Pathaan has breached the £4 million mark in United Kingdom as it sits on around £4.3 million till date and there is a little more to come. This number was just unthinkable before the release of Pathaan as the biggest films were just getting over the £1 million.
It was believed within the UK market that if Shahrukh Khan delivered a good film then the records of Dhoom 3 and Bajrangi Bhaijaan should be in danger and maybe even the £3 million mark. The expectations should have been higher as films were crossing £2 million 15-20 years ago but the market was just not the same as as before.
United Kingdom has always been the main overseas market for Hindi films since the last ten years when it diminished. The circuit has a long history of Hindi releases since the 50's and it was in the mid 60's that releases became regular. Below is the evolution of the United Kingdom market for Hindi films from £100k to £4 million.
100k - Do Raaste (1970) - The first film to break the £100k as it did a share of 9 lakhs and a gross of a little over £100k in United Kingdom. The music of the film was a rage.
£250k - Purab Aur Paschim (1971) - A historic BLOCKBUSTER in UK which was a golden jubilee hit running for over 50 weeks in London. The shows were weekend shows only but this film had a show every week for 50 weeks. The share in United Kingdom was an insane 25 lakhs and the film grossed around £285k.
£500k and £1 million - The Purab Aur Paschim record was finally broken 23 years later with the release of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) which took the market to another level. The market had deteriorated due to video and it was this film that bought the audiences back again and Hindi films started to being consumed in cinemas as well rather than at home. Kum Aapke Hain Hain grossed £1.05 million in United Kingdom.
£1.5 million - After £1 million being breached it was not long that £1.5 million came along as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) crossed the mark the very next year. It was the landmark film which made Shahrukh Khan a huge megastar in United Kingdom and overseas. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge grossed £1.58 million in United Kingdom.
£2 million - This mark was hit in 2001 with Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) which was a rage and remained the biggest grosser for 9 nine years and still probably has the highest number of footfalls for a Hindi film in the modern era in United Kingdom. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham grossed £2.5 million
£3 and £4 million - Pathaan(2023) did the job on both these benchmarks as it takes the business in United Kingdom to another level. It is the biggest blockbuster in UK since Kabhi Khush Kabhie Gham and it is only Shahrukh Khan who can break this record and even target the next benchmark which is £5 million. Pathaan will probably end up with around £4.4 million mark.
Note - There were films like Bobby (1973), Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974) and Dharam Veer (1977) which went close or had a similar share to Purab Aur Paschim but the grosses were lower. It was all rentals then and post the insane success of Purab Aur Pashchim recovery became faster. Dharam Veer had a record initial of £50k in just 23 shows in 5 cities driven by the blockbuster music with two Mohammad Rafi solo's becoming a rage. Even in those days it was the music which could take a film to another level in UK and its pretty much the same today.