India Set for Major Box-Office Weekend at Home and Abroad
Two Indian films could well rewrite the box-office playbook at home and abroad this weekend.
Top star Salman Khan's action-packed Kick from Disney UTV opens Friday to cash in on the Eid ul Fitr holiday weekend, which tends to draw strong cinema attendance.
Meanwhile, in a first of sorts, an Indian film could become the biggest release ever in China. Last year's blockbuster hit Dhoom 3 opens in China Friday, with its production firm, veteran Bollywood banner Yash Raj Films, stating that the Mandarin-dubbed version of the film is set to open in 2,000 screens, distributed by HGC Entertainment.
Khan has been dominating the Eid weekend in recent years, one of the major holiday release windows on the Indian calendar. The star – who also hosts the Indian version of Big Brother on TV – has delivered some of his biggest titles that have hit the coveted 1 billion rupee ($ 17 million) mark. Khan's string of past hits over the holiday weekend that marks the end of Ramadan have included Wanted, Dabangg, Bodyguard and Ek Tha Tiger.
Kick will again attempt to cash in on Khan's formula of packaging adrenalin-pumping stunts with a dash of romance, topped with colorful song-and-dance sequences as seen in his past blockbusters. Kick co-stars beauty-queen-turned-actress Jacqueline Fernandez, a former Miss Sri Lanka.
The third installment of the blockbuster Dhoom franchise will offer a case study for Indian films trying to find a foothold in China, given the country's limited quota for foreign titles.
So far, Reliance Entertainment's 2009 comedy hit 3 Idiots is considered the most successful Indian film at the Chinese box office. It was released there in 2011. Starring top actor Aamir Khan, the film collected nearly $3 million in China. Dhoom 3 also stars Khan in the lead along with Katrina Kaif and Abhishek Bachchan and Grace of Monaco co-producer Uday Chopra.
Following its December worldwide release, Dhoom 3 went on to set new box-office records, becoming the first Indian film to cross the 5 billion rupee mark ($83 million).
Looking ahead, India's next major holiday weekend release is slated for the country's independence day, Aug. 15, when Reliance is scheduled to bow Singham Returns. The sequel to 2010's action hit Singham — a remake of a South Indian film — again stars actor Ajay Devgan.
And what is considered one of the year's most awaited releases in India, Fox Star Studios will bow Bang Bang! during the Oct. 2 holiday, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. Starring A-listers Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, Bang Bang! is a Bollywood reworking of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz film Knight and Day.
Finally, the festive season will kick off with super star Shah Rukh Khan's Happy New Year, which will release during the major Diwali holidays in late October. Directed by Farah Khan, the film stars actress Deepika Padukone and actor Abhishek Bachchan.