After breaking records at its opening during the December 21 frame, the latest film starring Aamir Khan is quite possibly on its way to becoming the No. 1 Bollywood movie ever in India and abroad. Through Tuesday, Dangal is already the No. 2 Bollywood title of all time in North America with $10.1M, coming in behind only Khan’s own 2014 smash PK at $10.6M — it will pass it this week. Through Sunday in India, the gross was $55.63M, per distributor UTV. Today, it should overtake Salman Khan starrer Sultan as the top title of 2016 in that market.
Locally in India, the standard for box office measurement is a net sum after the deduction of an entertainment tax, and Dangal‘s total through Tuesday is 295.15 crore ($44.4M). The wrestling biopic will land in the rarefied 300 crore club today. Only three other films have ever scored so high. They include Sultan at 300.45 and, also starring Salman Khan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan at 320.34. Aamir Khan’sPK at 340.8 is the all-time record holder inside India and the one folks are watching. Eyes are on Dangal handily beating PK‘s record.
Bollywood box office analyst Taran Adarsh notes that it has taken Dangal just 13 days to reach 300 crore, whereas PK did so on Day 17.
In other milestones, Dangal is now the biggest Indian movie ever in Australia with $1.6M, overtaking PK for the title. It also scored the best 2nd Sunday gross ever in India at 44.62 crore ($6.64M). The film gives Aamir Khan three of the Top 5 box office scores at home. (Salman Khan has the other two.)
All of this activity comes as India recently experienced a demonetization. But that has not stopped folks from heading to cinemas in droves. The market identifies its A-list stars very closely with release dates, and Dangal‘s Khan had sat out last Christmas after two blockbuster years in a row (PK in 2014 and Dhoom 3 in 2013).
Dangal also is resonating with audiences because of the strong female-empowerment aspect as well as the timeliness of the topic. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, it’s centered on former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, who relentlessly pursues his goal of transforming his daughters into world-class wrestlers — ultimately making it to the Commonwealth Games, despite the odds.
This summer, India’s Sakshi Malik scored a bronze in Rio, making her the first female wrestler from the country to medal at an Olympics — and a sensation at home.
A source adds that the North American success is tied to “the lasting popularity of Aamir Khan, a strong film with solid reviews and a lucrative holiday season which has worked well for his films in the past. Even without an A-list actress in the movie, Dangal is still pulling in massive crowds and generating great buzz. The story of female empowerment is an important one and fans are connecting with it. Khan is looked at like Denzel Washington — an extremely talented actor who is also an astute curator who only picks quality projects.”