Twentieth Century Fox’s 3D adventure Life of Pi — resonating strongly with Asian audiences — has jumped the $80 million mark at the international box office, fueled by strong business in China, Taiwan, India and Hong Kong.
Directed by Ang Lee, born in Taiwan, Life of Pi is heading into its third weekend of play in North America and select foreign markets. Its domestic total is north of $52 million for a worldwide cume of $132.7 million. In China, ticket sales have reached $53 million.
Life of Pi is based on Yann Martel’s best-selling 2001 novel about an Indian boy lost at sea with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Boosted by the movie, the book is expected to unseat Fifty Shades of Grey for the No. 1 spot on The New York Times bestseller list this weekend.
In the film, Pi is played by young Indian actor Suraj Sharma.
Life of Pi’s Indian cume is $7.3 million, a strong number for an American title. Life of Pi has grossed north of $6 million in Taiwan and north of $4 million in Hong Kong.
The big question is how the film will fare as it continues to roll out internationally. Costing $120 million to make and millions more to market, Life of Pi will need to do substantial business worldwide if Fox is to recoup its costs. The studio is hoping that awards buzz for the movie will help increase audience interest and prolong its theatrical run.
Life of Pi still has dozens of foreign markets in which to open. It debuted in Spain last weekend, grossing $2.4 million to come in No. 1.