Last Friday's release Dhoom 3 had the widest ever release for an Indian film in North America with shows in 236 theatres. It zoomed into the top 10 list in its very first week, surpassing all expectations.
The film debuted at number nine with a $3.3 million estimate, and had a commanding $14,000 per theatre average.
The top spot in North America went to Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, which grossed a decent $31.3 million in its third weekend. It has occupied the top position for three weeks and has grossed a formidable $403 million, while also being on its way to a worldwide $900-$950 gross.
While the opening week for Dhoom 3 is a career high for all the main artists of the film, the next two weeks will indicate whether it will break the record of the other Aamir Khan film 3 Idiots, which grossed a historic $6.5 million in North America.
Usually even the hit Bollywood films, drop by 60 percent in the next week. But Dhoom 3 has extraordinarily strong word of mouth and repeat value -- many people who've watched it on Friday intend to see it again around Christmas time.
“I saw the film the first show the first day,” said a student who lives in my building in Harrison, NJ. ”Out of the theatre, I was busy calling
Given the fact that foreign students in America are on a tight budget, they are very choosy of seeing new films in theatres.
Theatres across North America have witnessed many sold-out shows for Dhoom 3, especially on Saturday, thanks to the word of mouth.
The movie has also had the highest per theatre gross at $14,000 in North America.
But unlike the mainstream films in limited release which expand into hundreds of more theatres following the impressive gross, Dhoom 3 will stay at the same number of theatres in its second week. The holiday means the second week could hold steady business for Dhoom 3, with perhaps a 40 percent drop. And with the New Year around, it could sail comfortably into a third week.
Worldwide too, Dhoom 3 has done exceedingly good business, with early indications that it grossed a heady $8.5 million in three days. Some in the trade circuit believe that the actual gross could be higher, hovering around $10 million.
The ultimate box office litmus test for the film is to break the $23 million overseas earnings of Shah Rukh Khan starrer My Name is Khan.
That film had an unexpected solid run in many non-traditional territories for an Indian film such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Poland, earning about $2.5 million in those territories that hardly watch Hindi films.