Los Angeles: The milestones just keep coming for Slumdog Millionaire: After winning eight Academy Awards, including best picture, the feel-good indie has now crossed the $200 million mark in worldwide box office.
As of Thursday afternoon, Slumdog had grossed nearly $217 million from theaters around the globe. It made $12 million the weekend after it dominated the 22 February Academy Awards, a healthy 43% improvement over the previous weekend, and came in at No. 3 behind two movies with strong built-in audiences, Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.
By contrast, previous best-picture winner No Country for Old Men had a worldwide gross of just more than $162 million, while Martin Scorsese’s star-studded The Departed from 2006 made nearly $290 million worldwide.
Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of an 18-year-old orphan who rises from the streets of Mumbai to become the biggest winner ever on India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Director Danny Boyle’s film had a budget of about $15 million, featured no well-known stars and is partly in subtitled Hindi, but it’s wowed audiences and critics alike.
Steve Gilula, co-chief operating officer for Fox Searchlight, which released Slumdog, said he expects the movie will go past $250 million globally.
Comparatively, another small Searchlight movie that made it big, 2007’s Juno, made $230 million worldwide.
Gilula attributes the global success of Slumdog Millionaire to a couple of factors. One is the international nature of the setting, the cast and the Oscar-winning filmmakers Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy are British, for example, and composer A R Rahman is from India.
The other is the attention it got from winning top honors at the Golden Globe Awards, given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and Britain’s BAFTAs.