Japan’s Earthquake Pushes Down International Box Office 60% From Last Year

Rango still

Paramount’s “Rango” takes the top international spot with $23 million in 46 markets; Disney’s “Tangled” opens to only $1.6 million in Japan amidst “ongoing tragic conditions.”

In a drab box office stanza on the foreign theatrical circuit – down a full 60% from the 2010’s comparable weekend largely due to Japan’s earthquake ordeal – Paramount’s Rango claimed the No. 1 spot, snaring $23.3 million from 5,103 locations in 44 markets, and pushing its early overseas gross total to $46.4 million.
The good news is that theatrical exhibition continued in more or less reasonable fashion in those parts of Japan not affected by the earthquake.

Disney said it went ahead with its market opening of Tangled at 370 screens “despite the ongoing tragic conditions.” The weekend provided a No. 3 market ranking for the 3D reworking of the Rapunzel tale with $1.74 million.  

Given Disney animation’s traditional popularity in Japan, that gross return is but a small fraction of what the Tangled opening would have provided under normal conditions. Still, the Japan return generated nearly half of Tangled’s total return of $4.1 million in its 15th weekend of foreign release at 2,658 screens in 41 markets. The film’s offshore gross totals $355.4 million.

Sony and other distribs’ The Tourist took in $1.37 million in Japan, a 64% box office drop in its second weekend at 237 screens. So far the romantic thriller costarring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie -- which began its foreign run early last December -- has pulled $9.2 million out of Japan since its bow there on March 5. The weekend overall for The Tourist registered $2.25 million from 998 screens in 28 markets for a foreign cume of $197 million.

Weekend tally for The King’s Speech, which opened in Japan via Gaga Communications on Feb. 26, dropped nearly 73% from the prior stanza, coming in at $442,731 from 92 spots. Speech has grossed a total of $7.6 million in Japan. Overall Speech drew $15.8 million from 3,980 screens in 52 territories, pushing its foreign gross total past the $200 million mark (cume $206.2 million) and taking the weekend’s No. 3 spot. 

20th Century Fox’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader -- which had been having a triumphant Japan run at the conclusion of a lengthy overseas campaign – managed to draw $1.4 million from 612 locations, with most of the business coming from southern Japan. Treader has pulled $19.2 million out of Japan since opening there on Feb. 25. The film’s overseas cume stands at $297.9 million.

Although DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind had been listed on some overseas schedules as a March 12 opener in Japan, distributor Paramount said the film did not premier in the market on the weekend. Furthermore, said Andrew Cripps, president of Paramount Pictures Int’l., the 3D animation title --winding an overseas campaign begun in October of 2010 -- “will not release there.”

But Paramount will roll the dice this Friday (March 18) by proceeding with the scheduled Japan opening of True Grit.

Meanwhile, Paramount’s Rango, an animation western directed by Gore Verbinski, with the title character voiced by Johnny Depp, opened in 13 markets, finishing No. 1 in Australia ($2.75 million from 296 spots), in Italy ($2.7 million from 408 situations) and in New Zealand.  Biggest holdover territory was the U.K. ($2.5 million from 471, a mild 5% drop from last round, for a market cume of $5.9 million).

Sony’s Battle: Los Angeles opened No. 2 overseas by grossing $16.47 million from 3,066 screens in 33 markets. Known in many overseas markets as World Invasion, the Columbia Pictures-Relativity Media sci-fi outing pitting U. S. Marines against invading aliens premiered No. 1 in at least 10 markets, and picked up a per-screen average of $5,371 overall.

Top three markets for were Russia ($4.3 million from 661 venues), South Korea ($3.1 million from 482 sites) and the U.K. ($2.9 million from 420 locations). Battle: Los Angeles also opened No. 1 domestically on the weekend.

Premiering in 14 mostly smaller foreign markets, Disney’s Mars Needs Moms drew $3.5 million from 1,170 screens. The animation saga about a boy’s effort to rescue his kidnapped-by-Martians mother opened No. 5 domestically. A Mexico bow is due this week. 

