Gurinder Chadha's hit Bend It Like Beckham (Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys-Myers) crossed an important milestone when it ranked among the top 10 movies at the US box office, with ticket sales estimated at $1.46 million over the weekend.
It occupied the ninth spot between It Runs In the Family (Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas) and Bulletproof Monk (Chow-Yun Fat, Sean William Scott). The film's performance was much better than what its figures ($10.9 million) indicated, since it is only playing in 484 locations. The remaining movies in the top10 list are screening in 1,000 theatres each.
The distributor added 63 new theaters to run over the weekend and will expand to more than 500 sites on May 9.
Bend It Like Beckham, which opened in the US on March 12, has been screened in a combination of art-house cinemas and commercial multiplexes. Its gross, at nearly $11 million, makes it 2003's highest-grossing limited release film.
Films with Indian themes rarely appear in the Top 20, much less the Top 10, but Bend It Like Beckham continues to climb the charts. Over the years, only a handful of motion pictures with Indian themes have hit the North American Top 10 chart.
Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (Ben Kingsley, Rohini Hattangadi) was number two in 1983, David Lean's A Passage to India (Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee) reached third place in 1985. In 1992, both Roland Joffe's City of Joy (Patrick Swayze, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi) and Mira Nair's Mississippi Masala (Denzel Washington, Sarita Chowdhary) featured in the top 10.
Bollywood multi-starrer Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor) debuted in tenth place in December 2001.
Bend It Like Beckham is ahead of last spring's Indian hit, Monsoon Wedding, which grossed $ 6.2 million after its eighth weekend and ended its run with $14 million.