Aamir Khan-starrer PK has become the first Indian movie to make and break the Rs 100 crore-barrier in China, a movie market dominated by Hollywood blockbusters and the Mainland’s own historical costume dramas and martial art films.
PK, described by the Chinese media as a fantasy-comedy, is running in more than 1200 theatres across China in the third week of its release.
It has so far made around 100 million Yuan or a little over $ 16 million and is expected to run for two more weeks.
“Indian science fiction comedy PK has scored 8.3 points on one of China’s biggest film reviewing websites Douban since its release in China on May 22. After emerging as the highest-grossing Indian movie ever with a box office of $101 million globally, it is standing high in the favour of the Chinese public,” Wang Xiaonan recently wrote for the state-run Global Times newspaper.
Reaction to the movie, dubbed in Chinese for the local audience, has been positive with many saying that they appreciated the protagonist’s sense of bewilderment in a complex society.
According to the movie’s promoters in China, it is rare for a non-Hollywood movie or non-Chinese movie to cross the 100 million Yuan-mark in China.
Even Korean and Japanese movies struggle to make it though the box office here is being currently ruled by the Japanese animation movie “Stand by me Doraemon”.
PK’s success in China is also rare because unlike in the US or UK, the size of the Indian diaspora is much smaller.
“China is not an Indian diaspora market. It is very encouraging to know that unlike in the US, here Chinese audiences are watching the movie. The movie has broken new grounds for an India film,” Prasad Shetty from NPRG which promoted PK here told HT.
Besides word-of-mouth publicity for the movie among the Chinese, a strong “Hollywood-style” marketing strategy helped PK’s popularity – Aamir himself came here to promote it in May.
The movie was featured at prime time news slots on national broadcaster, CCTV and Chinese actor Wang Baoqiang, who dubbed for Aamir, promoted it among his 11 million followers on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. Aamir appeared on the popular television chat programme, called Tonight 80’s Talk Show, to talk about PK.