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While theatrical exhibition in Japan slowly mends, a robust weekend in China provided the box office muscle propelling Battle: Los Angeles over the weekend to its second consecutive No. 1 finish on the foreign circuit.
Sony’s special effects extravaganza about U.S. Marines fending off invading aliens drew almost half its total weekend overseas take — $16 million from 7,509 screens in 55 territories — from China, where the first place weekend tally was $7.4 million from 3,968 locations.
Also, Battle opened No. 1 in Venezuela, New Zealand and Vietnam. Since it opened theatrically overseas on March 9, the film has grossed a total of $79.3 million of which $24.2 million stems from China.
Warner Bros. opened Sucker Punch, director Zack Snyder’s action-fantasy-thriller, at 2,175 locations in 23 foreign markets for a lackluster $6.5 million — $900,000 less than Sunday’s projection — or slightly less than a $3,000 per-screen average. Top territory was Italy ($726,000 from 279 screens). It still ranked No. 4 on the weekend.
Opening No. 1 in France — where Johnny Depp is popular — and No. 2 overall was Paramount’s Rango, which collected a total weekend take of $15.35 million drawn from 5,610 in 47 territories for a foreign gross total so far of $94.4 million. The animation title voiced by Depp in the title role registered $4.2 million in France from 626 situations.
While the exhibition conditions in Japan are improving, the situation there is still putting off distributors of international titles.
Japanese importer Toho-Towa, which has a local distribution deal with Universal, has indefinitely postponed the April 23 market opening of Sanctum, co-produced by James Cameron. The Universal-Relativity Media title’s “powerful scenes of (a tropical storm) and its victims are inappropriate to show to the Japanese audience at this time,” said Universal.
Japanese distributor Shochiku scrubbed the March 26 opening of Media Asia-China Film Group’s Chinese import, Aftershock, an “epic” story about a family separation during a major earthquake.
Warner Bros. pulled director Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter from the market because it shows the aftermath of a tsunami. Warner’s also scratched the scheduled opening of supernatural horror title Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins. Sony’s April 1 opening date in Japan for Battle: Los Angeles was also postponed.
According to reports from the territory, about 40 to 50 theaters in northern Japan and in the Tokyo metropolitan area were closed on the weekend. Estimates have the Japan market — the world’s largest outside the U.S. and Canada — to currently be at 75% to 80% of capacity, and expect it to reach 85% of capacity by mid-April.
That’s good news to Warner Bros. since, according to Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, president of international distribution, the company is going full speed ahead with its April 15 Japan opening of Sucker Punch.
An estimated 23% boost in weekend Japan results for Disney Animation’s Tangled ($2.6 million from 531 locations for a cume of $11.4 million) indicates the market is on the upswing, as is the result for Paramount’s True Grit (holding more or less steady at $201,279 from 39 sites, cume $821,617 over two rounds).
On the weekend overall, Tangled pulled $3.6 million from 2,105 situations in 33 markets for a foreign gross total of $368 million. True Grit, the Coen brothers’ western update, drew $1.43 million overall from 1,183 spots in 34 markets, pushing its overseas cume to $74.4 million.
The Japan tally for 20th Century Fox’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader dipped a relatively meager seven percent from the prior weekend, drawing $1.45 million from 670 situations for a market cume of $25 million, pushing the film’s foreign gross total to $304.7 million.
Sony’s The Tourist dipped just 9% in its fourth Japan round, drawing $1.3 million from 294 spots for a market cume of $15.4 million. Total overseas gross is $203.5 million.
Taking the top spot in the U.K. and Ireland via Paramount was Relativity Media-Intermedia’s Limitless. Weekend action for director Neil Burger’s mystery thriller costarring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro registered $3.34 million from 364 locations. Weekend overall provided an estimated $5 million from openings in six markets (including the U.K. and Ireland) for an early international cume of $11.9 million.
