Foreign Box Office: 'The Hobbit' Cleans Up Offshore, Logs 2012's Fourth Biggest Opening Launch

Warner Bros. Pictures

"Rise of the Guardians" places distant No. 2; "Breaking Dawn Part 2" breaks the half-billion offshore gross mark.

New Line/MGM’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, director Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic opening overseas day-and-date with its domestic bow, cleaned up on the foreign theatrical circuit by bagging $138.2 million at 18,200 screens in 56 markets.

The Warner Bros. release -- the first installment of the director’s $500 million trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel – opened to a worldwide total of $223 million, with the foreign take more than 1.6 times the film’s domestic opening gross. Warners said that on the offshore side, 60% of the total box office came from 3D venues.

The Hobbit’s opening round offshore is the fourth biggest of the year.  Largest single market was the U.K. where the opening tally was $18.3 million at 601 locations for a 62% market share.  Germany contributed $16.3 million at 1,332 sites; France came up with $12.7 million at 958 spots; Korea bagged $8.5 million from 1,200 locations while Spain drew $8.4 million from 1,052 situations.

Other big market contributors: Sweden ($6 million from 272 sites, the second biggest opening market weekend of all time); Italy ($5.4 million from 734 spots) Mexico ($5.2 million from 2,414 venues); and Brazil ($4.9 million at 969 situations). 

Separately, IMAX said The Hobbit broke the company’s December box office record overseas, setting new benchmarks in the U.K., Brazil, Spain, Singapore, Turkey and the Ukraine. Overall IMAX take was $5 million from 126 company locations for a per-screen average of $39,683.

Placing a distant second was DreamWorks Rise of the Guardians, which collected $20.1 million in its fifth round overseas from 7,400 locations in 59 markets. A No. 2 Australia bow generated $3.7 million at 259 locations.

The Paramount release, a $145 million fantasy title featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin and Hugh Jackman, lifted its foreign gross total past the $100-million mark ($119.4 million).  An India opening is on tap this week.

Sony/MGM’s Skyfall, the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise, collected $12.2 million from 4,557 spots in 84 markets handled by Sony and licensees of co-distributor MGM.

The third outing starring Daniel Craig as 007 has collected a total foreign gross of $678.7 million of which Sony-handled territories accounted for $592.6 million. Since its overseas opening on Oct. 26, Skyfall has accumulated nearly $250 million more that the $432.2 total foreign gross of the previous franchise box office record holder, 2006’s Casino Royale, also starring Craig.

Skyfall retained its No. 1 Australia ranking for the fourth straight round with $3.3 million derived from 569 locations, lifting the market cume to $38.7 million. The film’s U.K. market cume stands at $157.5 million.

Nearing the $130-million foreign gross mark was Twentieth Century Fox’s release of Life of Pi, the film version of Yann Martel’s novel about a young castaway and a Bengal tiger. Overseas cume stands at $129.4 million after four offshore stanzas.

Directed by Taiwanese-born Ang Lee, the Fox 2000 co-production drew $11.5 million on the weekend overall playing a total of 5,076 in 13 markets, the best of of which was China (No. 2 with $6.9 million drawn from 3,600 sites for a market cume of $84.3 million).

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 from Summit/Lionsgate International finished the weekend with $11.2 million drawn from some 8,000 screens in 73 overseas markets.

The sequel’s foreign cume broke the half-billion mark ($501.4 million), making the fifth and final title based on Stephenie Meyer’s series of novels about a young woman (Kristen Stewart) in love with a vampire (Robert Pattinson) the franchise’s all-time offshore box office champ by a wide margin -- beating last year’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, which collected $430.9 million.

Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s 3D family animation title, drew $4.7 million its seventh round in 29 territories, and nudged its foreign gross total $57.7.  Thanks to its strong domestic performance, the film has grossed a worldwide total of $226.5 million.

Australia provided a No. 3 market perch for Universal’s rom/com-musical Pitch Perfect, which grossed $2.1 million from 235 locations, and an 11-day market cume of $7.2 million. Weekend overall came in with $2.3 million at 410 situations in nine territories, nudging the film’s early international gross total to $12.8 million. Nine openings including Germany and the U.K. are due this week.

Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania, a comedy voiced by Adam Sandler and Kevin James about a boy who discovers Dracula is real, grossed $1.9 million at 1,755 sites in 50 markets. The title’s foreign gross total stands at $162 million.

Opening No. 3 in Italy was Universal’s local language release Colpi di Fulmine (Lightning Strikes), director Neri Parenti’s comedy about love at first sight.  Weekend tally was $1.8 million at 465 situations.

Top local language newcomer in France was Pathe’s Mes Heros (My Hero), director Eric Besnard’s comedy about a harassed businessman coping with relatives and his ambulance company. Opener at some 280 sites drew $1.2 million, sufficient for a No. 4 market ranking.

Other international cumes:  Universal’s Anna Karenina, $17 million; Fox/EuropaCorp’s Taken 2, $228.7 million; Universal’s Playing For Keeps, $3.7 million in Russia only; Universal’s The Man With The Iron Fists, $2.9 million; and Universal’s Ted, $283.7 million.

Opening this week:  Universal’s Les Miserables costarring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway has its worldwide debut Friday (Dec. 21) in Japan.