With all the hubbub surrounding American movies being exported to China—and the resulting, perceived quality drop—little attention has been paid to another recent development in international film: specifically, the sudden success of some Indian imported movies. Few in America have heard of the film Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, and even fewer are aware the film managed to finish third at the box office the week it came out. Not just the international box office, either: Baahubali 2 finished third in America, beating out other debuting films such as Tom Hanks’ critically panned but star-studded The Circle.
So how does an unknown, foreign film manage to hang with such heavyweights as The Fate of the Furious, one of Paste’s favorite films of the year so far, during Furious’ third week? Firstly, according to the most recent U.S. census data, the Indian-American population has exploded with a 60 percent increase between 2005-2015. This population of over 3.7 million has a strong interest in films from their native country. And secondly, the film’s release was heavily promoted on social media and through emphatic word-of-mouth marketing. Additionally, the original performed well with audiences and critics alike. The sequel built off the former’s successes to give audiences exactly what they were hoping for.
Because of these factors, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion has already become the highest-grossing Indian movie of all time in America. It remains to be seen whether American film companies take notice of this small, but lucrative minority of filmgoers desperate for more films that cater to their culture. There isn’t expected to be a sequel to this film, but that should be fairly obvious, considering the title. Check out the trailer below.