'Slumdog Millionaire' makes $43 mn to jump back in US Top 10

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Washington, Jan 19 (IANS) Following its sweep of the Golden Globe Awards, British director Danny Boyle's hit film "Slumdog Millionaire" has jumped back into the North American Top Ten with a 56 percent increase in its weekend sales.

With an estimated gross of $5,900,000 over the Jan 16-18 weekend, the Mumbai-shot and set film in its tenth week even surpassed the total grosses of Akshay Kumar's "Chandni Chowk to China", Aamir Khan's "Ghajini" and Shahrukh Khan's "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" combined in the US.

Running in 582 theatres across US, down 19 from last weekend, the film based on Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup's novel "Q&A" registered a per-theatre average of $10,137 to take its total gross to a staggering $42.74 million.

With more mainstream multiplexes interested in playing the film with Golden Globe winning music by Indian music maestro A.R. Rahman now, Fox Searchlight plans to expand its run this Friday to about 1,300 theatres.

After the Golden Globes, the heart warming story of an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who goes on to win a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" game show, is expected to score multiple Oscar nominations when Academy Award nominations are announced Jan 22.

Meanwhile, in a Sunday editorial Washington Times described it as "the kind of movie Hollywood used to make - a film that transmits eternal verities and has universal appeal."

Calling the film "a stinging indictment of a Hollywood culture that is bereft of decent values," the US daily said: "The movie instructs as much as it entertains. It will have enduring value for providing a vivid snapshot of a nation undergoing tumultuous modernization."

The film "stands in sharp contrast to the typical Hollywood fare that encourages promiscuity, greed, individualism and cynicism," it said comparing it with others nominated at the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture, Drama: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road," and "Frost/Nixon."

"Each has artistic merit, but the films are about dreary subjects and have protagonists who have dubious morals at best," the Times said. "'Slumdog Millionaire' demonstrates that if American filmmakers are unwilling to highlight our core values, others will rise to fill that void."

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