Foreign Box Office: 'Die Hard' Continues as No. 1 Overseas, Breaks $100 Million Mark

Frank Masi, SMPSP

"The Hobbit" Blasts Off In China. "Les Mis" nears $250 million in offshore revenue while "Django Unchained" surpasses $220 million.


Buoyed by a powerhouse France opening, 20th Century Fox’s A Good Day To Die Hard easily captured the No. 1 box office spot in its third weekend on the foreign theatrical circuit by registering $35.5 million at 10,587 locations in 67 markets, and lifting its foreign gross total well past the $100-million mark ($132.8 million).


The fifth installment of action franchise starring Bruce Willis blasted off at 650 locations in France, drawing $5.47 million and dominating the market. With school holidays in the market just beginning, Good Day is well positioned to cash in over the coming stanzas.


A No. 1 opening in Brazil generated $2.6 million at 531 sites, the best bow in the territory for the Die Hard franchise. Top holdover market was Germany where the sequel nabbed $3 million at 669 spots for a market cume of $10.2 million.


A No. 1 second Japan weekend threw off $2.9 million at 644 situations for a market cume of $13.4 million. A No. 3 India debut contributed $1.4 million at 663 spots.


Over a 25-year span the four prior Die Hard titles all starring Willis have prospered overseas, grossing a collective total of $694.6 million, as per Fox figures, with the second sequel of the franchise, 1995’s Die Hard With A Vengeance, leading the pack with an offshore tally of $264.5 million.


The 1988 original Die Hard drew $57.8 million in offshore box office, with the first sequel, 1990’s Die Hard 2, grossing $122.5 million.  The last sequel, 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, completed its foreign run with box office of $249.7 million.


Coming in second this round was Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which registered a gangbusters opening in China, grossing $18.1 million at 4,009 locations. The Peter Jackson fantasy epic, which opened offshore in December, drew $19.1 million on the weekend over all from 5,006 sites in 44 markets. Cume stands at $679.6 million.


Warner Bros. said Hobbit’s China debut ranks as the market’s fourth biggest three-day opening for a U.S. title, and the distributor’s third biggest behind the seven-day opening of The Dark Knight Rises and the four-day initial tally registered by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.  The Hobbit’s biggest foreign market introduction was in the U.K. where the film’s opening gross was $18.3 million. 


Meanwhile, the foreign grosses of the best picture Oscar nominees are all over the lot:


Les Miserables’ worldwide gross total stands at nearly $400 million ($395.1 million) with the bulk of the action ($248.4 million) coming from foreign playdates. The musical’s Germany opening on the weekend produced $1.5 million at 377 situations, enough for a No. 4 market rank.  Weekend over all registered $9.1 million at 3,640 in 52 markets. Les Mis has seven more territories still to open including a debut in China, which occurs this week. 


Scoring significantly higher numbers offshore (cume $221.8 million) than in the U.S. and Canada (about $158.8 million), Sony’s Django Unchained’s box office confirms director Quentin Tarantino’s greater popularity overseas. In Germany and France alone, his film has grossed more than $75 million.  The latest weekend on the international circuit  generated $8.9 million at 3,855 venues in 61 markets. 


Setting no bonfires at the overseas box office in director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which has grossed about $90 million in the U.S. and Canada.  Foreign take via a number of offshore distributors should crack the $40 million mark this week, with Universal claiming $20.8 million of that total. This reverses the box office pattern of the director’s 2008 Oscar winner, The Hurt Locker, which collected $32 million abroad and less than $20 million domestically.


Also underperforming overseas is Ben Affleck’s Argo from Warner Bros. While its domestic tally stands at a robust $129.8 million, the foreign gross so far is nearing $80 million. The film’s Oscar win should boost its foreign box office significantly.


Of all the Oscar contenders, Fox’s The Life of Pi has performed the most spectacularly overseas -- $471.5 million to date, more than four times its domestic gross. Latest weekend for the Ang Lee film (for which he won best director) generated $2 million at 1,891playdates in 16 territories.


On the other hand, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln also distributed by Fox has drawn $67.5 million on the foreign circuit as opposed to $178.6 million in the U.S. and Canada.  Latest weekend offshore registered $5.4 million at 2,812 sites in 48 markets.


The Weinstein Co.’s Silver Linings Playbook’s foreign action lags behind its domestic take – about $52 million offshore versus $103 million domestically.  While Sony Classics’ German-French coproduction Amour from director Michael Haneke has grossed about $13 million offshore, its domestic take stands at leass than $5 million.  And Fox Searchlight’s low-budget Beasts of the Southern Wild has yet to play foreign.


Within shouting distance of the $500-million gross mark worldwide is Disney’s animation outing Wreck-It Ralph, which ranks No. 1 in the U.K.  Latest weekend on the foreign circuit in 68 territories generated $8 million, lifting the film’s foreign cume to $241.5 million and the worldwide total to $428.2 million.


Weekend take over all for the horror title, Mama starring Jessica Chastain, came in at  $5.5 million from 1,393 playdates in 18 territories. Foreign cume stands at $27.3 million. A No. 3 U.K. premier delivered $2.34 million at 387 situations.


Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Paramount/MGM’s 3D co-production distributed overseas in most territories by the former, generated $4.6 million on its sixth weekend at 1,988 sites in 39 markets, hoisting its foreign gross total to $108.5  million.  Openings in the U.K., Germany, Spain and the Netherlands are on tap this week.


Flight starring Denzel Washington, distributed overseas by Paramount and other distributors, moved its overseas cume to $53.1 million thanks to a $5.1 million weekend 2,365 spots in 45 markets. Japan and South Korea open this week.     


With four weeks of school holidays looming in France, comedies are the order of the day for market newcomers.


Best grossing local language freshman was Gaumont’s release of Vive La France, a cultural satire costarring Jose Garcia and Michael Youn (who also directed) as a pair of Central Asian yokels on a mission to destroy the Eiffel Tower. Opening round drew $3.1 million at 477 playdates, sufficient for a No. 2 market bow.


Securing the market’s No. 7 spot was Universal’s release of the family comedy, La Vrai Vie Des Profs (Real Life Teachers), which opened at 303 locations for $1.1 million.


Other international cumes:  Warner’s Gangster Squad, $50.4 million thanks to a $3.2 million weekend at 2,230 sites in 42 markets; Paramount’s Jack Reacher, $133.6 million after a $3 million 10th weekend at 8,191 spots in 26 markets; Universal’s Identity Thief, $1 million; Paramount’s Tad – The Lost Explorer, $13 million in Latin American territories; Universal’s Ted, $321 million; Fox’s Break Up Man, $22.8 million; Universal’s Anna Karenina, $43.7 million; Sony’s Hotel Transylvania, 188.6 million; and Universal’s This Is 40, $11.4 million.


Also: Sony/MGM’s Skyfall, $804 million; Universal’s Chinese Zodiak, $9.4 million over four rounds in Russia only; Paramount’s Cirque du Soleil, $17.1 million; Focus Features’ Hyde Park on Hudson, $1.8 million; Warner’s Kokowaah 2, $16.8 million in three rounds in Germany only; Focus Features’ Promised Land, $432,723; Sony’s Hotel Transylvania, $189.3 million; Focus Features’ Moonrise Kingdom, $22.8 million; Fox’s Hitchcock, $12.5 million; Cloud Atlas, $18.4 million in Focus Features territories only; and Universal’s Pitch Perfect, $44.9 million.