No. 4 on the weekend was of Torrente 4, the latest in a Spanish-language series of dark action comedies masterminded by actor-director Santiago Segura, who plays the title character, Jose Luis Torrente. Co-produced by Amiguetes Ent. and Antena 3 Films, the Warner Bros. pickup drew $11.7 million in its dominant No. 1 Spain opener at 911 screens.

No. 5 was Fox’s Black Swan, the Natalie Portman best actress Oscar vehicle, collecting $10.7 million from 4,440 screens in 44 territories, hoisting its overseas gross total to $166 million. The Adjustment Bureau, Universal’s drama-romance costarring Matt Damon, registered $8.7 million from 2,625 sites in 31 territories for an early foreign cume of $23.7 million. Bureau opened in 10 markets with Germany providing $1.2 million from 341 locations.

Warner’s The Rite, the exorcism-themed outing starring Anthony Hopkins, opened No. 1 in France ($2.8 million from 237 sites) and drew $8.3 million overall on the weekend from 2,005 screens in 36 markets.  Overseas cume stands at $35.9 million.

DreamWorks’ I Am Number Four, the sci-fi-thriller released overseas via Disney, took $7.1 million on the weekend from 3,662 screens in 32 markets for a foreign gross total of $56.1 million, which Disney said “represents 55% of our potential result.” A quarter of the total ($14 million) comes from China.

Sony’s Just Go With It, the comedy costarring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, has grossed $45.6 million overseas so far thanks to a $6.4 million weekend at 1,835 screens in 34 markets. Opening in nine markets, the Farrelly brothers’ comedy Hall Pass from Warners drew $5.4 million from 1,430 locations in 13 territories for an early overseas cume of $8.6 million. 

The Coen brother’s True Grit, playing at 2,420 sites in 58 markets via Paramount, snared $4.3 million, lifting its foreign cume to $67.4 million. The same distrib’s romantic comedy No Strings Attached, playing 2,494 locations in 38 territories, drew $4 million on the weekend for a cume of $53.2 million.

Fox’s Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son starring Martin Lawrence laughed all the way to $3.65 million from 1,935 situations in 35 territories for a foreign cume of $26 million. Universal’s British-made comedy Paul, co-starring and co-scripted by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, drew $2.6 million on the weekend from 715 dates in four markets.  Cume stands at $25.8 million. Paul opens in the U.S. and Canada on Friday.

Other international cumes: Sony’s The Green Hornet, $129.4 million; Disney’s Tron: Legacy, $225.4 million; Warner’s Kokowaah, $40 million over six rounds in Germany and Austria; Focus Features’ Biutiful, $16.4 million; Disney’s Gnomeo & Juliet, $14.3 million (Disney territories only); Fox’s Never Let Me Go, $4 million; Pathe’s comedy Le Marquis, $2.1 million in No. 2 France opener at 400 sites; Universal/Focus Features’ The American, $32.3 million; Fox’s 127 Hours, $22.8 million (Fox territories only); Sony’s Burlesque, $49.8 million; and Paramount’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, $9.3 million.

Also, Warner’s Yogi Bear, $100.2 million; Universal and other distribs’ Sanctum, $54.2 million; The Weinstein Co.’s The Fighter, $30 million; Focus Features’ The Eagle, $6.4 million; Fox’s Gulliver’s Travels, $173.9 million; The Weinstein Co.’s Piranha 3D, $57.4 million; Warner Bros. and other distrib’s Unknown, $35.5 million; Lionsgate’s Season of the Witch, estimated $51.6 ; Paramount’s Morning Glory, $20.8 million; Focus Features’ Another Year, $14 million; Fox’s Conviction, $2.99 million; Pathe’s Nothing to Declare, $64.2 million; Focus Features and other distrib’s The Kids Are All Right, $13 million; Lionsgate’s Saw 3D, $90 millionand Fox’s Love Carrot 3, $7.5 million.