Foreign Box Office Report: Summer sets a Box Office Record Offshore As 'The Smurfs' Takes No. 1 Spot Again

Sony Pictures

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "Final Destination 5" finish second and third; "The Help" opens in Australia.


By Frank Segers


A record box office summer on the foreign theatrical circuit for the big Hollywood studios ended over the Labor Day weekend with The Smurfs narrowly taking the No. 1 spot with $24.2 million drawn from 8,318 screens in 78 overseas markets.


Extraordinarily strong offshore returns from May through Labor Day for several mega-hits capped a new seasonal high for the big six majors. Fueling the action were several factors including a weak dollar (good for film exporters), and continued foreign enthusiasm for 3D formats and for animation sequels.


“Without having the numbers in front of me, I feel that (a record summer) has got to be the case given the scale at which some of these (seasonal releases) have come in (at the box office),” said Paul Hanneman, co-president of Fox Theatrical International.


Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 has drawn foreign box office of $938.5 million, two-and-half times its U.S. and Canada gross. Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides registered $800.9 million, a full three-and-a-third times more than its domestic tally. Paramount’s foreign box office record holder, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, has delivered $762.2 million, more than double its domestic return.


(The biggest hit on the foreign circuit in summer 2010 was Pixar/Disney’s Toy Story 3, which grossed $606.1 million offshore during the season.)


For its part, Sony Animation’s The Smurfs had collected a total gross of nearly $300 million ($297.7 million) offshore, nearly two-and-a-half times its domestic cume.  Weekend action for the live action-computer generated animation title included No. 1 openings in the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Sweden and in Kuwait. The 3D animation finished No. 1 at the overseas box office for the fourth consecutive stanza.


Finishing No. 2 once again was 20th Century Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which grossed $20.3 million from 6,241 situations in 52 markets, and lifting its market cume to $187.7 million (versus $160 million in the U.S. and Canada). No. 1 debuts in five Latin American markets were led by Mexico ($5.1 million from 1,403 venues).


No. 3 was Warner Bros./New Line’s Final Destination 5, the latest in the 11-year old horror series, which tallied $19 million derived from 4,295 screens in 35 territories, for an overseas gross total of $61 million. A No. 1 France premier delivered $4.7 million from some 360 screens.


Fourth was Warner’s Horrible Bosses, which generated $8.9 million from more than 2,375 screens in 51 markets for an overseas cume of $70.3 million. No. 5 was Paramount’s Cowboys & Aliens, the sci-fi-western with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, which collected $8.8 million from 3,907 locations in 42 markets, lifting the total foreign gross to $50 million.


Coming in at $6.5 million on the weekend was Pixar/Disney’s Cars 2, which played in 53 territories, and pushed its foreign cume to $351.7 million (versus $188.6 million domestic). Maintaining No. 1 status in the U.K. is Entertainment Films’ teen comedy The Inbetweeners Movie, which generated $5.9 million in its third round at 486 locations for a market cume of $56.3 million.


Warner’s Green Lantern has generated nearly $100 million in overseas box office ($99 million) after a $5.7 million weekend at 2,630 situations in 36 markets. Similarly, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 bagged $5.7 million derived from 4,100 screens.


DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 from Paramount upped its overseas cume to $486 million (versus $165 million domestic) thanks to a $5.7 million weekend at 1,716 spots. Paramount’s Captain America: The First Avenger came up with $5.4 million from 2,365 locations in 44 territories, hoisting its overseas gross total to $165.5 million.


Disney introduced the DreamWorks drama,The Help -- currently the top-grossing title in the U.S. and Canada -- in Australia where the tally was $1.7 million from 280 screens, enough for a No. 3 market ranking. Universal opened espionage thriller The Debt in Russia and two other markets for a weekend tally of $1.97 million.


As the summer winds down, local product and U.S. independent films are finding lucrative niches in various markets around the world. No. 1 in Germany and in Austria is Constantin Films’ The Three Musketeers, the latest adaptation costarring Logan Lerman and Milla Jovovich of the Alexandre Dumas’ novel.  Opener generated $4 million from a combined 720 spots.


No. 2 in Russia was the American indie, Shark Night 3D, a horror thriller costarring Sara Paxton and Dustin Milligan coproduced by Sierra Pictures and Incentive Film Ent. Opening round at some 575 situations delivered an estimated $2.6 million.


In Korea, Lotte Cinema’s The Ultimate Arrow held the top spot in fourth round with a weekend take of an estimated $3 million from 510 sites for a market cume of $36 million.  In France, Wild Bunch Distribution introduced La guerre es declaree (War Is Declared) about a young couple confront with seriously ill child. A No. 4 opener at 129 situations came in at $1.6 million.


Opening in Brazil, Russia and the U.K. was Dimension Films/The Weinstein Co.’s outer space thriller Apollo 18, which grossed $2.37 million at 933 locations. Also in Brazil, Paramount introduced O Homem Do Futuro (Man From The Future), a time travel outing, which grossed $1.3 million at 267 locations.


Other international cumes: Paramount’s Super 8, $122.6 million (after a $2.6 million weekend at 1,403 spots in 26 markets); Universal’s The Change-Up, $4.6 million (after a $3.6 million weekend at 521 sites in nine markets); Sony’s Friends With Benefits, $18.6 million; Universal’s One Day, $8.8 million; Fox’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins, $104.6 million; Sony’s Zookeeper, $69.2 million; Fox’s Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, $4 million; Warner’s Crazy, Stupid, Love, $17 million (after a $3.6 million weekend at 1,430 sites in 25 markets); Fox’s What A Man, $8.3 million in Germany only; Warner/Pathe’s La Piel Que Habito (The Skin That I Live In), $5.8 million in France and Spain only; Fox’s Monte Carlo, $9.6 million; Universal’s Bridesmaids, $112.7 million; and Fox’s You Are The Apple of My Eye, $10.1 million in Taiwan only.


Also, Sony’s Bad Teacher, $107 million; Universal’s One Day, $15.5 million; Focus Features’ Jane Eyre, $5.7 million; The Weinstein Co.’s Spy Kids: All The Time in the World 3D, $14.2 million; Universal’s Fast Five, $398.6 million; Universal’s Tu Seras Mon Fils (You Will Be My Son), $3.37 in France only; Universal’s Hop, $78.9 million; and Paramount’s The Guard, $948,334 in two markets.