Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

'Chennai Express' Breaks Bollywood Opening Weekend Box Office Record, Why World's Biggest Movie Star Is Shah Rukh Khan

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and David Chute | Thompson on Hollywood August 12, 2013 at 3:09PM

Romantic action comedy "Chennai Express" broke all stateside Bollywood box office records last weekend with $2,225,000 in 196 locations and a huge $11,352 per screen average. The old record of $1,944,027 had been held since 2010 by "My Name is Khan," also starring Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan. "Chennai Express" also beat the five-day Christmas holiday weekend opening of $2,149,227 for 2009’s "3 Idiots," starring Aamir Khan, which holds the record for the largest lifetime gross for a Bollywood film with a cume of $6,533,849. (Review round up, Hey Guys video interview and trailer are below.)
11
'Chennai Express'
'Chennai Express'

Hardcore Bollywood fans have to work hard to find new movies when they open in the U.S. They tend to be press-screened in New York, not L.A., and the faithful have to track down the neighborhood theaters that play them--whether in Culver City, Covina or Artesia. The movies are often three hours long, so a Chai break at intermission is always welcome. You never know whether you're going to get a winner. You can usually count on Aamir Khan ("Lagaan," 2001), who works at the top of the Bollywood pyramid, but you take your chances with just about everyone else. 

UTV Motion Pictures' romantic action comedy "Chennai Express" broke all stateside Bollywood box office records last weekend with $2,225,000 in 196 locations and a huge $11,352 per screen average. The old record of $1,944,027 had been held since 2010 by "My Name is Khan," also starring Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan. "Chennai Express" also beat the five-day Christmas holiday weekend opening of $2,149,227 for 2009’s "3 Idiots," starring Aamir Khan, which holds the record for the largest lifetime gross for a Bollywood film with a cume of $6,533,849. (Review round up, Hey Guys video interview and trailer are below.) 

In "Chennai Express" (in Hindi and Tamil with English subtitles), Shah Rukh Khan plays a man who journeys to a small town in Tamil Nadu in order to fulfill the last wish of his grandfather to have his ashes immersed in the Holy water of Rameshwaram. En route, he meets and falls in love with a South Indian girl (Deepika Padukone); they embark on a series of adventures on the road. 

Called by the LA Times "the world's biggest movie star," Khan's fans number in the billions. In 2008, Newsweek named him one of the 50 most powerful people in the world. Born in Delhi in 1965 and raised there, SRK is now 47, a few years shy of the age achieved by the superstar of a previous generation, Amitabh Bachchan, in the early '90s, when he was eclipsed by the stars who were to rule the roost in the coming decades, the so-called Three Khans, Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh. But SRK seems in no danger of being eclipsed in turn. An excellent actor and one of Bollywood's best dancers ever, he has been a major movie star continuously for twenty years, with an unbroken string of hits. 

Throughout his career Khan has been known for playing obstreperous sometimes crazy lovers in such romantic vehicles as "Dil To Pagal Hai" ("The Heart is Crazy," 1997), "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" ("Some Things Just Happen," 1998), "Kal Ho Naa Ho" ("Tomorrow May Not Come," 2003) and "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" ("A Match Made By God," 2008). But he has also made a point of taking strong dramatic roles in films such as "Devdas" (2002) and "My Name is Khan" (2010). In two of the biggest recent hits he returned to his anti-hero roots playing an elusive and glamorous gangster in Farhan Akhtar's highly successful remake of one of Bachchan's biggest hits of the '70s, "Don: The Chase Begins Again" (2006) and its sequel "Don 2: The Chase Continues" (2011), the latter in 3-D.

"Chennai Express" marks a departure for Shah Rukh Khan. He's working for the first time with relatively new director Rohhit Shetty, who is the only current Bollywood film director to direct three films in a row that grossed 100 crore rupees ($23,000,000.00): "Golmaal 3" (2010), "Singham" ("Lion, 2011) and "Bol Bachchan" (2012). "Golmaal" ("Fishy," 2006) and its two sequels are fast-paced and colorful slapstick action comedies that are anything but subtle (every sight gag is punctuated with a boing/splat sound effect). "Singham" had less comedy and more head-banging action, in the slow-mo/bullet time style of regional South India Tamil Tamil and Malayalam films. 

Hollywood could learn from Bollywood. Kahn told The Guardian what Bollywood movies have going for them:

Right from my very first film and all of the films I've grown up watching, it's always had a little bit of everything. It's had romance, colour, it's had action, song and has had dance. And I think that's what makes our films so universally appealing. A five-year old can watch it, and an elderly person can watch it. You can watch it with your family, and you can watch it with your loved one. I mean I don't know any other way, this is how it's always been.

This article is related to: Bollywood , My Name is Khan, Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Shah Rukh Khan


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.