Foreign Box Office: 'Immortals' Slays 'Tintin' to Take No. 1 Slot Abroad

Immortals Film Still Group - H 2011

Immortals Film Still Group - H 2011

Sandler comedy "Jack and Jill" starts slowly; "Intouchables" blazing in France.



Opening across 35 overseas markets – including Russia, China, the U.K. and Japan -- Relativity Media’s Immortals decisively claimed with a $38 million weekend gross the No. 1 box office spot on the foreign theatrical circuit. 


Director Tarsem Singh’s 3D million sword and sandal saga costarring Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke and John Hurt -- and produced at a cost of $75 million -- is Relativity Media’s “highest box office opener as an independent distributor,” the company said on Monday.  Worldwide tally is $70.3 million.


Headed by chief exec Ryan Kavanaugh, Relativity has over the last five years been involved in the production and financing of more than 200 features, and is rounding out its first year as an indie distrib. It owns worldwide rights to Immortals with Universal handling nine territories, and regional distributors -- lined up by Lionsgate, the film’s foreign seller -- in other markets.


As per Relativity, Russia racked up a weekend tally of $8.2 million for Immortals while China registered $5.7 million (via Relativity’s joint venture Sky Land). The U.K. contributed $3.5 million (at 423 spots via Universal), and Japan came up with $2 million (from 322 sites via Universal). In addition, a No. 1 bow in South Korea generated $4.5 million. Immortals has yet to play Australia, Mexico, Spain, France and other key markets.  


Due to a 30% drop in foreign box office from last stanza, Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn emerged the weekend’s No. 2 title on the foreign theatrical circuit, grossing $27.5 million from 7,189 locations in 52 markets. It had been No. 1 overseas for the prior two stanzas.


Since it opened overseas on Oct. 26, the 3D motion capture animation produced by Peter Jackson and based on Belgian artist Herge’s famous comic book series has flown past the $150-million mark ($160.7 million).  That gives the film a comfortable box office cushion even before it sets its foot in a single North American cinema (domestic opening is not due until Dec. 21).


Weekend wicket action was highlighted by first-place finishes in at least a half dozen foreign markets.  A No. 1 India bow generated $1.38 million from 378 situations. Sony and Paramount share overseas distribution with $137.4 million of Tintin’s foreign cume coming from Sony dates and $23.3 million from Paramount-handled territories.


A blazing No.1 in France and No. 3 on the weekend overall was Gaumont’s release Intouchables, co-directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s comedy about a wealthy quadriplegic and an ex-con immigrants from the projects who is his caretaker. Second weekend France-only box office increased some 30% to an estimated $23.2 million from 603 playdates or more than $38,000 per screen. Market cume stands at $42.8 million. (The Weinstein Co. has domestic distribution rights.)


Typically for an Adam Sandler title overseas, Jack and Jill, is off to a slow start. Sony released the comedy -- directed by Dennis Dugan with Sandler playing both an ad executive and his twin sister – in seven markets day-and-date with its domestic bow for an opening gross of $2.69 million from 885 screens, almost all  drawn from Mexico (No. 1 ranking with $2.65 million at 874 locations), a highly receptive market for Sandler films.


Although less than whiz-bang starters out of the gate, five of the seven Sandler comedies released offshore over the last six years have grossed more than $100 million – a not inconsiderable feat given that comedies are generally a tougher sell to foreign audiences.


Top earner was Sony’s Just Go With It, released in mid-February and collecting a total of $112 million.  Then, 2010’s Grown Ups from Sony ($109.4 million), 2009’s Bedtime Stories released by Disney ($102.7 million), 2008’s You Don’t Mess With the Zohan from Sony ($101.9 million) and 2006’s Click also from Sony ($100.4 million). The underperformers, both released by Universal, were 2007’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry ($66 million) and 2009’s Funny People ($18.5 million).


The weekend’s No. 4 title was Disney’s Real Steel, which elevated its foreign cume to $147.5 million by grossing $12 million in its sixth weekend overseas. Rounding out the top five was 20th Century Fox’s In Time, the sci/fi-thriller costarring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, which collected $8.85 million from 3,346 sites in 53 markets, lifting its foreign gross total to $54.2 million.


Universal’s Tower Heist costarring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy continues its listless overseas pace with a $7.6 million weekend at 2,388 playdates in 36 territories, for an early cume of $20.6 million. Paramount’s horror sequel Paranormal Activity 3 drew $6.36 million on the weekend overall from 2,767 sites in 44 markets.  Foreign gross total stands at $88 million.


Aardman Animations’ initial teaming with Sony Animation has produced Arthur Christmas, a seasonal animation comedy which opened No. 2 in the U.K. on the weekend, drawing a solid $3.37 million from 871 sites. Opening less propitiously in the U.K. was Entertainment Film Distributor’s release of The Rum Diary, the film version of a Hunter S. Thomson novel costarring Johnny Depp andGiovanni Ribisi. Debut round at 324 screens generated $966,868, enough for a No. 6 market ranking but less than a per-screen average of $3,000.    


Warner’s Contagion lifted its foreign cume to $54 million after a $6.5 million weekend derived from 2,375 screens in 43 territories. Still playing just four offshore markets and collecting $6.2 million on the weekend from 1,1,190 locations was DreamWorks Animation’s Puss In Boots, which has claimed via Paramount a total foreign gross to date of $49.8 million.


Disney’s The Lion King 3D opened No. 3 in Germany and in Austria ($2.7 million from 510 sites in both markets). Overall it generated $4.8 million overall in its 14th weekend overseas in some 40 markets. International cume stands at $58.6 million.


Opening in baseball friendly Japan was Sony’s Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, which collected $4.2 million on the weekend from 782 screens in 10 markets with Japan kicking in $2.3 million from 329 sites.  Cume so far, $7.3 million.


Universal’s Johnny English Reborn, the spy spoof starring Rowand Atkinson, pushed its foreign gross total to $146.9 million thanks to a $4.2 million weekend at 2,718 sites in 51 markets.


Other international cumes:  Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, $301.5 million; Lionsgate’s Abduction, $52.6 million; The Weinstein Co.’s I Don’t Know How She Does It, $18.1 million; Paramount’s Cowboys & Aliens, $74.4 million; Universal’s The Change-Up, $31.8 million; Paramount’s Footloose, $10.7 million; Fox’s You Are The Apple of My Eye, $20.6 million generated mostly in Taiwan; The Weinstein Co.’s Spy Kids 4, $34.9 million; Universal/Focus Features’ One Day, $36.3 million; Paramount’s We Need To Talk About Kevin, $3 million in U.K. only; Focus Features’ Beginners, $8.1 million; Morgan Creek/Universal’s The Thing, $5.2 million (Universal territories only); and Focus Features/Universal’s Jane Eyre, $17.8 million.