It’s hard to find a more reliable Bollywood star in North America than Shahrukh Khan. It’s been over a decade since he last had a theatrical release that earned less than $1 million in the United States and Canada — 2003’s Chalte Chalte. Here’s a chart representing the total North American gross for each of 24 films featuring Khan in a starring role, going back to 1999 (the earliest year for which I can find reliable data).
What’s so remarkable about Khan’s success is that it predates the era of super-wide releases. His two most recent films — Dilwale and Happy New Year — opened in 290 and 280 North American theaters, respectively. Yet 2003’s Kal Ho Naa Ho made almost $2 million on just 52 screens! The lowest earning film on this list — 2000’s Josh — opened in just 30 theaters but still made $426,318.
Another great bit of news for exhibitors is that Khan’s films always open well. Khan’s median opening weekend per-screen average is around $9,000, compared to an overall median PSA for Bollywood films in North America in the $2,000s. High theater counts have hardly put a dent in that average, with Chennai Express averaging $12,327 on 196 screens in 2013.
Those consistently high averages only tell part of the story, though. The two movies on the list with the lowest opening weekend PSAs are Chak De India and Swades — $5,675 and $5,740, respectively — arguably two of Khan’s most beloved films (at least compared to more financially successful ventures like Don 2 and Ra.One).
Fan marks yet another collaboration between Shahrukh Khan and Yash Raj Films. The five other YRF movies on this list — Mohabbatein, Veer-Zaara, Chak De India, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and Jab Tak Hai Jaan — averaged total North American earnings of $2,051,086. It’ll be interesting to see if Fan raises that average even more.