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Making its overseas debut at 5,863 locations in 61 markets, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained drew a total of $49.7 million from all sites — enough to earn the best picture Oscar contender the weekend’s No. 1 spot on the foreign theatrical circuit.
The weekend figure was, said Sony, the film’s offshore distributor, 30% larger than the openings in the same markets of the director’s 2009 war drama Inglourious Basterds, which generated slightly more than $200 million in total overseas box office, about 60% of its worldwide take.
Unchained opened No. 1 in at least 23 markets including the Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Belgium “even with much of Europe buried under snow this weekend,” said Sony.
The action western costarring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz (a Vienna native) and Leonardo Di Caprio, adorned with five Oscar nominations, registered a mighty $9 million at 618 sites in Germany, a full two-and-a-half times the market opening for Basterds, said Sony.
In France, the take was $8.1 million at 610 spots, and $5.5 million came from 750 Russia situations. A No. 2 opening in the U.K. drew $4.55 million at 580 sites. At 517 locales in Italy, the No. 1 debut drew $4.7 million. Top spot in Spain was obtained with a $3.3 million bow at 541 locations.
Unchained took over the No. 1 spot from Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, which had topped the foreign charts for the prior two rounds. This time, the Twentieth Century Fox release registered $22.2 million on the weekend playing at 7,885 venues in 66 markets and lifting its foreign gross total to nearly $400 million ($395.7 million).
Introducing itself to limited foreign audiences on inauguration weekend was Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s historical epic that drew a dozen Oscar nominations. A Spain debut generated $2.2 million at 406 sites. In Mexico, the ranking was No. 3 with $664,255 elicited from 259 situations. In all, the film played three markets, drawing $3.1 million from 667 screens in three territories.
This is just the start of Lincoln’s international campaign. Distributor Twentieth Century Fox said the film opens in 19 foreign markets this week including Brazil, Germany, Italy, Russia and the U.K.
Universal’s Mama, director Andres Muschietti’s horror outing — which opened No. 1 in the U.S. and Canada — premiered in just a half dozen smaller markets, deriving $1 million from 271 playdates. A The cume through Monday stands at $1.2 million . A Korea opening for the Jessica Chastain vehicle is due this week.
Also kicking off its foreign campaign – a week before opening in the U.S. and Canada– was Hansel and Gretel: The Witch Hunters, Paramount/MGM’s 3D co-production distributed overseas by the former.
With Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton portraying the title pair as bounty hunters, the film opened No. 1 in action-friendly Russia, grossing $8.4 million at 814 venues. Paramount said 98% of the action came from 3D locations. Hansel and Gretel, expands its overseas run by 19 territories this week including Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Opening to an iffy start at 1,007 locations in 17 mostly smaller markets was Lionsgate’s release of The Last Stand. Debut gross was put at $3 million with a Brazil bow contributing $1.1 million at 314 sites. Stand, a crime thriller representing the action movie comeback try of Arnold Schwarzenegger, opens this week in the U.K. and France.
Universal Les Miserables grossed $19.1 million on the weekend at 2,876 situations in 29 markets, pushing its foreign gross total to $152.7 million. The musical opened No. 1 in Estonia, India, Indonesia, Norway and the Philippines. A No. 1 second round in the U.K. generated a mighty $7 million at 595 sites for a market cume of $28.8 million.
Director-producer Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey elevated its international gross total to $623.3 million thanks to a $13.2 million weekend at 6,811 venues in 63 markets. Worldwide gross has topped the $900-million mark.
Director Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden has grossed $3.9 million over 18 days in Spain with the weekend providing $624,000 of the total at 253 playdates. Universal is handling the film in many overseas markets, and will open the Oscar nominee this week in the U.K., Finland, France and French-speaking Switzerland.
Paramount’s Tom Cruise action vehicle, Jack Reacher, is approaching the $100-million foreign gross mark ($98 million) after its fifth weekend of offshore play drew $10.9 million at 5,295 situations in 56 countries. A South Korea opening via local distributor C.J. Entertainment generated $3.2 million at 431 locations, ranking No. 2 in the market.
Chugging along in its 12th round on the foreign circuit is Disney’s animation title, Wreck-It Ralph, which grossed another $8.2 million on the weekend from playdates in 60 territories. Foreign cume stands at $173.4 million.
