Inception tops India box office in opening weekend

MUMBAI: Warner Bros. Pictures‘ Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has grossed Rs 75 million in its opening weekend, making it a rare occasion when Bollywood is trailing behind a Hollywood product.

Inception became the number one film to open this week. The other films that released during the week like Lamhaa, Udaan and Tere Bin Laden put up a moderate performance at the box office.

Says Big Cinemas chief operating officer Ashish Saksena, “Inception, one of the most awaited films of 2010, has lived up to all the hype that it had generated. The combination of Christopher Nolan as the director and Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead actor only added to the pre-release buzz. Across Big Cinemas, the weekend occupancies were very strong, ranging from as high as 94 per cent at some of the cinemas to close at an average of 50 per cent for all language versions.”

The Christopher Nolan-directed film released in India with 300 prints in four languages that include English (120 prints), Hindi (90 prints), Tamil (45 prints) and Telugu (45 prints).

Warner Bros. Pictures India deputy managing director (theatrical) Denzil Dias notes that given the complexity of the film, marketing and the distribution was crucial. “Therefore, it was essential that we handle the marketing and the distribution with the same passion with which the film was made. The weekend results are evident to the fact that we have pulled this off. With the buzz going around on the film, this is just the beginning and it’s on its way of becoming the biggest cult film ever,” Dias said.

While the Sanjay Dutt-Bipasha Basu starrer Lamhaa opened to occupancy of between 15 to 20 per cent and collected Rs 57.50 million over the weekend, nothing can be foretold of its future yet.

Tere Bin Laden grossed over Rs 35 million in its opening weekend from 344 screens all over India. Encouraged by the strong response, the distributor of the film, BSK Network and Entertainment, has now planned to widen the film’s release by additional 40 to 50 prints in the second week.

Debutant director Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan opened to occupancy of between 35 to 40 per cent and promises to go well with the elite audience in the coming days. The film managed to collect Rs 11.50 million.

Says Cinemax India president - sales, marketing and operations Devang Sampat, “Inception has definitely opened better than the three Hindi films. It opened well at our locations and almost everybody had praised the film. I got inputs from celebs and regular cinegoers who are raving about this amazing Christopher Nolan film. Udaan and Tere Bin Laden should pick up in the coming days but as for Lamhaa we have to wait and watch since it has got mixed reviews.”

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