'Inception' takes $1.6 mil in India opening

Equals opening of 'Knight and Day'

NEW DELHI -- “Inception” grossed about 75 million rupees ($1.6 million) at the Indian boxoffice which, according to its Mumbai-based distributor Warner Bros Pictures India, was the “number one film in the country, comfortably beating three new local films” released last weekend.

Boosted by positive reviews, the Leonardo DiCaprio starrer opened strongly with 300 prints, of which 120 were in English.

Fox Star Studios release “Knight and Day” also collected 75 million rupees during its July 9 opening weekend with 275 prints reflecting a good summer for Hollywood in India so far.

“Inception” took on the three major Hindi titles, comedy caper “Tere Bin Laden,” political drama “Lamha” and coming of age story “Udaan” in addition to the Nicholas Cage starrer “Sorcerer's Apprentice” and holdover release “Knight and Day.”

India's largest cinema chain Reliance Big Cinemas confirmed strong occupancies for “Inception” which were “as high as 94% to close at an average of 50%” according to RBC COO Ashish Saksena.

Similarly, second largest chain PVR Cinemas also witnessed a “phenomenal” opening at its properties “equivalent to any Bollywood film” according to a spokesperson.

“With a Chris Nolan film we knew that we had a winner but given the complexity of the film it was crucial that we handle the marketing and the distribution with the same passion with which the film was made. The weekend results are evident to the fact that we have pulled this off. With the buzz going around on the film this is just the beginning and it’s on its way of becoming the biggest cult film ever,” Warner Bros Pictures India deputy MD (theatrical) Denzil Dias added.

The first half of the year has mostly been a damp squib for the 70-odd domestic releases, with Bollywood losing about $44 million according to industry estimates. Even though Hollywood and foreign films command a minority market share here at less than 10%, recent Hollywood releases have had a good run such as “Prince of Persia” and “Clash of the Titans” which opened wide with dubbed versions.

Warners' “Titans” collected about 160 million rupees during its opening weekend via 698 prints released India-wide, with the film's total boxoffice reaching 220 million rupees during its theatrical run.

This weekend sees another Hollywood tentpole release in Sony Pictures' Angelina Jolie-starrer “Salt,” which takes on top Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar's comedy “Khatta Meetha."
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