MUMBAI: Twentieth Century Fox International broke new ground this weekend as the overseas distributor and Sanford Panitch’s recently formed local co-production venture, Fox International Productions, celebrated the success of two local co-productions, My Name is Khan and Hot Summer Days. These strong debuts from India and China give Fox the exceptional distinction of simultaneously leading the box office in the two most populous countries in the world.
My Name is Khan’s moving story and powerful performances captivated audiences everywhere; the film’s debut in cinemas marked the biggest Bollywood opening weekend ever in the US, the UK, the UAE, Australia, New Zealand and Holland. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, along with director Karan Johar traveled to London for interviews to support the film’s release there. Khan’s ebullient welcome on the Jonathan Ross show (BBC) marked the first time a Bollywood star has appeared on a top-rated mainstream program in the UK.
My Name is Khan earned an impressive $1.5 million on 91 screens in that market. On 10 February, Khan, Kajol and Johar attended the film’s premiere at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi; the film opened in the top spot in the UAE. The talent then traveled to Germany for the Berlin Film Festival, where fans stood in line all night despite freezing temperatures for the opportunity to view the film.
The warmest reception came from India of course, where My Name is Khan premiered on 12 February and quickly sold out in many cities, within minutes in some areas. In others, the film received a standing ovation. The box office results were astounding; it opened at number one there earning $9.2 million (1,450 screens) to become the biggest Shah Rukh Khan opening ever in India. My Name is Khan has earned an excellent $19 million (including the US, 8 territories and in some pre-sale markets) so far, with Egypt and several other Middle Eastern markets opening this week.
In China, Hot Summer Days was a firecracker at the box office. The film opened as the number one local film at the box office this Chinese New Year weekend with an estimated $3.8 million from 1,250 screens. This achievement is even more remarkable in light of the fact that the holiday weekend was crowded with many local titles all vying for the top spot.
Hot Summer Days premiered in Hong Kong with the primary cast and filmmakers in attendance on 9 February, generating strong buzz and overwhelmingly positive reviews. It opens next in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore and Taiwan.
The film is the first co-production by Fox in China and Fox’s first Chinese-language production.
The cast and guest appearances include some of today’s top superstars from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – Jacky Cheung, Nicholas Tse, René Liu, Vivian Hsu, DaS, Daniel Wu among others – are directed by first time Directors Tony Chan and Wing Shya.
Fox International co-president Paul Hanneman commented, “We are thrilled that these local co-productions are off to such a great start. We look forward to the continued success of these films and of our upcoming local feature slate.” Tomas Jegeus, also co-president of Fox International added, “This achievement would not have been possible without our close partnership with Sanford Panitch’s Fox International Productions and the multidimensional talents of our distribution and marketing teams around the world.”