Summit Ent.-Mediaset Espana’s production of The Impossible, distributed overseas by Lionsgate, has crossed the $100-million foreign gross mark ($106 million). Director Juan Antonio Bayona’s tsunami disaster epic costarring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor drew $7.9 million on the weekend at some 2,700 venues in in 47 territories highlighted by a $1.9 million opening round in South Korea.
Warner’s period crime drama, Gangster Squad, collected $5.5 million in its second round on the foreign circuit, playing at 1,471 sites in 24 markets. Early overseas gross total stands at $18.8 million.
Universal’s smash comedy, Ted, finally reached Japan where it opened to $4.5 million on the weekend at 134 playdates. It’s the final international stop for the film, which has grossed a foreign total of $290.2 million. Universal said the Japan opening figure represented a market record for an R-rated American comedy.
Parental Guidance, Fox’s comedy costarring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, pushed its foreign cume to $29.9 million thanks to a $4.3 million weekend at 2,583 spots in 34 markets.
Opening No. 2 in France was Pathe’s release of Alceste A Bicyclette (Cycling With Moliere), director Philippe Le Guay’s comedy costarring Fabrice Luchini and Lambert Wilson about two actors mounting a Moliere play. Debut round generated $2 million from 328 playdates.
Top foreign markets in 2012: The U.K./ Ireland remained the No. 1 foreign territory for the “big six” Hollywood majors in 2012, throwing off $1.9 billion in all, according to the Rentrak box office tracking service, a record year. The percentage accrued to American titles has not yet been disclosed but it is estimated at $1.4 billion.
China emerged as the second biggest foreign territory for the Hollywood majors, and the world’s biggest movie market last year outside the U.S. What’s more, according to figures disclosed earlier this month by Chinese film authorities, American product took an increasing share of theatrical box office there.
China grossed a total of $2.7 billion in 2012, a 28% increase over 2011, with imported films accounting for $1.4 billion or 54% of the market gross. (Hollywood majors’ share of that pot is estimated at about $1 billion.)
For the first time, domestic films represented less than half the market. (In 2007, local films accounted for 67% of China’s total.) 303 films were released (227 Chinese titles, many Hong Kong productions) and 76 imports (most from Hollywood), attributed to the larger number of imported titles (34 versus 20) as a result of the U.S.-China film agreement in February, which increased the number of imported titles allowed per year.
Chinese comedy, Lost In Thailand, was the market’s biggest-grossing release ($160.5 million).
According to preliminary estimates, Japan generated approximately $1.7 billion in total box office, with a strong component of high grossing, locally-made films. Of the top10 foreign markets in 2012 for the Hollywood majors, Japan is likely to rank eighth. U.K. is first, then China, Russia, Mexico, France, Germany (throwing off an estimated $1.3 billion in total), Australia, Japan, Brazil ($819.5 million) and Korea.
Other international cumes: Fox’s Break Up Man, $10.4 million in Germany and German-speaking Switzerland; DreamWorks/Paramount’s Rise of the Guardians, $192 million (after a $2.6 million weekend at 2,751 sites in 44 territories); Universal’s Anna Karenina, $35 million; Sony’s Hotel Transylvania, $174 million (after a $3 million weekend in 34 markets); Universal’s Pitch Perfect, $42.2 million; Sony/MGM’s Skyfall, $740.1 million (after a $2 million weekend at 1,516 venues in 31 markets; worldwide tally stands at $1.041 billion); Universal’s This Is 40, $3.1 million; and Universal’s ParaNorman, $4943 million.
Also: Warner’s Argo, $71.5 million; Cloud Atlas, $15.4 million (in Focus Features territories only); Focus Features’ Hyde Park on Hudson, $671,187; Paramount’s Cirque du Soleil: World’s Away , $15.1 million; Focus Features’ Moonrise Kingdom, $21.5 million; Lionsgate’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2, $535.8 million; and Fox/Europa’s Taken 2, $236.5 million.
Opening this week: Paramount’s Flight in seven markets including Italy and Sweden; and Sony’MGM’s Skyfall bows in China beginning Monday (Jan. 21).
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