No. 2 in the U.K. and Ireland market was Belgium-made A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures, an English-language animation title with a global warming slant. The opening round via Optimum Releasing drew $1.8 million from 405 screens.
Also new to the U.K. was Universal’s release of Focus Features’ The Eagle, a period adventure-drama set in Roman times, which collected $1.66 million from 435 situations and a No. 3 market ranking. The title has played for four rounds in some European markets , and has rolled up an early cume of $9 million.
Ranking No. 3 on the weekend was Sony’s Just Go With It, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, which had a No. 1 Russia debut ($4.2 million drawn from 544 locales) and registered $8.9 million on the weekend overall from 2,179 locations in 37 markets. Foreign gross total to date stands at $62.6 million.
Continuing muscular foreign playoff, Oscar winner The King’s Speech pushed its overseas gross total to $238.2 million thanks to a $8.1 million weekend at 3,978 screens in 41 markets. Fifth round of Japan playoff provided $787,389 from 133 locations for a market cume of $15.8 million. Speech ranked No. 4 on the weekend overall.
Opening No. 2 in France ($2 million from 400 locations) was Universal’s romance-thriller The Adjustment Bureau, which collected $5.4 million on the weekend overall at 2,174 situations in 44 markets. Foreign cume for the Matt Damon vehicle comes to $39.5 million.
Fox’s Black Swan starring Natalie Portman hoisted its overseas gross total to $182.1 million thanks to a $3.6 million weekend at 3,977 screens in 34 markets. Same distrib’s Martin Lawrence comedy Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son grossed $3 million from 1,783 situations in 35 markets for a cume of $34.3 million.
Gnomeo & Juliet, the animation reworking of Shakespeare, opened No. 1 in Austria and in Germany ($2.7 million at some 584 locations) via Disney, and collected $5.6 million from all distributors. Foreign cume from all sources including Pathe and third-party affiliates comes to $65.2 million of which $24.7 million was derived from Disney-handled territories.
Warner’s period horror title, Red Riding Hood starring Amanda Seyfried, generated $4.1 million at 1,200 spots in 13 territories for an early foreign cume of $11.2 million. Paramount’s romantic comedy No Strings Attached costarring Natlie Portman and Ashton Kutcher pushed its foreign gross total to $64.2 million thanks to a $4 million weekend at 1,427 screens in 35 markets.
Top local language title in France was No.3-ranked Ma part du gateau (My Slice of the Cake), which collected $1.3 million in its second round at 482 spots. Market cume for the Studio Canal drama comes to $4.7 million.
Other international cumes: Warner’s The Rite, $52.3 million (thanks to a $4.1 million weekend at 1,755 screens in 41 markets); DreamWorks/Disney’s I Am Number Four, $70 million (thanks to a $3 million weekend at 3,526 screens in 42 markets); Universal’s Office Romance, $10.1 million over 11 days in Russia only (thanks to a $2.6 million weekend at 687 sites); Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, $12.8 million (thanks to a $1.9 million weekend at 1,088 spots in 20 markets); and The Weinstein Co.’s The Fighter, $33.8 million.
Warner’s Hall Pass, $18.5 million; Disney’s Mars Needs Moms, $14 million (due to a $3.5 million weekend at 2,058 screens in 25 territories); Universal’s Paul, $30.8 million (after a $2.2 million weekend at 828 situations in eight markets); Fox’s Gulliver’s Travels, $176 million; Focus Features’ Another Year, $14.3 million; Warner’s Torrente 4, $24 million over three rounds in Spain only; SND’s Les femmes du 6eme etage (The Women on the Sixth Floor), $15.4 million over six rounds in France only; Fox’s Never Let Me Go, $5.2 million; Warners and other distributors’ Unknown, $51.2 million; Paramount’s Morning Glory, $23.4 million; Focus Features’ Biutiful, $17.5 million; and The Weinstein Co.’s Piranha 3D, $58.2 million.
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