Foreign Box Office: 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' Scales $69.5 Million, No. 1 Overseas

"Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol"
Paramount Pictures/Album/Newscom

Tom Cruise made headlines when he scaled the exterior of Dubai's Burj Khalifa.

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" Opens No. 3 in six markets; "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked" No. 4 in 37.


As the rollouts of three major-studio seasonal tentpoles commenced offshore, the foreign theatrical circuit to some degree shook off its box office blahs with Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol taking the No. 1 weekend spot, gathering $69.5 million over five days from 6,6938 locations in 42 offshore markets.


The fourth installment of the 15-year, high-octane action franchise starring Tom Cruise premiered dominantly in Asia and in the Middle East, seizing the No. 1 spots in at least a dozen markets including Japan ($9 million in three days from 343 locations) and South Korea (via C.J. Entertainment, $11.1 million over four days from 948 venues).


Capitalizing on its location shoot in the emirate of Dubai (where Cruise scales the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building), Ghost Protocol established an opening record in the United Arab Emirates, grossing $2.4 million from 27 spots for an unheard of per-location average of nearly $89,000.


First place finished were recorded in Australia, New Zealand, India, Taiwan, Singapore (the biggest market opening of a Cruise film), Malaysia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.  In Europe, Ghost Protocol was No. 1 in Spain ($2.6 million from 545 spots), Belgium and Portugal.  Its No. 2 France bow generated $5.5 million from 616 locations, while Russia kicked in $6.1 million from 680 sites.


In all, Ghost Protocol generated 2011’s tenth largest No. 1 weekend opening. At least 10 fresh openings are on tap this week including in Mexico and Brazil.


Mission: Impossibletitles have proved to be far more popular offshore than in North America. Worldwide, the first three franchise titles have grossed $1.402 billion to date with $871.5 million coming from foreign playdates and $530.4 million drawn domestically.


Foreign cume of the 1996 series original, director Brian DePalma’s Mission: Impossible, came to $276.7 million (versus $181 million domestic).John Woo’s 2000 sequel, Mission Impossible II, drew $331 million overseas ($215.4 million domestic).  2006’s Mission: Impossible III, directed by J.J. Abrahms, yielded $263.8 million offshore versus $134 million in the U.S. and Canada. 


No. 2 on the weekend was DreamWorks Animation’s Puss In Boots, which elicited $29.8 million from 7,147 venues in 40 markets. Foreign cume for the 3D animation spinoff of Shrek stands at $188.1 million, as per distributor Paramount.  A muscular No. 2 opening in Italy registered $3.3 million from 385 locations.


Opening offshore on a modified basis – in the U.K., Italy, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Sweden and Turkey – Warner Bros.’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows registered $14.6 million from 1,610 situations. It ranks third on the weekend.


Director Guy Ritchie’s sequel costarring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law premiered No. 1in the U.K. ($5.6 million from 540 screens) and also in first place in Italy ($4.8 million drawn from 575 sites).(The 2009 original, Sherlock Holmes, grossed 524.4 million worldwide with $315.4 million of the total originating from foreign playdates.) Game of Shadows opens this week in Germany and Korea.


No. 4 was Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked, the third installment of 20th Century Fox’s $800-million-plus computer animation franchise based on a tv cartoon series about singing chipmunks. Opening launch in 37 territories drew $13.7 million from 3,828 situations. A No. 2 U.K. debut provided $3.67 million from 756 situations.


Whereas its franchise predecessor, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,”   premiered offshore on Dec. 23, 2009, playing 5,479 screens in 45 markets and grossing $37.1 million – beating the opening figure of the series original by more than 200% -- Chip-Wrecked had a more limited foreign opening, said Fox.


“We are staggering release dates across the year-end holidays, so comparison’s with Alvin 2 will not be apples-to-apples,” asserts the distributor.  Whereas Squeakquel’s foreign launch includedopenings inAustralia, Germany, France, Russia and Belgium, the Chip-Wrecked campaign is skipping these markets initially.


