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Although it’s still late spring, the summer tentpole season opened offshore with a blast on the weekend as Marvel’s The Avengers opened in 39 territories on the foreign theatrical circuit, grossing a jaw droppingly robust $185.1 million – a full $6.7 million more than Sunday’s estimate.
Playing in about 75 % of the international marketplace, the $220-million-dollar, action-packed mélange of comic book heroes – the first Marvel release marketed and distributed by Walt Disney — set all time opening records in Mexico ($16.9 million), Brazil ($11.3 million), Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Central American and Bolivia.
Also, opening launch records were set in Hong Kong ($4.7 million), Taiwan ($7.6 million), Malaysia, and the Philippines. Opening day records were set in New Zealand and in Iceland.
Costarring Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo, (The Hulk), Tom Huddleston (villain Loki) and Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), The Avengers score especially well in key English-speaking markets — the U.K. ($25.6 million at 521 sites, nearly $50,000 per screen) and Australia ($19.8 million at some 260 sites, the second biggest market opening ever).
Continental European territories provided these opening numbers: France ($13.9 million), Italy ($11 million), Spain ($6.9 million) and Germany ($8.4 million at 607 spots). Korea generated $13 million while the Philippines came up with $6.6 million.
Disney opened The Avengers foreign a week before its U.S. and Canada bow to leverage May Day and other national holidays in Europe. For various piracy-related issues, a Russia bow was set later for May 2. China opens May 5 in accordance with government dictates, and Japan premiers Aug. 17 permitting a market-specific promotional campaign to take root.
The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon, is far and away 2012’s biggest hit on the foreign circuit so far, eclipsing Titanic 3D, which grossed $98.9 million a fortnight ago.
The weekend’s distant No. 2 title was Universal’s Battleship, the $209 million sci-fi action title about sea warfare with an alien armada.
Starring Liam Neeson, the Peter Berg film based on a Hasbro naval combat game finished No. 1 overseas last round but dropped to second place this time with $23.5 million grossed in its third weekend overseas at 8,803 situations in 50 territories. Overseas cume stands at $170.9 million.
Battleship remained No. 1 in Russia, garnering $3.4 million there from 805 spots for an 11-day market cume of $17.4 million. In China, the film has grossed $30.1 million over 12 days. The film opens domestically on May 18.
Universal’s American Pie: Reunion, the latest sequel in the raunchy comedy franchise, has accumulated a foreign gross total of $75.9 million thanks to a $15.2 million weekend at 3,281 screens in 41 markets. Strong openings in German-speaking territories produced a No. 1 bow in Austria and a No. 2 debut in Germany ($7.1 million at 634 spots). It ranks No. 3 on the weekend.
Ranking No. 4, and continuing to draw big audiences in China was 20th Century Fox’s reissue, Titanic 3D, which grabbed $14.2 million on the weekend overall from 5,592 screens in 69 markets. Offshore gross total comes to $258 million of which $126.1 million came from the China market. Weekend in that market drew $15.2 million from 2,200 locations.
Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games continues to chug along on the overseas circuit. Weekend delivered $7.4 million at some 3,700 screens in 62 markets. Offshore total comes to $228.5 million. It ranks No. 5 on the weekend.
Sony Animation’s coproduction, Pirates! Band of Misfits, has grossed a total of $63 million so far on the foreign circuit after a $4.6 million weekend at 4,244 screens in 49 territories. Relativity Media’s coproduction of Mirror Mirror, starring Julia Roberts, has amassed a total of $86.4 million overseas after a $4.3 million weekend in 59 markets.
No. 2 in France was Pathe’s release of Le Prenom, a domestic comedy starring Patrick Bruel about the trials of a first time father. Opening round at some 500 spots yielded an estimated $5.4 million. Finishing third in the market and benefitting from intense national promotion including supermarket giveaways was Houba! Sur la piste du Marsupilami, the live action-animation adventure created by Alain Chabet. Fourth round at 750 situations drew $3.6 million.
Warner Bros.’ The Lucky One drew $5 million in its second weekend overseas at some 1,400 screens in 170 territories. With openings in the U.K., Argentina and Brazil on tap this week, the romantic melodrama starring starring Zac Effron has grossed a total of $10.3 million offshore so far with about half of the cume coming from Australia.
No. 2 in Russia behind Battleship was Universal’s release of IM Global’s coproduction of Safe, a Jason Statham action vehicle, which opened to $2.48 million at 578 locations. Generating $2.2 million on the weekend from 2,394 locations in 47 territories was Universal’s 3D animation title, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. Cume stands at $88.2 million.
Fox International’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, costarring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, raised its overseas gross total to nearly $70 million ($69.9 million) after a $1.96 million weekend at 1,223 situations in 21 markets. A domestic opening is due this week.
Other international cumes: Warner’s Wrath of the Titans, $208.9 million (after a $2.8 million weekend at about 3,300 spots in 62 markets); Medusa Films release of Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love, estimated $7.6 million in Italy only; Lionsgate’s Cabin in the Woods, $11.4 million; Sony’s 21 Jump Street, $42.1 million; Paramount’s Puss In Boots, $404.7 million; Fox’s This Means War, $94.2 million; Universal’s Marley, $782,192 in the U.K. only; Paramount’s The Devil Inside, $48.1 million; Fox’s We Bought A Zoo, $37 million; Hugo, $78 million from Paramount-handled territories; and Fox’s Chronicle, $60 million.
Also, The Weinstein Co.’s The Artist, $86.8 million ($131 million worldwide and $25.9 million in France); Universal’s Safe House, $75.8 million; and The Weinstein Co.’s My Week With Marilyn, $17.4 million.
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