The Big Picture
- Indian film Leo claimed the top spot at the global box office, grossing $48.5 million in its worldwide debut, surpassing Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon and Taylor Swift’s concert film.
- Leo, a Tamil-language action-thriller, made around $30 million in India in its first weekend, marking the second-biggest opening for a Tamil film ever.
- Leo is not a “Bollywood” film but is part of the Tamil-language film industry, which is distinct from Hindi-language films produced by Bollywood.
While Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon and the concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour grabbed the majority of the spotlight at the global box office this weekend — understandable, considering the built-in “Barbenheimer” comparisons — it was the Indian film Leo that claimed the top spot. With most of its revenue coming from its home country, the Tamil-language action-thriller grossed a reported $48.5 million in its worldwide debut.
By comparison, Scorsese’s three and a half hour epic Western made $21 million from international territories in its first weekend, and $44 million overall. The Eras Tour, on the other hand, added $42 million worldwide — $32 million of which came from domestic theaters — in its second weekend of release. The blockbuster concert film, which documents Swift’s career-spanning live-tour, is receiving an unconventional release — it will play Thursday-Sunday for three weekends, without the involvement of a studio. Scorsese’s epic is equally unconventional, seeing as it’s essentially a streaming movie that’s getting a proper theatrical run.
Directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, Leo grossed around $30 million in India in its first weekend, marking the second-biggest opening for a Tamil-language film ever, behind 2.0. By comparison, the recent blockbuster Jawan grossed around $40 million in its first weekend in India, and approximately $80 million worldwide. Domestically, Leo grossed $2.8 million in its first weekend, and around $4.6 million across its extended five-day debut. This is the sixth-biggest debut for an Indian film in the U.S., ahead of Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva ($4.5 million), and behind Padmaavat ($5 million), Jawan ($7.5 million), Pathaan and RRR ($9.5 million), and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion ($10 million).
Leo Isn’t a “Bollywood” Film
Starring the mononymous Vijay, who is referred to as the “Thalapathy” — meaning “chief” — by his fans, Leo was one of the most anticipated films of the year. It features the superstar playing a mild-mannered café owner who is pulled back into a life of crime in a story inspired by David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. Much of the surrounding intrigue stemmed from whether Leo was a part of an ever-expanding shared cinematic universe of films, all directed by Kanagaraj. Previous installments include the chase thriller Kaithi and the police procedural Vikram, both of which were major blockbusters.
Each of these films hails from the Tamil-language film industry, based in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This isn’t “Bollywood,” which is a term used for the Hindi-language film industry that produces films such as SRK’s Pathaan. Jawan, on the other hand, is something of a hybrid; filmed in Hindi, but directed by Tamil filmmaker Atlee, who injected it with his own south Indian sensibilities. Leo also stars Sanjay Dutt (who incidentally also appeared in a cameo in Jawan), Trisha Krishnan, Gautham Vasudev Menon, George Maryan and Madonna Sebastian. Stay tuned to Collider for more updates.