Foreign Box Office: 'Django Unchained' Remains No. 1, But 'Die Hard' Steals Weekend

9. Django Unchained

While some might feel that Quentin Tarantino's penchant for running big wrenching topics—the Nazis, American slavery—through the idiosyncratic prism of his own cinephilia represents a trivialization of those issues, my awe for the originality and sheer chutzpah of his dramatic face-offs is only increasing. No one else thinks and makes movies like this, no one else on the commercial landscape so confidently goes his own way and still finds his way home to a large audience.

FILM REVIEW: Django Unchained

"Die Hard" sequel opens in seven Asian markets in anticipation of the Chinese New Year; "Identity Thief" bashful in modest foreign debut in five territories.

While Sony’s Django Unchained remained No. 1 overseas for the fourth consecutive weekend, the highlight of a sluggish session on the foreign theatrical circuit was the limited introduction of 20th Century Fox’s release of A Good Day To Die Hard.

Getting a jump on its U.S. and Canada bow this week, the fifth installment of action franchise starring Bruce Willis opened over the weekend in just seven Asian markets, and drew $10.4 million at 1,182 locations for a per-screen average of nearly $8,800.

In South Korea, the opening take, including previews, was $4.3 million from 459 sites. Good Day set a Fox record in Indonesia and set a franchise record in Hong Kong ($1.26 million at 87 spots). The film is “poised to take advantage of the Chinese New Year holiday, which begins Sunday, a time audiences tend to flock to cinemas,” said Fox.

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 the 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 a box office tally of $249.7 million.

Still dominant in Germany, France, Switzerland and Belgium, director Quentin Tarantino’s Unchained collected $19.5 million from 5,082 locations in 68 markets. The action western costarring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo Di Caprio, adorned with five Oscar nominations, has grossed a total of $187.7 million since opening offshore on Christmas Day.

In Germany, its best market, Unchained drew $4.1 million in its fourth round at 843 sites for a market cume of $35.6 million. In France, the Sony release has been No. 1 for four consecutive weeks, with the latest weekend tally ($3.5 million) and a market total of  $27.2 million. 

The No. 1 domestic title, the comedy Identity Thief, opened overseas in an assortment of smaller markets -- Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia and Taiwan -- and grossed $225,372 at 109 screens. The Universal release’s international rollout will intensify over the next three months.

Opening No. 1 in the U.K. was Disney’s animation title, Wreck-It Ralph, which grossed a powerful $7.1 million at 501 locations. That propelled the total weekend take to $11.7 in 65 territories. Ralph has now crossed the $200 million mark in international box offices ($207.5 million), and has tallied a worldwide cume of $391.9 million.

Opening No. 1 in Australia ($2.3 million at about 190 spots) was Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Paramount/MGM’s 3D co-production distributed overseas in most territories by the former, which grossed $11.6 million on the weekend overall at 2,861 situations in 42 territories and lifting its total overseas take to $83.4 million. 

With Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton portraying the title pair as bounty hunters, Hansel and Gretel drew about $2 million in its latest round in Brazil, its best holdover market. A South Korea opening is due this week.

Universal Les Miserables, with its eight Oscar nominations, grossed $10 million on the weekend at 3,939 situations in 45 markets, pushing the musical’s foreign gross total to $215 million and $359.1 million worldwide. A Russia debut generated $1.7 million at 486 playdates, sufficient for a No. 3 market ranking, while the film’s fifth holdover round in the U.K. came up with $2.6 million from 514 sites, enough for a No. 2 market ranking and a 31-day market cume of $52.4 million.

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is nearing the $50 million mark in overseas box offices ($47.8 million) after a $10.2 million weekend at 3,297 situations in 50 territories. Openings in seven markets buoyed results with a No. 4 Australia bow delivering $1.8 million at 220 locations. 

Attracting box office traction in Mexico ($1 million from 400 spots in market debut) was Paramount and other distributors’ Flight, starring best-actor nominee Denzel Washington, which grossed $8 million on the weekend overall in 28 markets. International cume is put at $34.8 million with a France opening due this week.

Opening No. 1 in Germany and in Austria was Warner Bros.’ release of director-actor-writer Till Schweiger’s Kokowaah 2, the sequel to his 2011 hit local language comedy. Germany debut drew $6.1 million at 691 screens. Playdates in Austria and Switzerland pushed the total weekend take to $7.3 million at a total of 842 screens.

Fox’s Life of Pi pushed its foreign gross total to $456.5 million thanks to a $6.3 million weekend at 3,800 sites in 45 markets. Top market for director Ang Lee’s Oscar contender was Japan ($1.7 million from 714 spots for a market cume of $14.7 million).

Recording the biggest Spain opening of the year so far was Universal’s Mama, which drew a muscular $3.4 million from 333 locations. It was the fourth biggest original horror film market opening. Weekend take overall for the Jessica Chastain vehicle delivered $6 million at $1,339 playdates in 15 territories, seven of which were new. Early foreign cume stands at $13.3 million.

Warner’s crime drama, Gangster Squad, opened at No. 2 in France ($2.15 million at 450 sites) and grossed $5.1 million on the weekend overall from 42 markets. International cume stands at $42.3 million.

Lionsgate’s zombie romance Warm Bodies drew $4.6 million from some 2,000 screens in 24 markets, moving its very early foreign cume to $8.7 million. Same distributor’s The Impossible, costarring best actress nominee Naomi Watts, grossed $4.3 million on the weekend, lifting the international cume for the tsunami disaster film to $138 million.

Topping the Japan market for the fourth consecutive weekend was Universal’s smash comedy Ted, which has notched a foreign gross total of $310.3 million. The latest Japan round drew $3.5 million at 190 sites for a 23-day market cume of $25.2 million. 

Universal’s portion of director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty’s foreign release increased $2.6 million over the weekend from 1,403 playdates in 11 markets for a distributor cume of $16.8 million. An Italy opening provided $733,000 at 196 sites.

Other international cumes:  Warner’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, $657.4 million; Universal’s Pitch Perfect, $44.4 million; Lionsgate’s The Last Stand, $15.7 million; Paramount’s Jack Reacher, $116.8 million; Universal’s This Is 40, $6.5 million; SND’s Amties Sinceres, $4.8 million in France only; Chinese Zodiac, $7.74 million in Russia only where the film ranks No. 1; Fox’s Parental Guidance, $39 million; Paramount’s Tad -- The Los Explorer, $28.4 million; Fox’s Break Up Man, $20.6 million; and Anna Karenina, $39 million.

Also, Fox’s Hitchcock, $8.1 million; Warner Bros.’ Argo, $76.1 million; Focus Features, Hyde Park On Hudson, $1.5 million; Cloud Atlas, $18.1 million in Focus Features-handled territories only; Sony/MGM’s Skyfall, $797.3 million; DreamWorks/Paramount’s Rise of the Guardians, $198.8 million; Focus Features’ Moonrise Kingdom, $22 million; and Paramount’s Cirque du Soleil -- Worlds Away, $15.7 million.