'Cloud Atlas' Poised for International Comeback

6:39 AM PST 11/12/2012 by Scott Roxborough

The fantasy epic grosses more than $10 million in its first international berths in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

COLOGNE, Germany -- Cloud Atlas might have fallen to Earth domestically, but the fantasy epic could be reborn overseas if its performance in Russia and Ukraine is any indication.

The ambitious multilayered drama directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and German helmer Tom Tykwer grossed $9.7 million in Russia and Ukraine over the weekend, the first two territories on its international rollout. Together, the two Eastern European markets outperformed Cloud Atlas' bow in North America, where the Warner Bros. title earned about $9.6 million on its opening weekend.

The film's impressive $9.1 million (RUB 282 million) opener in Russia, on more than 1,400 screens, was enough to secure the No. 1 slot in the territory. The film beat out all competitors including Ben Affleck's Argo, which knocked Cloud Atlas into second slot in its domestic debut. Cloud Atlas' Russian bow, is blockbuster size for the territory. The new James Bond film, Skyfall, opened at $8.6 million in Russia.

“I always believed in the film ... we treated it like a blockbuster in Russia and got tremendous support from the exhibitors and our studio partner 20th Century Fox Russia,” Alexander van Dulmen, whose A Film Russia released Cloud Atlas there. “It was a tremendous marketing achievement. Personally, I'm extremely pleased that a brainy movie like this one has done so well in Russia.”

Van Dulmen also praised Ukrainian distributor B&H Film, which bowed Cloud Atlas on 120 screens.

Cloud Atlas' strong performance in Russia bodes well for the film as its picks up its international rollout. X Verleih, the distribution arm of Cloud Atlas' Berlin-based producers X Filme, will bow the film on about 600 screens in Germany on Nov. 15. The release, which X Verleih is handling together with Warner Bros. Germany, is a tentpole equivalent in the territory. Sony Pictures released Skyfall on 789 copies in Germany.

Commenting on Cloud Atlas' strong international start, the film's producers, Stefan Arndt and Grant Hill, said they were “delighted that our the first international releases are repaying our belief in this special film.” In addition to Russia and Ukraine, Cloud Atlas pulled in an additional $1 million from Turkey.

All eyes are now on Germany, where Cloud Atlas will have to face off against Skyfall. The new Bond has delivered the best first and second weekend ever for the franchise in Germany and has sold some 4 million tickets so far in the territory.

Argo, which debuted at No. 6 in Germany on 150 copies, looks less threatening to Cloud Atlas here. But the German release of 3D actioner Dredd, which Universum is bowing together with Disney next weekend, could siphon off a few German sci-fi fans who otherwise would end up in the Cloud Atlas camp.

In North America, Cloud Atlas has so far grossed about $23 million after 17 days.

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