Telugu-language epic Baahubali: The Beginning, directed by S.S. Rajamouli, has grossed $20m on its opening weekend in India and broken a string of box office records in both India and the US.
The $40m historical drama, headlined by Telugu stars Prabhas and Rana Daggubati, took $7.8m on its opening day on July 10, breaking the $7m record set by 2014 Hindi hit Happy New Year, starring Shah Rukh Khan.
Baahubali also had the highest opening weekend of any Indian movie at the US box office, grossing around $4.4m from 250 screens. The screen average of around $17,000 was second only to Minions with $27,000.
Among other records, Baahubali also became the fastest Indian movie to reach the Rs1bn ($15.8m) benchmark. The Hindi dubbed version, presented by director-producer Karan Johar, scored the highest first day revenue of any dubbed movie in India, and is also the highest grosser among any Hindi dubbed film with a take of $3.4m.
The film’s distributor for the Indian diaspora has a two-month window on the film, after which an international cut will be shown to non-diaspora sales agents and distributors.
Produced by Arka Mediaworks, the two-part epic was shot at Hyderabad’s Ramoji Film City, other Indian locations and Bulgaria, while John Hughes’ Tau Films and Korea’s Macrograph were among the companies that worked on the extensive VFX sequences in the film.
The story, which is not based on Indian mythology, follows a fictional hero who teams up with a warrior princess to save an imprisoned queen.
The film’s opening weekend figures once again prove the might of the South Indian movie industry, which can often outgross Bollywood – or North India’s Hindi-language film industry – due to a passionate fan base and strongly-established constellation of filmmakers and stars.
S.S. Rajamouli’s previous credits include period epic Warrior (Magadheera) and high-concept drama Fly (Eega), which both grossed more than $16m (Rs1bn) worldwide.