As Academy Award contenders fanned out overseas, Oscar-related films commanded the foreign theatrical circuit over the weekend with Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained leading the pack for the second consecutive round — grossing $43.1 million at 6,421 screens in 62 markets, and elevating the film’s international cume past the $100-mllion mark ($111.6 million).
Unchained ranked No. 1 in at least 17 markets despite harsh winter weather in much of Europe. For the second straight round the biggest single market remained Germany where the film retained the No. 1 spot with a mighty $7.9 million drawn from 804 locations, down about 11% from the opening round.
As per Sony, the Germany market cume ($20.9 million) has already matched the total market take of the director’s 2009 war drama Inglourious Basterds (which generated slightly more than $200 million in total overseas box office, about 60% of its worldwide gross).
The action western costarring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz (a Vienna native) and Leonardo Di Caprio, adorned with five Oscar nominations, remained No. 1 in France ($6.8 million from 645 spots, cume $16.7 million) while a No. 1 opening in Australia delivered $4 million at 330 sites, a third bigger than the market opening of Basterds. A No. 2 second U.K. round registered $3.8 million at 458 sites, down just 14%, for a market cume of $11.3 million.
A sensational China bow catapulted Skyfall back into the top rungs after nearly fourth months of overseas playtime. The Sony/MGM release of the James Bond sequel, which possesses five Oscar nominations, grossed $35.66 million in its first full frame at 8,079 China venues. On 100 IMAX screens, the gross was $2.5 million.
Marginal returns from a ninth round in Australia plus playtime in 29 other markets pushed the weekend total to $35.4 million from 8,9 14 locations. Skyfall’s foreign cume is now $776.8 million, making the 007 sequel the sixth biggest overseas grosser of all time.
Introducing itself to an expanded foreign audience in its second weekend of overseas play, Steven Spielberg’s historical epic Lincoln with its dozen Oscar nominations drew $10.8 million from 2,740 locations in 22 markets, lifting the Twentieth Century Fox release’s early overseas cume to $14.8 million.
Top debut markets were the U.K. (No. 3 with $2.6 million from 511 spots for a nearly $5,500 per screen average) and Italy (No. 2 with $2.8 million at 421 situations for a nearly $6,700 per screen average). Fox opens Lincoln in 22 markets this week including France and Holland.
Fox’s release of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi with its 11 Oscar nominations flew past the $400-million overseas gross mark ($423.3 million) thanks to an $18.5 million weekend at 6,672 spots in 60 markets. The film’s Japan opening registered a smashing $4.6 million at 713 locations. Pi continues its remunerative foreign journey that will conclude in Venezuela on Feb. 8.
Director Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, also enlarged its foreign footprint via Universal, which is handling the film in many overseas markets. A No. 5 U.K. debut at 434 playdates drew $1.65 million, the biggest market opening gross for a Bigelow title. In France, Zero generated $1.5 million at 294 locations, sufficient for a third-place market ranking.
Aggregate weekend tally was $3.7 million derived from 1,027 situations in five territories, pushing the Universal foreign gross total to $7.8 million to date. Zero opens in Germany, German-speaking Switzerland, Austria and Sweden this week.
Paramount opened Flight, the aviation drama starring best-actor nominee Denzel Washington, in seven territories (with another four markets handled by StudioCanal and Tripictures) for an overall weekend tally of $2.4 million drawn from 613 venues. The film’s early international gross total stands at $8.5 million.
Summit/Lionsgate’s The Impossible, costarring best actress nominee Naomi Watts, grossed $8 million on the weekend at some 3,000 venues in 49 markets. International cume for the tsunami disaster film has passed the $100-million mark ($119 million). An Australia opening generated $1.1 million at 168 spots, sufficient for a No. 3 market ranking.
Universal Les Miserables, with its eight Oscar nominations, grossed $14.2 million on the weekend at 2,777 situations in 33 markets, pushing the musical’s foreign gross total to $176.7 million and $314.2 million worldwide. There were openings in four, mostly smaller markets. The Japan holdover was strong with Les Mis coming in at No. 3 in the market ($1.8 million at 357 dates for a 37-day market cume of $43.5 million). Debuts in five territories including Brazil and Italy are due this week.
Best non-Oscar related new title was Hansel and Gretel: The Witch Hunters, Paramount/MGM’s 3D co-production distributed overseas by the former. With Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton portraying the title pair as bounty hunters, the film drew $25.3 million from 2,987 cinemas in 20 markets, bringing the action title’s early foreign cume to $36.3 million over two stanzas.
The film ranked No. 1 in 18 of its 19 opening markets, as per Paramount. Witch Hunters remained tops in Russia ($4.75 million at 970 spots for a market cume of $15.6 million) while its biggest opening was in Brazil ($4.5 million at 366 locations). Mexico provided $3.7 million at 572 sites. Openings in at least 15 markets including India and New Zealand are on tap this week.
Warner Bros.’ release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey grossed $7.8 million on the weekend at some 4,500 sites, pushing the cume for director-producer Peter Jackson’s epic to $647 million. The same distrib’s crime drama, Gangster Squad, yielded $6.7 million at 2,495 spots in 33 markets, pushing its gross total to $28.3 million. A Russia bow generated $2.2 million at 844 situations.
The slow rollout of Disney’s animation title, Wreck-It Ralph, pushed the foreign tally past the films’s domestic gross for the first time. Weekend action offshore was $5.9 million grossed in 61 territories, lifting the foreign cume to $185.8 million. (Domestic cume stands at $182.5 million.)
Paramount’s Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise registered $4.3 million in its sixth overseas round at 3,520 sites in 54 markets. International cume stands at $106 million.
Universal’s smash comedy Ted grabbed the No. 1 Japan spot for the second consecutive frame, grossing $3.7 million at 138 dates for a 10-day market cume of $11.8 million. The film’s foreign gross total stands at $296.8 million, and will cross the $300-million mark this week.
South Korea, always strongly represented with local films, was dominated on the weekend by director Hwan-gyeong Lee’s Miracle in Cell 7, about an imprisoned, mentally-challenged father and his young daughter. The comedy-drama opened via Next Ent. World at 769 screens, and took about 42% of the weekend business, grossing $11.2 million in its opening launch.
Lionsgate’s release of The Last Stand, the action vehicle starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, grossed $3.6million in its second round overseas at 1,500 screens in 25 markets. Early cume stands at $8.5 million.
Other international cumes: DreamWorks/Paramount’s Rise of the Guardians, $194.9 million; Universal’s Mama, $2.8 million; Sony’s Hotel Transylvania, $176.7 million; Universal’s This Is 40, $4.9 million; Fox’s Parental Guidance, $34.8 million; Universal’s Anna Karenina, $37 million; Fox’s Break Up Man, $14.5 million in two markets; Universal’s Pitch Perfect, $43.3 million; and Pathe’s Alceste a Bicyclette, $4.5 million in France only.
Also, Hyde Park on Hudson, $866,615; Universal’s ParaNorman, $50.6 million; Cloud Atlas, $17.2 million in Focus Features territories only; and Focus Features’ Moonrise Kingdom, $21.5 million.