'Fast' retains top spot at int'l boxoffice
Universal film adds another $15.2 mil in third weekendFlu outbreak closes theaters in Mexico
Domestic filmgoers 'Obsessed' over the weekend
The international circuit's pre-summer warmup ended with Universal's "Fast & Furious" driving to its third straight No. 1 weekend with an estimated $15.2 million from 6,340 screens in 59 territories for an overseas gross total of $170 million.
Beginning this week, big-studio seasonal tentpoles take center stage, commencing huge offshore rollouts usually day-and-date with respective domestic openings.
Mexico's flu outbreak is ravaging film attendance and boxoffice. Compared with boxoffice and attendance totals for the top 10 market titles in April 10-12 weekend, the April 24-26 frame's top 10 total boxoffice plummeted by more than two-thirds while attendance dropped nearly 70%.
Mexico is described as a "very important" foreign market by one studio source, who ranks it "near the bottom" of the top 10 biggest territories for the six majors. Sony says Mexico was its ninth-biggest overseas market in 2008. The absence of robust figures from the territory will certainly crimp overseas boxoffice action for the earlier summer releases.
First up from 20th Century Fox and Marvel Enterprises will be "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," a sci-fi fantasy with Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber, which bows Friday in about 10,000 screens across 100 territories, according to Fox.
On May 8, director J.J. Abrams' new-generation "Star Trek," with Chris Pine as a young Captain Kirk, British actor Simon Pegg as Scotty and Zachary Quinto as Spock, takes off via Paramount at nearly 7,000 screens in 50 international markets, excluding five mostly Asian territories including Japan (where the opening is set for May 29) and Hong Kong (June 4).
Director Ron Howard's "Angels & Demons," based on a Dan Brown novel and a prequel of 2006's "The Da Vinci Code, opens May 15 via Sony on more than 12,000 offshore screens. "The Da Vinci Code" was huge overseas, grossing $539.7 million, making it the 15th-biggest foreign boxoffice earner ever.
Sony's sci-fi actioner "Terminator Salvation," the fourth "Terminator" title, starring Christian Bale, opens domestically May 21 and kicks off overseas a week later in nine Asian markets plus the Middle East. Then the film expands at more than 12,000 screens in the rest of world June 3-5 (Japan opens June 13).
Fox's "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," the Ben Stiller comedy sequel to its 2006 predecessor, opens most foreign markets May 21. According to the distributor, the blastoff will cover around 10,000 screens in about 100 territories. The first "Night at the Museum" grossed a total of $323.6 million overseas.
After opening the 62nd Festival de Cannes on May 13, Pixar/Disney's animation 3-D outing "Up" begins a seven-month tour on the foreign circuit May 29 in Mexico. As with the international campaigns for "WALL-E" and "Ratatouille," the "Up" release schedule is primarily designed to capitalize on school vacation periods at various times overseas. France and Korea open in July, Germany and Australia are due in September, and the U.K., Sweden and Italy are set for October introductions, with a Japan bow set for Dec. 5.
Second on the weekend was DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Monsters vs. Aliens," which opened in Korea ($1.1 million from 302 screens) and drew $9.8 million overall from 5,494 locations in 59 markets for an overseas cume of $142 million.
Third was New Line's comedy "17 Again," with Zac Efron and Matthew Perry, which premiered in eight territories, including France ($2.7 million from 392 sites) for a weekend total of $6.3 million from 1,415 situations in 17 markets. Overseas cume is $27.7 million. At No. 4 was Summit's "Knowing," starring Nicolas Cage, which drew $5.9 million from 3,123 sites in 34 markets for a cume of $66.7 million.
A No. 1 U.K. opening for Working Title/Universal's newspaper drama "State of Play" ($2.4 million from 396 sites) powered the Russell Crowe vehicle to a No. 5 ranking and $3.6 on the weekend from a total of 782 locations in five markets for an early overseas cume of $6.1 million.
Warners' "Gran Torino" with Clint Eastwood is nudging the $100 million total gross mark ($99.5 million) thanks to a $3.6 million weekend at 2,005 screens in 49 markets. Disney's "Race to Witch Mountain," starring Dwayne Johnson, finished at No. 2 in its second Spain frame and nabbed $3.1 million overall from 2,538 screens in 31 territories for a cume of $29.6 million.
Despite openings in 14 markets, DreamWorks/Paramount's "I Love You, Man," starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, grossed a mild-mannered $2.2 million from a total of 1,056 screens in 16 markets for a cume of $4.9 million so far. Disney's "Earth," which opened at No. 5 in the U.S., has been playing overseas since last year and added $700,000 over the weekend from 260 sites in Italy, Brazil and Argentina. Its overseas cume stands at $43.9 million, of which $33.2 million emanates from Germany.
"Slumdog Millionaire," which zipped past the $200 million gross mark last week, exceeded $210 million this round thanks largely to second-round action in Japan ($1 million from 120 spots for a market cume of $3.6 million). In Germany, the multiple Oscar winner grabbed the No. 2 weekend spot, raising its cume there to $12.6 million. Worldwide tally now stands at $352 million.
In Germany and in Austria, Lionsgate/Lakeshore Entertainment's "Crank: High Voltage" retained the No. 1 market position in its second frame in each market. Germany provided $988,000 from 405 sites for a cume of $4.7 million .
Local films on the weekend reigned in Spain and France. Fernando Gonzalez' "Fuga de Cerebros" was No. 1 in the former with a weekend take of $1.6 million from 258 sites. Top France spot went to comedy "OSS 117: Rio ne respond plus," which drew $3.9 million from 602 screens for a second weekend market cume of $12.5 million.
Also in France, Warner Bros. released "Coco Avant Chanel," director Anne Fontaine's film biography of the fashion icon starring Audrey Tautou. Opening take was a muscular $2.8 million from 424 screens.
Other international cumes: Disney's "Confessions of a Shopaholic," $56.1 million; Universal's "Duplicity," $26.5 million; Miramax/Disney's "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," $30.8 million; New Line's "He's Just Not That Into You," $66.7 million (vs. $93.3 million domestic); Sony's "The International," $28.4 million; Universal's "The Boat That Rocked," $14.6 million; New Line's "Inkheart," $38.2 million (domestic $16.2 million); Sony's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," $30.6 million; New Line's "Appaloosa," $7.3 million (vs. $20.1 million domestic; Paramount's "Watchmen," $75 million; and Focus Features/Universal's "Milk," $21.4 million.