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CC2C disappoints in North America

Arthur J Pais in New York | January 19, 2009 09:25 IST

Chandni Chowk To China [Images] failed to kung-fu its way into box-office history in North America.

The much-hyped film -- the first Hindi movie produced by Warner Bros -- grossed an unspectacular $650,000 from the 130 theatres it was released in North America, a record release for a Hindi flick.

CC2C could end its North American run with $1.5 million, a very good figure but a disappointing one for a film which reportedly cost about $10 million.

The disappointing news for CC2C was compensated by a $5.9 million estimated weekend haul for Slumdog Millionaire [Images], partly due to the publicity generated by the film winning four Golden Globes including for best picture and direction. The day after the Globes triumph, the New York Post newspaper ran a front page report on the film with the headline, Slum Dunk.

However, CC2C should not be written off. It could be a different story in other territories like the United Kingdwom where Akshay Kumar [Images] has a huge fan base.

If its box-office in the UK and the Gulf remains strong and steady for the next three to four weeks, the film could become profitable and comfort Warner Bros who signed a three film deal with its director Nikhil Advani [Images]. Its opening in India has been disappointing, according to some newspaper reports on Monday.

In North America, the three-day gross for the film was surprisingly low especially since Akshay received a lot of publicity in recent months about his box-office success, not just in the Indian media but also in publications like The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Both Akshay and co-star Deepika Padukone [Images] attended the film's high profile premiere in New York, and screenings in Los Angeles, Toronto and London [Images], giving the film more visibility.

To maximise the film's box-office performance, Warner Bros had hired sleuths at the premieres in New York and London to nab likely pirates.

CC2C's opening at the box office was lower than the weekend opening of Nikhil Advani's last two films -- Salam-e-Ishq grossed $1.1 million in January 2007, while his debut Kal Ho Naa Ho had grossed $756,000 in 2003.

Akshay's last release, Singh Is Kinng [Images], opened to over $1 million in North America a few months.

Meanwhile, Slumdog Millionaire continues its dream run. In its 10th week, it grossed about $5.9 million from just about 582 theatres, its best performance so far in North America. Its collection grew even though distributor Fox Searchlight did not boost its screen count these last few weeks.

This weekend, the collection jumped by a record 55 percent from the previous weekend, taking its total to nearly $43 million. Abroad, where it is playing in a handful of countries including the United Kingdom, the film, which cost $15 million to make, has grossed an impressive $10 million.

On January 23, a day after the Oscar nominations come in, Fox Searchlight will expand its run to approximately 1,300 theatres.

The film could get a big boost over the next few weeks if it garners top Oscar nominations.

Hollywood buzz says even if the film did not win any Oscars it could end its run with at least $85 million; if it pockets a couple of major Oscars, it could earn over $100 million.

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