Bollywood gem sneaks into US box office top 10
The final chapter of the blockbuster “Twilight” vampire franchise took the biggest bite out of North America’s weekend box office — while a Bollywood film made a rare showing in the top 10.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2,” the fifth and final installment of the wildly popular series, took $141.1 million, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.
But almost more eye-catching was “Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Till My Last Breath),” a three-hour extravaganza which was the last film made by legendary Indian filmmaker Yash Chopra, the “king of romance,” before he died last month.
The movie entered the top 10 at number 8, taking $1.3 million at the box office, a rare appearance for a Bollywood film in box office rankings usually dominated by Hollywood productions.
“It is very rare indeed for a Bollywood film to make the Top 10,” said Exhibitor Relations expert Jeff Bock, while noting that they “routinely” make it into the top 20.
“Bollywood does have a very loyal following in the US as almost every week there is a new Bollywood film in limited release, and every now and then they do open in the top 10,” he told AFP.
The Hindi cinema legend, hailed for directing, producing and screen-writing some of India’s most-loved movies over several decades, died last month aged 80 after being admitted to hospital with dengue fever.
Actors who had worked closely with Chopra, such as veteran Amitabh Bachchan and heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan, attended a private funeral at a crematorium in the city.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was quick to honor the late director on Sunday night, describing him as “an icon of Indian cinema” who would be remembered by millions.
Bock added that the Indian film benefited from a pre-Thanksgiving lull, ahead of the long US holiday weekend.
“There was a relative calm before the storm of films being released this Thanksgiving holiday. The box office has been set ablaze, but it’s really just a handful of films doing all the business,” he said.
The box office top spot was, as expected, taken by the last “Twilight” movie. The previous four films, based on novels by Stephenie Meyer and starting in 2008, earned a colossal $2.4 billion altogether.
In second place was the new James Bond movie “Skyfall,” last week’s top earner, which earned an estimated $41.1 million, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Third place went to the debut of the Steven Spielberg film “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day Lewis in the role of America’s assassinated 16th president, which had $21 million in ticket sales.
“Wreck-It Ralph,” the animated Disney film about a video game villain with dreams of becoming a hero, earned $18.6 million for fourth place.
Fifth went to the movie “Flight,” a star vehicle for Denzel Washington, who plays a crash-landing pilot with substance abuse problems. It pulled in $8.8 million.