to cross into the coveted 100 crore club in its first three days. The other film, Salman Khan starrer Sultan, is also a wrestling-themed pic; it released in the summer and ultimately grossed 300.45 crore ($45.16M), making it the No. 1 film of 2016 in India.
Despite the recent woes caused by India’s demonetization, Dangal potentially is eyeing the 300 crore mark with a clear path during the next few weeks. Adarsh is predicting it gets there, which would see the film join only PK, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan in that club. The Hindi film is seeing wide appeal with an emotional story at the core, though it lacks a major female co-star.
Offshore, the UTV release grossed $9.27M this weekend, including the $4.3M in North America, where it opened Wednesday ahead of India on an unprecedented 331 screens. Other markets debuting Dangal on a combined 571 screens this weekend included the UK, the UAE, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.
Dangal is one of the last films on the production slate of Disney-owned UTV Motion Pictures. Disney India said earlier this year it was pulling out of Hindi film production, focusing instead on its Hollywood movies there.