Foreign Box Office: 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' Opens Wide Overseas, Seizing the No. 1 Spot

"The Amazing Spider-Man" bows narrowly but vigorously, finishing second; Universal's "Ted" feisty in Australia previews.


It was Spidey versus Manny, Sid and Diego on the foreign theatrical circuit on the weekend as two billion-dollar franchise titles -- yet to debut in the U.S. and Canada – registered strong numbers in overseas matchups of different dimensions.


Opening more than two weeks before its July 13 U.S. and Canada debut was Blue Sky Studio’s Ice Age: Continental Drift, which introduced itself via 20th Century Fox to 9,653 screens including some 4,200 3D venues in 35 markets for a weekend take of $80.3 million for an average of $8,319 per site. It ranks No. 1 on the weekend.


No. 2, Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man -- fourth in the blockbuster series, which has racked up worldwide box office of $2.5 billion to date – premiered on a more limited basis at 6,366 sites in just 14 markets, and drew $51.1 million in its opening launch for a per-location average of slightly more than $8,000. The sequel premieres domestically this week.


Continental Driftis the fourth title in the increasingly remunerative computer animation franchise that has grossed $1.918 billion worldwide over the last 10 years. It took the No. 1 spot in each of its opening markets, said Fox, “with an additional #1 ranking in the U.K. from previews alone (U.K. opens officially on July 13).”


Continental Drift’sopening strength in Latin and South America was impressive. It set debut records in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Central America and in Chile. The Mexico premiere drew $13.9 million from 2,516 situations. Brazil kicked in $6.9 million at 958 spots. In France, the animation sequel notched the biggest opening of the year, generating $12.5 million at 1,072 venues while Australia contributed $6.4 million at 580 situations.


The opening Continental Drift figures indicate the title is on track for a foreign gross total of at least $500 million. Biggest franchise grosser thus far is 2009’s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, drawing a worldwide total of $887.1 million of which $693.9 originated offshore. 


The original, 2002’s Ice Age, grossed a total of $381.8 million globally with most of that ($207 million) coming from overseas playoff.  The worldwide take for 2006’s Ice Age 2: The Meltdown increased to $649.5 million with $457 million derived from the foreign circuit. Continental Drift opens this week in 14 markets including Germany and Holland.


The Amazing Spider-Man concentrated on Asian openings with South Korea ($13 million at 1,213 sites), Japan ($11.6 million drawn from 1,090 spots) and India ($6 million at 1,258 venues) throwing off the biggest numbers.


Sony decided to skip many European markets until the Euro Cup soccer tournament ended (final match occurred Sunday between Spain and Italy, with the former winning.) However, No. 1 Germany and Austria bows were notched with the former market producing $4.4 million at 646 locations.


A strong foreign gross total has become key to the Spidey series.The franchise original, 2002’s Spider-Man, grossed about the same foreign and domestically ($417.9 overseas versus $403.7 in the U.S. and Canada).  2004’s Spider-Man 2, increased the foreign take to $412.7 while its domestic number dipped to $373.4 million.  2007’s Spider-Man 3 increased the foreign take to $554.3 million while the $336.5-million domestic take was the lowest of the series thus far.


Meanwhile, Universal’s release of Ted, which opened No. 1 on the weekend in the U.S. and Canada, is currently registering muscular preview business in Australia (where it ranks as the market’s No. 2 title).


In three days of previews director Seth MacFarlane’s comedy-fantasy starring Mark Wahlberg has grossed an estimated $4.5 million at 199 screens with, says Universal, “only two day and two evening sessions at best.” Official overseas bow is due this week Down Under and in Taiwan. 


Third on the weekend was DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which drew $15.8 million in its fourth round overseas, playing at 7,597 locations in 43 territories and lifting its foreign gross total to $244.1 million since opening offshore on June 6. 


Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman, the weekend’s No. 4 title, drew $14.3 million from 5,891 situations in 60 markets. Director Rupert Sanders’ period action fantasy costarring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron has grossed a total of $188.9 million so far overseas.


Playing in 11 markets in its second stanza offshore is Pixar’s latest animation, Brave, which via Disney collected $7.5 million and raising its overseas gross total to $28.6 million. It ranks No. 5 on the weekend.


Sony’s Men In Black III played at 5,055 screens in 88 markets, drawing $6 million on the weekend. Director Barry Sonnenfeld’s special effects extravaganza in 3D costarring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin has accumulated$430.2 million since its offshore opening on May 23.


Fox’sPrometheus from director Ridley Scott grossed $5.8 million on the weekend at 4,3,89 sites in 58 territories, lifting the sci/fi-action title’s foreign cume to $166.4 million.  Biggest market is the U.K. where the film has grossed $36.2 million to date.


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, also from Fox, drew $5.2 million in its second overseas round at 2,733 situations in 21 territories. Cume for the Civil-War-set action fantasy co-produced by Tim Burton comes to $17.8 million.


Warner Bros.’ Dark Shadows drew $4.3 million from 2,550 sites in 46 markets. Director Tim Burton’s period fantasy starring Johnny Depp has accumulated $152 million overseas to date. 


Boosting action in France was French exhibitors’ annual La Fete du Cinema, conducted over fours days (June 24-27) and providing reduced theater ticket prices. Big beneficiary was Pathe’s release of Un bonheur n’arrive jamais seul (Happiness Never Arrives Alone), director James Huth’s romantic comedy about a footloose musician and a single mother with three children.  Opening round at 499 screens generated $3.4 million.


No. 1 in Italy in its third market round was Paramount’s The Dictator, which drew $3.1 million overall at 1,744 playdates in 37 markets. Foreign cume for the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy stands at $89.6 million rolled up since May 16.


Woody Allen’sTo Rome With Love, being distributed overseas by Focus Features and various local distributors, opened under Focus’ aegis at 185 screens in Brazil, Argentina and Norway on the weekend drawing $1.4 million, and pushing its total foreign gross to $11.7 million. 


Other international cumes:Warner’s Rock of Ages, $11.2 million; Focus Features/Universal’s Moonrise Kingdom, $11.7 million; Fox’s This Means War, $102.2 million; Universal’s The Five Year Engagement, $12.6 million; Warner’s Tengo Ganas De Ti, $8.4 million over two rounds in Spain only; and Universal’s American Pie: Reunion, $176.4 million.


Also, Marvel/Disney’s The Avengers, $841.1 million (worldwide $1.448 billion); Universal’s Battleship, $237.2 million; Sony’s 21 Jump Street, $60.6 million; Universal’s Hanni and Nanni 2, $5.8 million in Germany, Switzerland and Austria; Fox’s The Three Stooges, $1.9 million in four markets; Universal’s Dr. Seuss’The Lorax, $99.4 million; Fox’s We Bought A Zoo, $45 million; and Universal’s Storage 24, $205,289 in U.K. opener at 285 spots.