Foreign Box Office: 'The Hobbit' Holds No. 1 Overseas For Second Straight Weekend

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Freeman Bilbo - H 2012
Warner Bros. Pictures

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Freeman Bilbo - H 2012

Openings in 35 markets push "Life of Pi" to second place; "Jack Reacher," "Les Misérables" and "This Is 40" undertake limited foreign starts.

With minimal competition from new holiday releases on limited overseas breaks, New Line/MGM’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey cleaned up on the foreign theatrical circuit for the second consecutive weekend, bagging $91 million at more than 18,600 screens in 59 markets.

Director Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic -- of the first installment of the director’s $500 million trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel -- took a relatively benign dip of 34% from its opening round and has compiled a foreign gross total to date of $284 million.

Meanwhile, Paramount’s latest Tom Cruise action title, Jack Reacher, premiered in seven offshore markets including Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Lebanon, collecting an estimated $2.5 million from 365 locations -- for a per site average of nearly $6,850. The film opens in some 25 markets this week.

Universal opened Les Misérables costarring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway at 348 playdates in Japan for a weekend total of $4.2 million for a per-location average of more than $12,000. The musical update opens domestically on Christmas Day.

Universal also opened director Judd Apatow’s comedy, This Is 40, at eight screens in Slovenia. Results will be reported by the distributor on Monday. The film’s international rollout begins in earnest early next year.

The Hobbit drew a mighty opening gross in Russia ($16.8 million from 2,129 venues including previews), taking 75% of the weekend market. Distributor Warner Bros. said that in Russia, 65% of the total box office came from 3D venues.

To underscore the growth in recent years of the Russian territory, the distributor noted that the weekend debut paced 313% ahead of the opening Russia gross of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, released in 2003 and the biggest foreign grosser of the LOTR titles.

Third-largest single market was the U.K. where the holdover tally was $9.1 million at 1,546 locations for a No. 1 market ranking. Germany contributed $12.6 million at 1,408 sites, also No. 1. France came up with a No. 1 tally of $6.7 million at 690 spots; while Spain drew $4.2 million from 1,010 situations, a dominant No. 1 in the market. (Separately, IMAX said The Hobbit grossed $3.9 million internationally on the weekend.)

Placing a distant second on he weekend 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.

Directed by Taiwanese-born Ang Lee, the Fox 2000 co-production drew $23.2 million overall on the weekend (from 6,330 sites in 46 markets), buoyed by openings in 35 new territories. A No. 2 U.K. premier delivered $5.8 million from 1,074 situations. A No. 3 France debut came up with $2.9 million from 637 spots while Mexico registered $2.2 million at 1,074 situations. A fabulously successful China run ended with a market cume of $90.3 million.

Third was DreamWorks' Rise of the Guardians, which collected $13.7 million in its sixth round overseas from 6,251 locations in 60 markets. The Paramount release, a $145 million fantasy title featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin and Hugh Jackman, lifted its foreign gross total well past the $100-million mark ($142.9 million).

Sony/MGM’s Skyfall, the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise, grossed $9 million from 71 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 $694.3 million of which Sony-handled territories accounted for $607.1 million. Since its overseas opening on Oct. 26, Skyfall has accumulated more than $260 million more that the $432.2 total foreign gross of the previous franchise box office record holder, 2006’s Casino Royale, also starring Craig.

Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s 3D family animation title, boosted its foreign take to $7.3 million its eighth round in 34 territories, and nudged its foreign gross total $67.6 million. Thanks to its strong domestic performance, the film has grossed a worldwide total of $239.5 million.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 from Summit/Lionsgate International finished the weekend with $6.6 million drawn from some 8,000 screens in 73 overseas markets. A Hong Kong debut at 40 sites generated an estimated $980,000.

The sequel’s foreign cume broke the half-billion mark ($513.2 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.

Universal’s rom-com/musical Pitch Perfect grossed $6 million from 1,270 locations thanks largely to eight new market openings, the best of which was in Germany ($2.3 million at 387 spots, No. 2 in the territory). The film’s early international gross total stands at $20.1 million.

Top local-language newcomer in France was Mars Distribution’s De L’autre Cote De Periph starring Omar Sy. The police caper about two mismatched cops assigned to a murder case drew $4 million from some 450 screens, sufficient for a No. 2 market ranking. The Weinstein Co. has domestic distribution rights.

Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania, a comedy voiced by Adam Sandler and Kevin James about a boy who discovers Dracula is real, grossed $1.6 million from 55 markets. The title’s foreign gross total stands at $164.6 million.

Other international cumes: Universal’s Anna Karenina, $19 million; Universal’s Colpi Di Fulmine, $3.5 million over two rounds in Italy only; and Universal’s Ted, $284.2 million.