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Don rocks overseas, notches highest ever Diwali opening in UK, UAE

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Oct 27:  It is the 'King Khan' magic on show again on the overseas terrain! It may have evoked mixed reviews at home but Farhan's Akhtar's remake of the 80s hit 'Don' has rocked the overseas box office, notching up the highest ever Diwali opening for a Bollywood film in countries like the United Kingdom.

The film, which opened in the United Kingdom on October 19, a day before it released across India, grossed an outstanding 288,000 pounds(Rs 20 lakh) in its opening weekend in the United Kingdom.

Infact, sources in the UTV, the overseas distributor of the film, said the film had grossed over million dollars from 74 engagements across the UK in its opening week.

''In the UK, the film grossed an incredible 5,37,000 British pounds (Over Rs 4 crore) in the opening 5 days along with the preview, which is the highest Diwali opening weekend ever for a Hindi film,''the sources said.

The tremendous response to the film can be gauged by the fact that its earnings on Eid on October 24 alone were to the tune of about 139,000 pounds (nearly Rs 10 lakh).

Trade analysts feel that with no Bollywood title releasing this coming weekend, 'DON' is set to enjoy another strong weekend and hit the two million Dollars mark in the UK by the end of the second Week.

In the United States too, the film grossed a staggering 805,000 Dollars on its opening weekend from 113 screens.

UTV sources said the total gross of the film in the first five days in the United States was 1.1 million US Dollars, which is amongst the top 3 openings for an Indian film ever in North America.

In the United Arab Emirates too, 'Don' grossed over AED 2 million (540,000 US Dollars) in the opening 5 days, which was again the highest Diwali opening in the UAE ever and going on to be the second highest opening week ever, UTV sources said.

The collections for the film in UAE are all the more commendable considering that the film has released during Ramzan and before Eid, a period in which not many films open as many do not visit the theatres. ''This is a tremendous response considering the numbers post Eid will only go up,''the sources said.

In Australia, yet another overseas market, the weekend collections were 98,000 Australian Dollars( 75,000 Dollars), UTV said.

'Don's collection in Australia are the highest opening weekend ever for a Hindi film in the country.

Infact, sources at the UTV Motion Pictures expects the overseas theatrical box office of Don to cross the 7 million US Dollars mark across its run, a figure which would place it firmly amongst the top 3 overseas blockbusters of all time in Hindi cinema.

This coupled with the fact that UTV expects the ancillary rights and DVD release to fetch another 1.5 million US Dollars means that the cumulative overseas figures of the film could well cross the the 9 million US Dollars mark (Over Rs 30 crore).

Trade sources feel that the overseas box office figures for 'Don', though not altogether unexpected considering the huge draw commanded by Shahrukh in the overseas market, are somewhat surprising considering that the overseas audiences have, in the past gave a lukewarm response to thrillers.

Analysts said the box office figures for the film in the UK and the US are nothing less than superb moreso since the film had opened to mixed reviews at home.

They said that while the unprecedented success of DON in the UK could in large part be due to the huge draw commanded by Shahrukh in the overseas territories (eg. the Shahrukh-starrer 'Paheli' was a hit overseas despite a lukewarm response to the film in India), the fact that the film, shot across Malaysia, France and India, boasts of some extra ordinary stunts, which contributed to its success, leaving the overseas audience enthralled and wanting for more.

They also attribute the film's success overseas to the excellent marketing by the UK division of the UTV.

In order to cash in on the huge popularity of Shahrukh overseas, UTV, released 345 prints of the film in 28 countries across the globe, making it the highest ever-print release for a Bollywood film in the overseas market. The staggering collection of 'Don' seem to have reinforced UTV's belief to release their film with a record number of prints.

Further, the company also launched an extensive publicity blitz for the film in foreign countries.

For the marketing of the film, UTV Motion Pictures entered into an exclusive tie-up with Citibank across USA, UK, West Asia, SE Asia, wherein the bank is co-promoting its NRI product RCA (Rupee Checking Account) with DON. The promo of 'Don' featured Shahrukh Khan, Om Puri (who plays the role of Malik) and Priyanka Chopra (who plays the role of Roma).

As part of the overseas marketing for 'Don', catchy promos of the film were also aired on B4U Music, Zee UK and NDTV. While B4U Music have been featuring Shah Rukh Khan as their October 'Artist Of The Month' for 'Don', ZEE TV aired a two-part series on the making of 'Don' (1 hour) exclusively in the UK.

In recent years there has been increased focus among Bollywood on overseas markets. This is perhaps because in recent times, with the rising awareness of and popularity of Bollywood films in various countries across the globe, the earnings from the overseas markets, specially those like the US, UK and Dubai, today form a crucial element in the overall box office performance of the film.

For example, the huge success of Karan Johar's 'Kabhi Alvida na Kehna' in the overseas markets played an important part in the film's overall box office figure. For, out of the over Rs 100 crore grossed by the film till date, the gross from overseas alone is nearly Rs 50 crore.


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