Box Office Report: 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' Repeats as Top Foreign Box Office Champ

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'Zookeeper' debut draws $7.5 million at the foreign box office.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon decisively retained its No. 1 ranking for the second consecutive weekend on the foreign theatrical circuit, registering $92.9 million from 10,901 locations in 53 markets and hoisting its overseas gross total to $383.2 million.

REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

New to the foreign circuit on the weekend was Zookeeper, Sony’s comedy with talking animals starring and coscripted by Kevin James and coproduced by Columbia Picture and MGM. Opening in 19 markets, the film grossed $7 million from 1,460 locations, slightly more than $4,800 per screen. A No. 2 debut in Germany generated $2.75 million from 585 locations.

REVIEW: Zookeeper

While the weekend tally for director Michael Bay’s 3D action extravaganza was down about 58% from its opening round, it racked up strong No. 1 stanzas in a host of key international markets. Korea came in with $14.9 million from 1,274 venues, a 12-day market box office record. The U.K. and Ireland contributed $7.6 million from 522 locations.

Australia also kicked in $7.6 million from 596 spots.  Germany came up with $6.6 million from 620 spots while France registered $5.3 million from 760 venues. Dark of the Moon opens in China on July 21 and eight days later in Japan.

The overseas box office jolt from Dark of the Moon comes at a fortuitous time for the Hollywood’s major studios. Soft first quarter foreign box office for the “big six” – down 23% from 2010 – evened out by June 30, moving slightly ahead of last year’s first half tally by 4%.

Four studios reported first-half offshore box office of $1 billion or more: Disney ($1.487 billion), 20th Century Fox ($1.343 billion), Paramount ($1.292 billion) and Warner Bros. ($1.030 billion). Universal reported first half overseas box office of $725 million, up 9% from 2010.  Sony came in with $717 million, an increase of 85% from last year. (Only Fox and Warner Bros. reported declines from 2010’s first half, 34% for Fox and 8.5% for Warner Bros.)

In all, the “big six” grossed $6.595 billion in the first half. (Calendar 2010 generated record foreign box office of $12.7 billion.)

Powering a strong second quarter – and registering much-higher foreign numbers than in the U.S. and Canada -- was Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which has grossed $774.2 million, three-and-a-third times its domestic tally. Also, Fox’s Rio yielded $333.4 million offshore, nearly two-and-a-half times its domestic gross. (Grosses are as of June 30.)

Other first half tallies of offshore hits (with gross multiples versus respective U.S. and Canada takes): Paramount’s Kung Fu Panda 2 ($356.1 million, more than double); The Hangover Part 2, $291.5 million, about $50 million more than its domestic take); Universal’s Fast Five, ($391 million, nearly double); and Sony’s and other distributors’ The Tourist ($210.7 million, nearly triple its U.S. and Canada total). 

The blazing pace of the opening rounds of 2011’s second half will intensify this week with the initial foreign rollout on Wednesday (July 13) of Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 25 territories. The eighth and presumably final installment of the most lucrative series in film history will be playing in virtually every international market by the coming weekend.

The first seven Harry Potter titles grossed significantly higher amounts offshore than in the U.S. and Canada – of the total of $6.4 billion amassed worldwide, $4.4 billion came from offshore playoff. Top foreign earner to date is the penultimate in the series, 2010’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, which grossed $659 million offshore. With its 3D admission-price advantage overseas, the upcoming Harry Potter is likely to beat that.

Holding at No. 2 on the weekend was Pixar/Disney’s Cars 2, which grossed $26.9 million from 27 territories – about 45% of the international marketplace – for an overseas cume of $121.6 million.  Strong No. 1 openings were recorded in Spain ($3.5 million) and Argentina ($2.6 million.

No. 3 was DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda in 3D, which via Paramount pushed its overseas gross total past the $400-million mark ($404.4 million) thanks to a $14.4 million weekend at 6,267 venues in 50 markets.

Fourth was Sony’s Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz, which had No. 2 openings in Russia ($5.7 million from 545 sites), Spain ($1.8 million from 334 situations) and in the Ukraine.  Overall weekend was $13.2 million from 2,486 screens in 31 markets for an international gross total of $45.9 million.

No. 5 was Fox’s Mr. Popper's Penguins, which opened in 18 markets and drew $10.6 million overall on the weekend from 2,718 screens in 39 territories.  Overseas cume for the Jim Carrey comedy comes to $26 million.

Universal’s Bridesmaids opened in seven markets and drew $7.9 million overall from 1,327 dates in 15 territories.  With 37 foreign markets yet to play the female-oriented comedy has racked up an overseas cume of $48.5 million.

After a $6.5 million weekend, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has amassed a total of $785.4 million foreign ($1.021 billion worldwide). Warner’s The Hangover Part 2 pushed its overseas cume to $310.8 million after a $5.8 million weekend at 3,300 screens in 56 markets.

Summit Int’l.’s Larry Crowne costarring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts drew $4.2 million from some 1,920 screens in 18 markets, bringing its early foreign gross total to $8.4 million. After resolution of a distribution disagreement in the U.K., director Terrance Malik’s Cannes award winner Tree of Life finally opened in the market (in the No. 6 spot) via Fox Searchlight, drawing $646,637 from 75 spots for a per-screen average of $8,622. .

Paramount’s Super 8 passed the $50 million foreign gross mark ($51 million) thanks to a $2.4 million weekend at 1,131 locations in 28 markets. Opening No. 2 in France was Mars Distribution’s Case Depart, a time-shifting comedy from star-codirector-coscripter Frabrice Eboue about a pair of half brothers. Debut round drew $4.3 million from 370 screens.

Fox’s X-Men: First Class zipped past the $200 million foreign gross mark ($202 million) after a $2.5 million weekend at 2,627 screens in 44 markets.  

Other international cumes: Warner Bros.' Green Lantern, $34.3 million; Paramount’s Thor, $265 million; Universal's Honey 2, $3.6 million; Fox’s Monte Carlo, $2.8 million; Universal’s Hop, $70.7 million; Focus Features Beginners, $2.4 million; Universal's The Adjustment Bureau, $64.6 million; Fox’s Black Swan, $221.2 million; Focus Features' Biutiful, $19.6 million; Universal’s Fast Five, $392.9 million; Fox’s Water For Elephants, $57.8 million; Focus Features' Jane Eyre, $1,85 million; and Universal’s Senna, $7.9 million.