Indian BO revives after multiplex strike

'Wolverine' has strong opening, but does it have legs?

NEW DELHI -- The Indian boxoffice is trying to make up for lost time after a two-month dispute ended on June 5.

The releasing strike was called by producers protesting against multiplex owners' revenue sharing terms. It stalled releases of both Indian and Hollywood movies.

The first major Bollywood release after the strike opens Friday with post-9/11 drama "New York" from establishment banner Yash Raj Films and stars top actors John Abraham and Neil Nitin Mukesh with leading actress Katrina Kaif.

This will compete against Sony's tentpole release "Terminator Salvation" and Fox release "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" -- also dubbed in Hindi -- which went up against lesser Bollywood title "Kal Kissne Dekha" (Who Has Seen Tomorrow) on June19.

While independent boxoffice figures are not available in India, observers feel "Kal" -- which featured new stars -- performed below expectations. "Wolverine" collected the biggest opening for any Hollywood film this year at $1.5 million according to Mumbai-based Fox Star Studios, which added that the film has grossed just over $2 million in its first week.

Film trade analyst and journalist Taran Adarsh said that "Wolverine" proves "yet again that a Hollywood film can give a run for the money to its Hindi counterparts."

FSS India CEO Vijay Singh added, "The first week collections of 'Wolverine' are a landmark for Fox and we are expecting a strong second week too."

One of Bollywood's most anticipated releases bows July 3 with Eros International's "Kambhaqt Ishq" (Damn Love) which features cameos by Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards along with actor Akshay Kumar and actress Kareena Kapoor.

Eros said it will release the film on 1,400 screens in India with another 600 worldwide, a pattern now followed for most big releases. Eros International India president, Sunil Lulla said, "Audience and trade reactions to the first look and promos have been extremely promising. We hope to reach out to record audiences worldwide".
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