Foreign Box Office: 'Real Steel' Takes A Narrow No. 1 Box Office Victory Overseas

Walt Disney Pictures

"Johnny English Reborn" seizes a close second place followed by "Rise of the Planet of the Apes;" Hollywood majors are on track through September for a record year at the international box office.

A slightly re-energized weekend on the foreign theatrical circuit saw Real Steel, the High Jackman action/sci-fi vehicle, elbow its way to the No. 1 box office spot, grossing $22.6 million in its debut in 19 overseas territories.


But it was close. Buoyed by solid openings in 10 territories, Universal’s Johnny English Reborn took second place with a weekend take of $21 million from 3,418 screens in 32 territories, lifting its overseas cume to $61.1 million. 


Steel, the tale of a robot-boxing promoter and his 11-year-old son, pulled its strongest numbers from Russia ($7.4 million) and from two No. 1 openings in Australia ($4.1 million) and Mexico ($3.1 million). Distributor Disney, which is handling the DreamWorks SKG/Touchstone action title, will opening the picture this week in nine markets including the U.K.


For its part, Reborn, the latest spy spoof from British comedian Rowand Atkinson, opened No. 1 in the U.K. and Ireland ($7.79 million from 524 locations), the biggest market bow for an Atkinson comedy. (A U.S. and Canada bow is due Oct. 28.)


First place debuts were also recorded in Austria, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, German-speaking Switzerland and a No. 2 bow in Germany ($3.5 million from 691 screens). Nine fresh Reborn openings are on tap this week.


Despite the lackluster recent stanzas overseas, January-through-September gross estimates indicate that after three quarters -- and with nearly three months left to 2011 -- Hollywood’s major studios are on track to surpass the $12.7-billion foreign box office record set last year.


Through Sept. 30, the “big six” amassed combined international box office of an estimated $10.8 billion, just $1.9 shy of the 2010 benchmark.


Paramount International leads the pack in the January-through-September overseas gross sweepstakes with total box office of $2.503 billion, followed by Warner Brothers International, with an estimated $2.3 billion. Then, Disney ($1.892 billion), 20th Century Fox ($1.812 billion), Sony ($1.360 billion) and Universal ($952 million).


Universal said it expects to pass the $1 billion international gross mark on Monday. By year’s end it is quite possible that a record four Hollywood majors will each register annual foreign grosses of more than $2 billion.


Also new to the foreign circuit this weekend was Paramount/Spyglass Ent./MTV’s Footloose (2011), an update costarring Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough of the 1984 music-dance original starring Kevin Bacon.  Openings in Australia and New Zealand at 263 locations generated $1.15 million from both territories. The film’s domestic bow is due this Friday.


After an extraordinary eight weekends in the No. 1 overseas spot, Sony’s The Smurfs finished in third place this time, drawing $8.5 million from 4,705 venues in 85 markets. The 3D live action/computer animation family title has to date racked up a foreign gross of $395.4 million since opening offshore on July 27.    


In Japan, Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened in the top spot, grossing $6.2 million at 624 locations.  The weekend overall provided $7.8 million from 2,400 situations in 23 territories, sufficient for a No. 4 weekend finish. (Japan is the film’s next to last international stop.) Foreign cume to date stands at $245.4 million.


Finishing at No. 5 was Disney’s Lion King 3D reissue in its ninth weekend overseas in 28 markets. Weekend tally was $7.3 million for an international gross total so far of $28.1 million. Most of the action came from the U.K. where the reissue’s No. 2 opening registered $4.3 million from 414 locations.


Two Sony titles, Friends With Benefits and Zookeeper, were competing for the No. 1 Brazil spot. Overall, the former, a romantic comedy costarring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, grossed $5.3 million from 2,621 spots in 58 markets, lifting its overseas gross total to $76.9 million accumulated since July 20. Zookeeper, the Kevin James talking animals comedy, registered $2.1 million on the weekend at 1,000 screens in 34 markets for a cume of $84.3 million grossed since July 6.


Warner’s Crazy, Stupid Love, a marital mixup comedy costarring Steve Carell and Julianne Moore, grossed $5.1 million on the weekend at 2,080 screens in 47 markets, hoisting its overseas cume to $53.2 million. Openings in Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden drove Lionsgate’s action drama Abduction, starring Taylor Lautner, to a weekend tally of $5.1 million and an international gross total of $30.8 million. 


Warners/New Line’s horror sequel Final Destination 5 boosted its international gross total to $111.7 million thanks to a $3.5 million weekend at 2,045 screens in 44 markets.


Taking the No. 2 in France was Le Pacte’s release of Drive, director Nicolas Winding Refn’s crime thriller costarring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, which grossed $3.38 million in its market debut at 246 locations.


Taking the top spot in France was Pathe’s release of Bienvenue a bord, a comedy starring Valerie Lemercier about a cruise line executive romantically entangled with her boss.  Bienveue opened to $4.16 million at 525 screens. 


Taking the top spot in Spain was The Intruders, Universal’s coproduction with Spain’s Antenna 3 Films.  The horror thriller, directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and starring Clive Owen, grossed $1.46 million in its opener at 375 screens.


No. 1 in its second Germany round was Constantin’s Wickie auf grober fahrt (Vicky and the Treasure of the Gods), a family-oriented action comedy which collected $3.5 million from some 732 locations for a market cume of $7.2 million. In Austria, the No. 2 weekend take was $674,205, lifting the market total to $1.1 million.


Holding the top South Korea spot for the third weekend in a row was C.J. Entertainment’s Silenced, director Hwang Dong-Hyuk’s drama about violent events at a school for the hearing impaired. Weekend take from some 580 locations was $3 million raising the market cume to an estimated $24 million.


Woody Allens’ Midnight in Paris had a lukewarm reception in its opening U.K. round at 153 screens via Warner Bros. Its No. 6 weekend take was $777,619, averaging $5,083 per screen.


Other international cumes: DreamWorks/Disney’s Help, $9.6 million in six overseas rounds; Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,  $17.4 million over four rounds in the U.K. only; The Weinstein Co.’s Spy Kids 4, $29.6 million; Fox’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins, $118.7 million; Universal’s The Change-Up, $19.9 million; Fox’s Monte Carlo, $14.5 million; Mars Distributions’ La Nouvelle Guerre des Boutons, $8.3 million over three rounds in France only; Universal’s Fast Five, $411.1 million; Fox’s Anytime, Anywhere, $2.8 million over four frames in India only; Universal’s The Debt, $10.2 million; Constantin’s The Three Musketeers in 3D, $14.6 million in Germany only; and the Weinstein Co.’s I Don’t Know How She Does It, $11.6 million.


Also, Fox’s What Your Number?, $6.3 million after a $2.8 million weekend at 1,740 sites in 23 territories; Paramount’s Cowboys & Aliens, $67.2 million; Focus Features’ One Day, $26.8 million; The Weinstein Co.’s Apollo 18, $6.9 million; Fox’s What A Man, $16.5 million over seven Germany rounds; Fox’s Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, $6.4 million; Focus Features’ Beginners, $7.6 million; Paramount’s Hell, $1.1 million; Universal/Focus Features’ Jane Eyre, $16 million; Paramount’s Super 8, $132.2 million; Fox’s La Cara Oculta, $2.9 million in four Spain rounds; DreamWorks Animation/Paramount’s Kung Fu Panda 2, $497.8 million; Universal’s Bridesmaids, $118 million; and Universal and other distrib’s Sanctum, $81.5 million.  


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