Mumbai: Slumdog Millionaire, the kaleidoscopic story of an impoverished orphan’s quest for love and remarkable success on a quiz show, raked in Rs13.5 crore at the box office in its opening weekend, making it the fourth-biggest ever debut for a Hollywood film in India.
The film, which has charmed audiences across the world and has swept the boards at awards ceremonies, came in on par with Taare Zameen Par and ahead of Rock On! during its opening weekend in Mumbai with a per screen average of Rs3,85,000, according to figures from Fox Star Studios, the film’s distributor.
Ticket sales from the 351 screens it opened at in 80+ cities across the country have made Slumdog Millionaire, which has been nominated in 10 categories at the upcoming Academy Awards, the best selling Hollywood film to debut in India after Superman 3, Quantam of Solace and Casino Royale.
“We are very satisfied with the response and the word of mouth buzz that has been generated,” said Vijay Singh, chief executive of Fox Star Studios in India. “For the newly formed Fox Star Studios this is a great beginning — Slumdog has become the 4th biggest Hollywood film ever and has surpassed Bollywood trade expectations.”
Singh, who declined to comment on the breakdown in ticket sales between the English version of Slumdog Millionaire and its Hindi language equivalent Slumdog Crorepati which opened simultaneously around the country, said that Mumbai accounted for the greatest proportion of tickets sold, among India’s major cities. He added that cinemas in Chennai were booked out for the coming week too.
“The sentiment in Chennai is full house,” said Singh, adding that cinemas in other locations, including Chandigarh, Kanpur, Aurangabad, Surat and Ranchi were also sold out for the coming week.
Demand for tickets at Sathyam Cinemas in Chennai built up a full week before the film’s release on 23 January, with audiences making booking both online and in person, according to a spokeswoman for the cinema chain.
She added that interest in the film had been cultivated by the accolades heaped on A.R. Rahman, the celebrated Chennai-based composer who has won a Golden Globe in the best original score category for the film, and has clinched three nominations at the Academy Awards for scoring.
The spokeswoman said: “The film has attracted a mix of people who have heard about how well AR Rehman has done and want to listen to the songs. In particular, they are waiting to hear the last song in the film Jai Ho and they will wait until it ends before they leave the cinema.”