Business is booming for Indian movies in North America. Baahubali took the continent by storm last weekend, and Salman Khan just posted his biggest opening weekend ever in the United States and Canada.
From July 17-19, 2015, Salman’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan earned $2,613,192 from 276 theaters ($9,468 average) in North America, according to Rentrak figures supplied to Bollywood Hungama. That opening weekend per-screen average is ridiculous, given the high theater count and considering that the second highest average in 2015 trails it by almost $3,000 (Piku‘s $6,673). The average becomes even more interesting when the figures are broken down by country. The average from the 256 US theaters is $8,628, while the 20 Canadian theaters averaged $20,221.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan‘s success is a big deal for Salman’s brand in North America. Collections for his movies have consistently lagged behind those of the other two reigning Khans: Aamir and Shahrukh. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is Salman’s first release in more than 200 theaters in the US and Canada, the new threshold for aspiring blockbusters.
Not only did Bajrangi Bhaijaan more than double the collection of Salman’s previously most successful opening weekend — $1,139,340 for 2012’s Ek Tha Tiger — it already eclipsed the total earnings of his formerly most successful film in North America: 2012’s Dabangg 2, which earned $2,519,190. This is great news for Salman, who will hopefully take to heart the message that international fans are sending: choose good scripts, and you will be rewarded.
Baahubali continued its impressive run. Adding the second weekend earnings from both the Telugu ($966,329 from 162 theaters) and Tamil ($168,985 from 53 theaters) versions, Baahubali‘s North American total stands at $6,509,343. Amazing!
Two other Hindi films showed in the US over the weekend:
- Dil Dhadakne Do: Week 7; $3,888 from four theaters; $972 average; $3,059,773 total
- ABCD 2: Week 5; $352 from two theaters; $176 average; $881,302 total