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‘Dilwale,’ ‘Bajirao Mastani’ Carve up Bollywood Box Office

Star-laden Bollywood behemoths, “Dilwale” and “Bajirao Mastani” clashed at the Indian and overseas box office from Dec. 18. Both earned a decent share of the spoils over the weekend.

Rohit Shetty’s romantic action comedy “Dilwale”, starring the hit pair of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol won the weekend despite some poor reviews. It collected $9.8 million in India and $8.5 million internationally, including $1.88 million in the U.S. and $1 million in the U.K. Produced by Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and Rohit Shetty Productions, “Dilwale” cost approximately $15 million to make. The film is Red Chillies’ first foray into Indian distribution. Disney’s UTV distributed overseas.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical epic “Bajirao Mastani”, starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, opened to positive reviews and took $7.05 million in India. Overseas numbers totaled $4.5 million, with the film having taken an estimated $1.66 million in the U.S. and $446,000 in the U.K. Produced by SLB Films and distributed worldwide by Eros International, the film cost some $19 million to make.

Both films cracked the U.S. box office top 10 with “Dilwale” bowing in the ninth position and “Bajirao Mastani” in the tenth.

In India, the films shared the roughly 5,000 screens available for Bollywood films in a 60:40 ratio in favour of “Dilwale.”

What could eventually swing the overseas pendulum in favour of “Bajirao Mastani” is China. Eros has brokered a 6,000 screen release in the territory for 2016, Variety has been told.

Given the strong opening weekend for the two films, it remains to be seen how many screens “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will be able to wrest from Bollywood when it opens in India on Christmas Day.

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