Backed by Disney's UTV unit, "3 Idiots" team has pushed the right buttons with tale of alien and fake godmen. Aamir Khan’s ‘PK’ Scores at Int’l Box Office, Enrages Religious Groups – Variety
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Aamir Khan’s ‘PK’ Scores at Int’l Box Office, Enrages Religious Groups

HONG KONG — “PK,” a Bollywood drama film that represents a re-teaming of key elements from global hit “3 Idiots,” looks to have set records in a number of markets – despite the controversies it has raised.

The UTV Disney-backed picture stars Aamir Khan and is directed by Rajkumar Hirani and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

Rentrak estimated its global total for its opening weekend at US$25.6 million. That includes some $3.5 million from North America, where it charted as the tenth biggest movie of the session.

Globally it was the fourth biggest film of the weekend behind “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies,” Chinese director Jiang Wen’s “Gone with the Bullets” (on $36 million) and “Might at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”

UTV, which financed the picture and is distributing it in India under the Disney label, says that picture was released on Friday and expanded on Saturday to be the second biggest Saturday gross in Indian history. It grossed US$4.21 million on Friday, followed by US$4.79 million on Saturday for a first two day total of $9.0 million. UTV forecast a record Sunday.

The film sees Khan arrive on earth as a naked and innocent alien who has an ability to easily learn languages, but struggles more in negotiating human customs. En route the picture takes a big swipe at bigots and fraudsters peddling various religions. In a country where religious groups routinely protest film industry targets, “PK” has sent some into a frenzy, with #boycottPK trending on Twitter at one point.

In the U.K. “PK” grossed GBP172,000 on opening Friday, followed by GBP244,000 on Saturday, for a two day total of GBP417,000 ($667,000), according to UTV. That was the best opening day for any Hindi-language film this year and is the fifth biggest Hindi score in the territory.

In Australia, “PK” enjoyed the biggest ever opening day for an Indian film with A$162,000 and A$392,000 (US$323,000) after two days.

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