First two titles in the Alvin series accumulated worldwide box office of $803.3 million of which $369.9 million came from overseas playdates and $433.4 million originated in the U.S. and Canada. Squeakquel cumed $226.1 million foreign (versus $217.5 million domestic) while the 2007 franchise original, Alvin and the Chipmunks registered $143.8 million foreign (versus $215.9 million domestic).


Ranking No. 5 was Sony’s Arthur Christmas, Aardman Animation’s 3D outing about squabbling Santas, which pushed its foreign gross total to $72.5 million thanks to a $9.3 million weekend at 6,711 situations. Warner Bros./New Line’s New Year’s Eve generated $8.9 million from 3,200 screens in 42 territories. Foreign cume for the romantic comedy starring Sarah Jessica Parker stands at $27.8 million. Openings in France, Italy, Spain and Japan are on tape this week.   


Summit Ent.’s girl-loves-vampire saga The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I  collected $8.1 million from some 7,300 sites in 74 markets, pushing its foreign gross total to $391.4 million. Openings in Hong Kong and Japan are due Dec. 22 and Feb. 25, respectively.


--- In France, local-language box office phenomenon Intouchables remained No. 1 for the seventh straight stanza, grossing $6.7 million from 829 screens. Market cume for the comedy sensation costarring Francois Cluzet as a wealthy quadriplegic bonding with a caretaker (Omar Sy) with a shady past totals $124 million.


Also in France, Hugo, director Martin Scorsese’s 3D interpretation of Brian Selznick’s book about a young orphan who lives in a train station in 1930’s Paris opened via Metropolitan Filmexport at some 695 venues, taking the market’s No. 5 spot with $2.1 million.  New to the market was Des vents contraires, a mystery drama from director Jalil Lespert, which collected $812,945 from 192 screens, finishing No. 8 in the market.  Universal is distributing. 


--- In Italy, George Clooney’s Golden Globe best-picture nominee The Ides of March opened No. 5 at some 2530 locations via 01 Distribution, drawing $893,061. Top local language title, Medusa’s Finalmente La Felicita, premiered in the market’s No. 3 spot. Director Leonardo Pieraccione’s comedy about an addled music professor grossed $2.2 million at 502 situations.


--- In Germany and Austria, RubbeldieKatz (Woman in Love), director Detley Bucks Tootsie-like comedy about a movie actor mistakenly cast in a woman’s role, drew $2.84 million from 550 sites in both markets.  Universal is distributing the local-language film in German-speaking Europe.


--- In Spain, Fuga de Cerebros 2 (Brain Drain 2), a Universal local acquisition, held at No. 5 with $679,000 drawn from 313 screens, elevating its market cume to $6 million grossed over 17 days.


Other international cumes: Sony/Paramount’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, $237.2 million; Warner’s Happy Feet Two, $55.4 million (after a $4.2 million weekend at 4,883 screens in 48 markets); Fox’s In Time, $97.4 million (after a $3.38 million weekend at 1,710 sites in 26 territories); Universal’s Tower Heist, $50.1 million; Disney’s Real Steel, $192.7 million (after a $2.4 million weekend in 52 markets); Wild Bunch’s Hollywoo, $9.5 million over two rounds in France only; Universal’s Johnny English Reborn, $153.3 million; Disney’s The Muppets, $7 million; Universal’s A Dangerous Method, $6.3 million; Disney’s The Lion King 3D, $69.6 million; Universal’s Immortals, $24.7 million; and DreamWorks/Disney’s The Help, $33.5 million.


Also, Universal’s The Change-Up, $34.7 million; Morgan Creek/Universal’s The Thing, $8.8 million; Sony’s Vysotsky: Thank God I’m Alive, $28 million in Russia only; Focus Features’ Beginners, $8.5 million; Sony’s Jack and Jill, $16.8 million; Focus Features/Universal’s One Day, $42.3 million; Sony’s Moneyball, $29.3 million; Focus Features/Universal’s Jane Eyre, $20.3 million; Universal’s The Debt, $14.6 million; and Focus Features’ The Conspirator, $3.7 million.