The Shah Rukh Khan-starring action adventure film “Pathaan” has smashed local records for a Hindi film on its first day of release.
The strong opening is positive news for Hindi-language Bollywood, which had suffered a dearth of hits last year and was somewhat overshadowed by a string of blockbuster titles from the regional language industries in South India.
“Pathaan” also underlines the enduring appeal of Khan, who is arguably India’s biggest male film star, but had been absent from screens as a leading man since 2018.
Produced by Yash Raj Films, “Pathaan” had gross revenues of INR679 million ($8.32 million) in India and a further $4.5 million in overseas territories on Wednesday, its first day in cinemas, for a worldwide gross total of at least $12.7 million.
Also starring Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, and directed by Siddharth Anand, “Pathaan” enjoyed a release in over 100 countries, making it one of the widest ever outings for an Indian film.
Box office data for Indian films is usually expressed in net – not gross terms – and in crores (units equivalent to ten million).
Yash Raj claimed that the film had earned INR57 crore in India, with INR55 crore coming from Hindi versions and a further INR2 crore from dubbed prints.
It also claimed a host of other records: including being the highest grossing opening day for a Hindi film; the highest score on a non-holiday release; and the highest opening day score for all three stars and for the studio.
Yash Raj data shows the film earning gross revenues of $1.60 million in the Middle East; $1.50 million in North America; $650,000 in the U.K. and continental Europe; and a further $750,000 in the rest of the world.
“It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for ‘Pathaan’ globally,” said Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films. “For ‘Pathaan’ to shatter records in this fashion on a non-holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.”
Recent controversy may also have helped. In December, the film sparked inter-religious controversy with the release of a video for a key song. In response, the country’s film censors advised a re-think.