The mixed reviews hardly mattered to the nearly 10 million viewers who saw Immortals, Tarsem Singh Dhandwar's action adventure set in ancient Greece.
The viewers in 36 world markets including China, Russia, Japan, the United Kingdom and North America have ensured Immortals is the number one hit in the world.
The film grossed an estimated $67 million in three days. It is yet to open in many territories including France and the South American countries so it could end its run with a very profitable if not spectacular gross of $250 million. The film cost about $75 million to make, half the budget of action heavy Hollywood films.
Tarsem, who prefers to be called by only one name, has made just three feature films in the past decade, though he has done many ad films and music videos. This is his first huge hit.
His first feature film was The Cell which grossed about $100 million. His second one The Fall was hardly seen by anyone except at events such as the Toronto International Film Festival. Now with Immortals, he will be a very familiar name to movie lovers worldwide.
The 3D film about the tough decisions the gods had to make after having sworn off from interfering in human affairs, stars Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt and Freida Pinto, who plays the oracle who can see the future and yet cannot control it.
"The film is heavy on action but it has a strong human element to it," Freida said last week. "I think it has a universal appeal and people everywhere can relate to the dilemma its characters face."
Tarsem became the first director of Indian origin in over six years to reach the number one spot at the US box office, according to box office analyst Gitesh Pandya.
The last film by a desi to open at number one in the US was 2005's Dukes of Hazzard from Indian-American filmmaker Jay Chandrashekar. M Night Shyamalan's last top spot debut came in 2004 with The Village. None of the films appealed to major critics.
On the red carpet in Hollywood last week and in other interviews, Tarsem asserted that he has made a film about the original superheroes, the Greek gods.
'These are the original superhero guys and they seem to have many more problems than, let's say, the superheroes that you have today. I just thought that with superheroes you either go to Marvel and make a movie with them, or you just pick up some good literature,' Tarsem told the trade publication The Hollywood Reporter.
Outside North America, Immortals grossed about $32 million, and unseated Steven Spielberg's hit Tintin from the top perch. In its third week, Tintin made about $26 million, mostly in Europe, which was about 30 per less than the previous week, according to The Hollywood Reporter,
Tintin, which has also become a big hit in India, garnering $1.3 million over the weekend according to box office reports, will open in North America in the third week of December.
Relativity which distributed Immortals in North America, said 60 per cent of the audience was male and 75 per cent was under 35 years of age. At least 70 per cent of the business came from non-white audiences, mostly Hispanics. That bodes well for the film when it opens in Mexico, Argentina and Spain soon.
In North America, Immortals, which made $32 million and even surprised studio Relativity, which was expecting about $25 million, scored much better than the $26 million grossing Adam Sandler film Jack and Jill.
Immortals also overpowered the Clint Eastwood-directed riveting biopic J Edgar starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Tarsem said last week that he was conscious right from the start that this was a project that did not have to be rushed into the theatres. In several films in the last three years, 3D is an afterthought. "But we wanted 3D to be really great in this film," he said. "The audiences are becoming more and more sophisticated."