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By Behindwoods Visitor Shoaib Mohamed
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To say that the US and the UK are amongst the biggest and most lucrative markets for the Hindi film industry would be the understatement of the year. Now that we have seen the record breaking performance of Endhiran in its opening weekend in the UK, it is time to turn our attention to Endhiran’s performance in the US box office during it’s opening weekend.

Up until the release of Endhiran, SRK’s My Name Is Khan held the record for the film with the biggest opening for an Indian movie in the US. But as Endhiran has done with every other box office record, SRK’s status as the man who had the biggest opening weekend collections in the US for an Indian movie came to an end when Endhiran entered the land of the free and home of the brave. Prior to its release (Endhiran’s) all of us heard and read in utter astonishment as to how when advance bookings opened in the US all tickets for
the first week were sold out within minutes. As a result it will come as no surprise to all of you that Endhiran has emerged as the runaway winner (crushing Anjaana Anjaani in the process as well) to become the Indian movie with the biggest opening weekend collections of all time in the US box office.

Endhiran (Tamil) was released on 64 screens and collected a whopping US$ 1,520,108 also giving it the number 1 position in terms of per screen collections (US$ 23,752) in its opening weekend in the US as well. Compare this to Anjaana Anjaani which opened across 91 screens in the US and collected US$ 517,608 giving it a per screen collection of US$ 5,688. Endhiran dubbed in Hindi as Robot also had an outstanding opening in the US. It was released in 36 screens and collected US$ 481,680 giving it a per screen collection of US$ 13,380. So in short the number 1 and number 2 positions in terms of per screen collections in the weekend of Oct 1st at the US Box office belonged to India’s number 1 box office Superstar, the impregnable and incomparable Rajinikanth’s Endhiran and its dubbed Hindi version Robot respectively. When taking into account both Endhiran and Robot, the film’s opening weekend collections in the US were US$ 2,001,788 from 100 screens giving it a per screen collection of US$ 20,017.

So in conclusion Endhiran had a tremendous opening weekend in both the US and the UK, the US opening being the biggest opening weekend of all time for any Indian film. It also emerged as the number 1 movie in terms of per screen collections in both the UK and the US with Endhiran’s dubbed Hindi version Robot coming in 2nd in the US. Do you think SRK or Amir Khan or Salman Khan can ever in their wildest imaginations have the dubbed Tamil version of one of their films emerge as a winner in even Tamil Nadu let alone the US box office? Never! Do you think any producer out there will have the guts to spend 175 Cr on a film with any other hero in India? I doubt it. Rajini’s star power and uncanny ability to light up the box office like no one has or will, gave Kalanithi Maran the confidence to make India’s most expensive film. Within a week of its release, India’s most expensive film has already recovered its cost and is heading for a lot more in the weeks to come. This is why Rajini is often referred to as a one man industry, an industry called Rajiniwood.

I urge everyone in the Tamil film industry and fans of Tamil films to stand up and give Superstar Rajinikanth a thundering ovation for he has once again made the World stand up and take notice of Tamil Cinema. People who live outside of South India (rest of India and the world at large) know that an industry called the Tamil Film industry exists only when Superstar Rajinikanth releases a film. His film releases become national and international news. No other Indian movie star get such coverage by the media when their films are being released. Despite the release date of Endhiran / Robot (October 1st) being sandwiched between the Ayodhya verdict and the start of the CWG, TV channels in India voluntarily gave Rajini and the release of his film so much of coverage and air time. This is something that no other movie star in India gets even when there is no other major news story being covered. All because of the phenomenon that is Rajinikanth.

No other Indian movie star other than Rajinikanth has that uncanny ability to capture the attention and imagination of all of India and the world prior to the release of their films. He has proved that he is the one and only Superstar in Indian Cinema with a frenzied fan following that is un-matched. At 61, Rajini still remains the unparalleled and undisputed king of the box office while his contemporaries (those who started out with him) in other industries like Bollywood and Tollywood faded away many years ago.

While other movie stars spend 20 hours a day of the weeks leading to the release of their films promoting their movies by giving interview after interview be it in the print media or on TV, journalists have to work very hard and camp out at airports to get a word or two from Rajini about his movie. Yet the name Rajinikanth alone is enough for tickets to be sold out for his movies.

Since 1999, Rajini has acted in 5 full length feature films (Kuselan was a cameo) and four of them have gone on to re-write box office history and take Tamil Cinema and Indian Cinema to unchartered territories.

Shoaib Mohamed from London

Tags : Endhiran, Rajinikanth, AR Rahman, Shankar, Aishwarya Rai

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