Washington: India-set comedy "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" opened strong at number three at the US box office with an estimated $8.6 million in its first weekend of release.
India-themed films rarely climb this high on the US box office charts, according to data released by its distributor Fox Searchlight.
Even Hollywood studio films such as "Life of Pi", "The Hundred Foot Journey", and "Million Dollar Arm" never made it to the top three at any time during their runs despite playing in more theatres than Marigold.
"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is the follow-up to the 2012 hit "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" which opened in the US in limited release in 27 theatres before building up interest word-of-mouth and eventually reaching nearly 1,300 theatres nationwide.
It spent seven weeks in the top ten -- peaking at number six -- and finished its US run with $46.4 million.
Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel, Tina Desai and Lillete Dubey, among others, returned for the sequel which added Richard Gere to the cast.
The new film also scored the highest average gross of any film in wide release averaging $5,467 from 1,573 theatres.
After the success of the opening weekend, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" will add more than 200 additional theatres to its run on the second weekend.