Reliance Big Pictures’ 3 Idiots has broken all previous international box office records for Hindi features. The film, released on Christmas Day, had grossed $52m (R2.4bn) worldwide by January 3.

The Vidhu Vinod Chopra production has been released on 2126 screens worldwide, which the widest release for any Indian film to date. A provocative comedy, 3 Idiots follows two friends who go on a quest to find a third, lost friend, which in turn sends them on a trip down memory lane. Raj Kumar Hirani directed and Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Madhavan and Sharman Joshi star.

In ten days, the film has taken $4.7m in North America, $2.3m in the Middle East, $1.8m in the UK and $800,000 in Australia.

Kamal Gianchandani, COO distribution, Reliance Big Pictures said, “With movie marketing spending spiraling upwards, and with shelf life at the cinemas becoming shorter, it’s imperative to go out ‘wide’ with the initial theatrical release. 3 Idiots was clearly the most awaited film of the year, also Aamir Khan’s next after a very successful Ghajini, these were compelling reasons for staging an ‘ultra wide’ release.”

After a dull year at the box office, 3 Idiots provided a stronger end to 2009. The trade is pinning its hopes on a few films to bolster 2010, including Fox Star’s My Name is Khan (February 12), Reliance Big Pictures’ Kites’ (May 14) and Raavan, due this summer.