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Lakshya sizzles on US screens

By Viral Bhayani, IANS

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Production house UTV has got a shot in the arm, with its maiden release "Lakshya" opening across 60 screens in the US.

The film collected $380,000 in three days on the weekend starting June 18. Films like "Kal Ho Na Ho" and "Koi Mil Gaya" opened in the North American market with fewer screens compared to "Lakshya", says UTV.

Of the 60 screens where "Lakshya" opened, 18 were with big cinema chains, thereby causing a shift from the Indian-owned theatres where most Hindi films get released.

This trend began in Britain about two years ago when Bollywood films were shown only in Indian-owned screens. But now 95 percent of the prints of Indian movies in Britain are with the big chains and that has impacted positively on the revenue stream for Bollywood films.

UTV claims to be the first company to be directly involved in North America with major mainstream exhibitors such as AMC, Regal, Century, National, Cineplex and Loews. This means they have direct access to over 32,000 screens across North America.

Consequently, the per screen average collections of "Lakshya" in the first week stood at $6,440, with the film ranking fourth among all the releases that weekend and ahead of Harry Potter.

Major theatre chains in the US are looking at this trend as an eye opener, as Indian films are giving them a far better yield per screen than many Hollywood movies.

"Lakshya" ranked 22 nationwide at the US box-office for the weekend of June 18, which included all of the US films such as, "Shrek 2", "Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban" and the Jackie Chan starrer "Around The World 80 Days".

"Lakshya" beat many a sceptic's expectation with the opening 10-day collection of $606,000 in the US and is expected to cross the $1 million mark in the North American box office.


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