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Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Chennai Express’ Is B.O. Locomotive: UPDATED

2nd UPDATE: Eid holiday release claims opening records in India, U.S., UK.

HONG KONG — Shah Rukh Khan’s escapist Eid holiday picture “Chennai Express” has taken off like a runaway train in both India and international markets.

In India, the film enjoyed a first-day score box office score of rupees 331 million ($5.42 million) and a two-day figure of $11 million, both figures beating “3 Idiots” previous record.

On Sunday distribution sources confirmed that the film had passed the 1 billion rupees mark ($16.5 million), in its first three days of release.

“Though ‘CE’ is playing in the highest number of screens for any film, we still ran out of capacity in most locations due to this huge demand at the box office and the film is on its way to create new benchmarks,” said Gaurav Verma, director of India theatrical distribution, Studios, Disney UTV.

In international markets the film was estimated to have achieved grosses of $1.29 million on Thursday, a figure beaten by $2.3 million on Friday. In several territories the film was shown as paid previews on Thursday, rather than a full release. North America chipped in close to $196,000 on Thursday peaking with $838,207 on Saturday for a weekend cume of $2,416,513, according to Disney UTV.

The film’s U.K. performance was reported as £144,000 ($228,000 ) on Thursday and $422,000 on Friday.

The Gulf region also delivered an estimated $525,000 on Thursday, followed by $600,000 on Friday.

By Monday morning distributors were claiming an $8.25 million total from non-Indian markets for the weekend. That included an estimated $2.1 million from the Gulf, $360 million from Singapore, close to $300,000 from Pakistan, $1.42 million from the U.K., and $2.3 million from the U.S. Additionally, Australia’s Mindblowing Films scored $385,000 for eighth spot in the Oz charts.

“’Chennai Express’ is setting new opening day and paid preview records and benchmarks in most countries. In many cinema chains we’ve added shows and the movie was moved to additional screens and to highest capacity screens,” said Amrita Pandey, executive director, international distribution, studios, at Disney UTV.

The huge scores come despite a mediocre critical reception.

The film, about a fortysomething man who gets on the wrong train and embarks on a series of life changing misadventures with the daughter of a village don, is directed by Rohit Shetty and stars Khan and Deepika Padukone. It is produced by Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment label.

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