Foreign Box Office: 'Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol' Retakes Top Spot; 'Descendants' Jumps to No. 4

"Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol"
David James/Paramount Pictures

At the end of "Mission:Impossible -- Ghost Protocol," Jeremy Renner (at right) accepts an invitation to become an official member of Tom Cruise's IMF team. The moment both closes his character's arc and signals the potential at play in Renner's career.

"The Grey" opens in the U.K. and Russia; "Sherlock Holmes" comes in at No. 2 for the weekend while Kate Beckinsale-starrer "Underworld: Awakening" takes No. 3.

Returning to the No. 1 box office ranking on the foreign theatrical circuit, Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol parleyed a two-day, $12.7 million box office take in China to a total weekend gross of $25 million drawn from 7,837 locations in 63 markets.

Paramount said that the Tom Cruise action sequel’s China haul from some 3,000 sites was more than five times the comparable market opening figure compiled by 2006’s Mission: Impossible III, which generated total foreign box office of $263.8 million.

Ghost Protocol also opened strongly in Italy ($3.1 million generated at 170 spots) and premiered No. 1 in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The film finished No. 1 in the international box office sweepstakes three times in late December and early this month, and has logged total foreign box office of $369 million to date.

Top domestic box office title, Open Road Films release of The Grey, director Joe Carnahan’s actioner staring Liam Neeson, dipped its toes in international waters on the weekend. A No. 3 U.K. opening via Entertainment Releasing grossed an estimated $2 million from some 345 situations. Also, Universal opened the picture in Russia, claiming $1.2 million from 347 locations.

The weekend’s No. 2 was Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which had been the No. 1 title overseas for the last three stanzas.

Weekend take from 7,300 sites in 58 markets came to $17.3 million, hoisting the foreign gross total of director Guy Ritchie’s sequel costarring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law to $287.1, which distributor Warner Bros. says is 14% ahead of what 2009’s Sherlock Holmes grossed “at the same point in release.” (The original bagged $314 million in overseas box office.)

A Game of Shadows introduced itself to French audiences with gusto, dominating the market with a $6.6 million take from 620 screens. The film took a 30% market share in France, as per Warners.

Opening No. 1 in Australia ($2.8 million from 274 sites), Sony’s Underworld: Awakening, the latest sequel in the werewolf-versus-vampire franchise starring Kate Beckinsale, awakened $16 million on the weekend overall at a total of 3,450 venues in 47 territorties. It took third place on the weekend.

A No. 2 Spain bow triggered $2 million from 399 situations while a first-place Mexico opening generated $1.9 million at 433 sites. Underworld: Awakening’s foreign cume so far stands at $40 million via all distributors.

The weekend’s No. 4 title and the best grossing by far of the three best-picture Oscar nominees in wide foreign release was 20th Century Fox’s The Descendants, which grossed $15.6 million on the weekend at 2,507 screens in 33 markets, of which 24 were new on the weekend.

Director Alexander Payne’s family drama starring George Clooney opened No. 2 in the U.K. generating $2.8 million at 403 situations. A second-place debut in France provided $1.7 million from 235 locales while the best holdover was in Spain, where the film finished No. 1 with $2.2 million drawn from 323 sites. Total foreign cume to date for The Descendants is $27 million.

• Another best picture Oscar nominee, Steven Spielberg’s War Horse from DreamWorks/Disney, is having a relatively tough box office slog overseas. Whereas its domestic total so far is $75.6 million, its offshore take comes to less than half that at $35.4 million. Weekend on the foreign circuit drew $4.6 million from 18 territories including a No. 1 ranking in the U.K. in its third stanza there, pushing its market cume to $20.6 million or 58% of the film’s total international cume. Next biggest market is Australia where the market cume comes to $10 million or 28% of the total offshore gross.

• The Weinstein Co.’s The Artist currently ranks No. 5 in its fifth U.K. round, No. 7 in its native France in its 16th week there and No. 12 in its Germany opener. Latest foreign cume stands at an estimated $27 million versus an estimated $14 million grossed domestically.

• DreamWorks/Disney’s The Help, the best domestic grosser among the best- picture Oscar nominees (about $170 million), is a box office dud on the foreign circuit, grossing just $38.8 million to date. Similarly, Sony’s Moneyball has drawn nearly $80 million at the domestic box office while logging only $31.2 million on the foreign circuit.

• Summit International’s A Tree of Life, the 2011 Palme d’Or winner at the Cannes Festival, has logged $49 million so far overseas, more than three times its domestic box office take. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close has not yet begun its foreign run via Warner Bros. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris has grossed via myriad local distributors just over $98 million offshore, and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo about $30 million foreign via various distributors including Paramount, which accounted for $15.4 million of the total.

Finishing No. 5 on the weekend was Sony’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which unearthed $10.8 million at 4,685 screens in 60 markets, lifting the film’s foreign gross total to $86.7 million. No. 3 in its second France weekend, director David Fincher’s rendition of novelist Stieg Larsson’s crime thriller pushed its market cume there to $5.8 million.

DreamWorks Animation/ Paramount’s Puss In Boots, grossed $7.1 million on the weekend from 3,967 sites in 59 territories. Foreign cume for the animation title is $358.7 million.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island from Warner Bros./New Line/Walden Media grossed $7 million from eight offshore markets on the weekend, a slight 10% drop from its opening round, as per Warners. Early overseas cume for the family adventure costarring Josh Hutcherson and Dwayne Johnson stands at $24.2 million from the eight territories, which the distributor said was 73% ahead of the comparable figure logged by the film’s 2008 predecessor Journey To the Center of the Earth “at the same point in release for these markets.”

Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked hoisted its foreign gross total to $182.7 million (with $20.9 million of that coming from Brazil) thanks to a $6.8 million weekend at 4,623 venues in 46 territories. The computer-animation sequel opens in Venezuela this week.

Gaumont’s Intouchables remains a boxoffice phenomenon in France, grossing an estimated $2 million in its 13th round at 809 sites for a market cume of at least $151 million. The comedy about a wealthy quadriplegic and his caretaker with a shady past is also gangbusters in Germany, taking via Senator the No. 1 spot in its fourth market stanza with an estimated $4.3 million drawn from some 690 sites for an estimated market cume of $22.8 million.

Jack and Jill, the latest Adam Sandler comedy from Sony, opened No. 2 in Germany, taking $1.87 million from 427 locales. Weekend overall provided $4.9 million from a total of 3,15 playdates in 32 territories, nudging the film’s offshore cume to $31.6 million.

Other international cumes: Sony/Paramount’s The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, $198.2 million; Disney’s Beauty and the Beast 3D, $4.7 million; Fox’s The Sitter, $3.6 million in one market; Universal’s Contraband, $6.7 million; Fox’s We Bought A Zoo, $22.7 million; Universal’s Tower Heist, $66.1 million; and Universal’s Johnny English Reborn, $156 million.