As expected, it opened to packed houses in India — and across the world — this weekend. But the film has set itself a formidable challenge. If taking on three villains on screen was not enough, producers Sony Pictures have released a record 588 prints simultaneously across India, the biggest number so far by any foreign film, beating the Bond flick Casino Royale, which had started off with 425 prints.
However large the audience it draws, will it be sufficient to fill 588 cinema halls?
Although the initial reactions have been mixed, Spider-Man 3 is already doing brisk business with the over 165 prints (including three IMAX prints) where the dialogue is in English, 261 prints in Hindi, 78 prints each in Tamil and Telugu, and six prints in Bhojpuri — a first-time dubbing experiment in the country.
“The biggest opening for a foreign film in India so far has been for Casino Royale at Rs 14.9 crore,” said Vikramjit Roy, publicity head, Sony Pictures India. “Given the huge release, Spidey 3 should not only cross that figure, but also, over time, go beyond Titanic’s Rs 60-crore haul.”
Titanic remains the largest grossing foreign film in India.
Shalu Sabharwal, head of sales and marketing, PVR, says: “The opening has been as good as any Shah Rukh Khan-starrer. Even the weekday advances are stronger than your average Hindi or English movies. I’d say Spider-Man 3 is a winner.”
A clearer picture on its box-office fate will only emerge on Monday. For now, the kids can be assured of a rivetting weekend. Those who have seen the film have nothing but praise for it. “The movie was good, the special effects are amazing,” said 15- year-old Sagar. “It was better than Spider-Man 2,” said Kanav Mehta, 12.
With the movie now dubbed in Bhojpuri — for new audiences in Bihar and Bengal — perhaps, someday, Spider-Man will find a whole new crime to bust in Bihar.