Overseas market sees June bloom

Summer blockbusters are spreading their wings

June is bustin' out all over, as the overseas boxoffice helped make up for the 20% drop in May from last May's all-time record performance. Over the weekend, three summer blockbusters topped $20 million, one exceeded $19 million, another came up with $14 million, two surpassed $7 million, and a newcomer pulled in with almost $6 million from a limited release in small markets.

May's decline was attributed to the failure of "Speed Racer" and the fact that neither "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" nor "Iron Man" had as yet played the lucrative Japanese market. "Indiana Jones" showed over the weekend what can be accomplished in Japan, storming the market with $13.1 million from 789 screens to provide a weekend take of $23.2 million, lifting its international gross to $390.5 million and reclaiming its position as the foreign champion.

Universal/Marvel Comics' "The Incredible Hulk" dogged Indy's heels, grossing $23.1 million from 4,693 playdates in 51 markets and raised its international cume to $63.9 million, with $57.6 million coming from territories handled by Universal Pictures International and $6.3 million from Australia and New Zealand (under the aegis of Paramount Pictures International) and Spain (via Sony Pictures Releasing International).

While the femme-appeal romantic comedy counterprogrammers -- "Sex and the City," "What Happens in Vegas" and "Made of Honor" -- have so far weathered the tentpole onslaught in varying degrees, a new batch of comedies seeking wide audiences are beginning to enter the market in the hope of disproving industry belief that comedies don't travel.

Warner Bros.' spy spoof "Get Smart" teed off in a batch of smaller markets, grossing $5.9 million from 1,141 screens. According to Warners, the TV series-based entry ranked No. 1 in Brazil, Taiwan, Singapore, Greece, Chile, Peru, Puerto Rico and Panama, with Brazil recording $1.3 million from 239 prints and Taiwan bowing to $740,000 from 74 prints. "Get Smart" will hit Europe when the European soccer championship ends, arriving in Italy on July 9; France, July 16; the U.K., Aug. 22; and Japan in October.

Adam Sandler's "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" delivered $7.5 million from 1,138 screens in 11 markets, with a No. 1 bow in Australia ($4.1 million from 244 dates) and a No. 2 arrival in Russia ($1.7 million from 290), hailed as the best opening ever in the market for a Sandler film.

The next overseas arrival is Mike Myers' "The Love Guru," which takes off July 10 in Australia and is set for dates up to October.

Continuing to prove that sex can stand up to action, New Line's "Sex and the City" almost matched the weekend hauls of "Indiana Jones" and "Hulk," embracing $21.8 million from 6,319 screens in 53 territories and hoisting its international gross to $170.2 million. New openings included Russia ($3.8 million) and Spain ($2.1 million). "Sex" has delivered $45.8 million from the U.K. and $20.3 million from Germany to date.

Family animation, always a potent summer force -- currently represented by Paramount/DreamWorks' "Kung Fu Panda" -- was high on the boxoffice charts with $19.5 million from 13 markets as it continues its staggered rollout. Cume to date: $67 million.

Last week's champion, the supernatural "The Happening," pulled in $14 million after an estimated 55% drop, not unusual for a saturation release of 5,000-plus screens in more than 60 markets. The M. Night Shyamalan film held the No. 1 position in France for a second weekend, taking in $1.8 million from 550 screens for a market cume of $7.4 million.

Disney's family offering "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" maintained a rapid pace, lifting its cume to $138.8 million as it earned $7.9 million over the weekend from 4,110 screens in 30 markets. The staggered release will reach new heights this weekend when "Prince Caspian" arrives in the U.K. and France.

More weekend activity: "Made of Honor," $3.5 million (cume: $43.8 million); "What Happens in Vegas," $1.8 million (cume: $120.5 million); "21," $2.6 million (cume: $67.3 million); "Speed Racer," $1.1 million (cume: $39.8 million); and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," $1.5 million (cume: $28.7 million).

Get ready for another blast from a comic-book adaptation. Universal/Marvel Comics' "Wanted" opens Friday day-and-date with domestic in 22 territories, including the U.K., Russia and Korea.
comments powered by Disqus