The box office power of Bollywood showed itself this weekend as Saawariya emerged the surprise No. 1 hit internationally, outgrossing Tom Cruise's Lions for Lambs by more than $5 million.
Saawariya, a nearly three-hour musical in Hindi with English subtitles based on Dostoyevsky's White Nights, brought in an estimated $15.4 million from 13 markets. Almost all of the gross came from India. North America chipped in about $600,000,
Lions, director Robert Redford's reading of contemporary events in Washington and the Middle East, took in just $10.3 million from 45 markets. The film also opened at No. 4 in North America with a modest $6.7 million.
Negative reviews in the U.K. and other parts of Europe inhibited the Lions tally. Early estimates show that the film failed to commandingly finish first in any of its opening territories, and it finished outside the top 5 in the U.K., ranking sixth with $1.4 million. 20th Century Fox International, which is releasing the film overseas, expressed disappointment in some markets.
Third place went to the Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid, which grossed $8.6 million from 25 markets. The overseas total rose to $41 million.
Ratatouille, the top overseas grosser for the preceding five weekends, fell to No. 4 with $8.1 million from 31 territories as its lengthy foreign campaign wound down. Its overseas gross stands at $386.5 million.
Resident Evil: Extinction was fifth with $5.7 million, raising its overseas haul to $81.5 million.