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Disney India’s UTV Motion Pictures unit announced that its megahit release PK is set for release in China. Toplined by superstar Aamir Khan and directed by Raju Hirani, the film opened last December and quickly set new box-office records, becoming the top-grossing film in India and collecting about $50 million.
According to a statement, PK is the first film acquired directly from India by China Film Group and Huaxia Film Group. In another first for any Indian film, PK will open across the highest number of screens — more than 3,500 — when it releases in China. While a release date was not given, a Disney-UTV spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that it should release “soon.”
The previous Indian film to release in China was 2013 action caper Dhoom:3, which was released last July across 2,000 screens via distribution company HGC Entertainment. This was a record screen count at the time for any Indian film. Indian films have only just begun to get wide theatrical release in China, starting in 2011 with Reliance Entertainment’s 2009 hit 3 Idiots. The Aamir Khan-starring film was also directed by Hirani and produced by PK producer and well-known director Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
PK‘s China release agreement was signed at a ceremony in Beijing on Jan. 27 in the presence of India’s ambassador to China, Ashok Kantha, China’s state administration of press, publication, radio, film and television vice-minister, Tong Gang, along with the heads of China Film Group and Huaxia Film Group. Also present were Hirani, Chopra and Amrita Pandey, Disney India vp and head, marketing and distribution, studios.
“This direct collaboration with China Film Group and Huaxia Film Group for PK is a proud moment not just for us at the studio but also for the Indian movie industry as a whole,” said Pandey in a statement. “It is exciting that just after six weeks of the theatrical release of PK, the film has resonated and is finding an audience in many new markets.”
“I am confident that the film’s blend of entertainment, emotion and underlying social message will resonate with audiences in China and elsewhere in the world,” added Chopra. “I am also pleased that PK will build on the success of 3 Idiots and expand the China market for Indian films in the future.”
PK tells the story of an alien (Khan) who lands in India and ends up questioning religious dogma and traditions. Given the film’s sensitive theme, some religious groups protested against PK and even vandalized some cinemas, filing court petitions demanding a ban. But India’s Supreme Court overruled them, because the film was cleared by the country’s censor board.
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