Disney takes $41 mil from 'HSM3' overseas

Best October opening ever in international market

Christmas arrived early for Disney as teenagers the world over swarmed to "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," celebrating the first big-screen sequel of the acclaimed Disney Channel originals with a weekend take of $41 million from 3,163 screens in 19 countries.

It was the biggest October opening ever in the international market and the biggest-ever overseas bow for a musical (beating "Mamma Mia!'s" $26 million debut), according to Disney International. It also claimed an average market share of more than 40% in each of its markets.

In the U.K., where the telefilms and best-selling album established a massive fan base for the franchise, "HSM3" hit the top with $13.7 million from 494 screens. Germany pulled in $5.9 million from 547; Spain, $5.1 million from 547; France, $3.8 million; Brazil, $1.7 million from 212; Denmark, $1.2 from 93; and Norway, $1.1 million from 90.

Whether the teen appeal of "HSM3" can help it reach the heights obtained by the female-driven "Mamma Mia!" remains questionable. At the moment, "HSM3" has October half-term school holidays going for it in several European markets, and will open in new markets from now through the end of the year -- winding up Feb. 7 in Japan.

While "HSM3" dominated the international market, a number of recent newcomers also came in with satisfactory results. The Coen brothers' crime comedy "Burn After Reading" tied Fox action-thriller "Max Payne" at $9 million, with "Burn's" weekend total coming from 1,900 screens in 20 markets and "Payne's" from 2,355 in 44.

Last week's No. 1, Paramount's Shia LaBeouf starrer "Eagle Eye," fell to No. 4 with $6.4 million from 2,645 screens in 42 markets for a cume-to-date of $56.9 million.

Rounding out the weekend's top five was the latest in Lionsgate's popular horror franchise, "Saw V," which scared up $6.1 million from 940 prints in nine territories. The U.K., where it finished second to "HSM3," delivered $3.8 million from 367. It also claimed second in Australia, finishing behind "Burn" with $810,000 from 199.

"Burn," a split-rights international release to which Universal holds 16 territories, grossed $5.3 million in its six Uni markets, with the estimated weekend take of $9 million including 14 territories handled by local distributors.

The Russian film "Koltchak," distributed by Fox International, dropped out of the top five after a three-week hold, taking in $4.1 million from Russia and Ukraine and reaching a cume of $34 million.

Warner Bros.' release of the Woody Allen film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" dropped only 26% in its third weekend in France, grossing $2 million from 442 prints for a cume-to-date of $9.9 million.

"Ghost Town," starring British comedy star Ricky Gervais, opened at No. 4 in the U.K. to $2.1 million from 343 screens.

Disney's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" held on to first place in Mexico for a fourth straight week, earning $544,000 from 397 screens for a market cume of $6.9 million.

More weekend action: "WALL-E," $4.6 million (cume: $256.4 million); "Mamma Mia!," $4.1 million (cume: $408.7 million); "Tropic Thunder," $4.1 million (cume: $65.4 million); "Nights in Rodanthe," $3.6 million (cume: $18 million); "Body of Lies," $2.1 million (cume: $8.9 million); "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," $2 million (cume: $79.1 million); and "The House Bunny," $2.1 million (cume: $16.9 million).

"Journey to the Center of the Earth," released by New Line International Releasing via territorial distributors starting in July, has chalked up a foreign gross of $95.3 million while playing on both 3-D and traditional 2-D screens. The 3-D bookings have brought in $36.4 million from 469 screens, while the 2-D dates have earned $58.9 million from 3,279. Markets yet to open include Germany/Austria, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.
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