Around the World Roundup: 'Sweeney Todd,' Russian Movie Lead
by Conor Bresnan
February 2, 2008
|Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd|
The international box office was up last weekend after a steady three-week decline. Helping matters was the record setting debut of Samiy luchshiy film (The Very Best Film). The Russian language release set the opening weekend benchmark in its native land with a stunning $16.5 million from 702 screens. That thumped Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End's $14 million start and bested the debut of the country's highest grosser, Ironiya sudby. Prodolzhenie (now at $49 million). In the Ukraine, The Very Best Film scored the second highest opening ever, beneath At World's End with $1.3 million debut from 88 screens. The picture opened in Estonia ($42,843 from 5), Latvia ($71,917 from 4) and Lithuania ($111,599) as well and, while all were first place debuts, they were not in the league of the Russian and Ukrainian starts.
Overall, The Very Best Film's $18 million weekend was slightly less than Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street's $18.3 million from ten markets. Sweeney headlined France with a solid $3.9 million from 365 screens, more than doubling Dreamgirls' start and 50 percent bigger than Chicago's, among past movies. In the United Kingdom, Sweeney's $9 million from 436 locations was even better, topping Sleepy Hollow as well as more than doubling Phantom of the Opera. However, the musical wasn't impressive in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, it generated just $1.3 million from 127 screens, losing to the third weekend of 27 Dresses, and in New Zealand it managed third place with a paltry $222,429 from 39 screens. All others starts were excellent and holdovers like Japan (now at $8.8 million) and South Korea ($4.3 million) were very good.
I Am Legend tumbled 44 percent and fell two spots to third place with $16.2 million from 57 markets for a $290 million total. In Sweden, the sci-fi horror recorded a decent $595,424 opening from 87 screens and, in Turkey, a much better $815,905 from 111 screens, both of which were No. 1. Legend also remained atop its two second weekend markets of Mexico ($8.6 million total) and Brazil ($6.1 million).
With a $5.4 million opening in Germany, National Treasure: Book of Secrets boosted its weekend box office by 52 percent to $12.5 million for a $158.7 million total. Germany's opening, though, was only a little more than half of I Am Legend's opening three weeks earlier and just marginally better than the original. In Brazil, the adventure sequel was lackluster with a second place $1.1 million from 227 screens.
Cloverfield entered the Top Five with a $9.2 million weekend from 18 markets for an early $15 million tally. So far, the monster movie has performed worse overseas than domestically. Particularly disappointing last weekend was South Korea with a second place $2.5 million from 344 screens, despite a plot similar to South Korea's all time box office hit The Host and the recent success of I Am Legend. It was only 56 percent better than The Mist's debut. Elsewhere, Cloverfield dove 61 percent in Australia to sixth place with a mediocre $876,844 weekend and a $3.9 million total and it was moderate in Russia with $1.9 million from 394 screens.
Both The Bucket List and Rambo made their foreign debuts last weekend. The Bucket List was relatively better with $4.8 million from seven territories compared to Rambo's $3.8 million from 11. Bucket List was adequate in Italy ($1.1 million) and Germany ($1.8 million) but not that appealing overall. Rambo had decent starts in Russia ($1.6 million), Malaysia ($481,467) and Norway ($215,135), but suffered from the gap between releases in the franchise.
Getting a leg up on its wide release this weekend, Asterix aux jeux olympiques opened somewhat disappointingly in Poland. The 11th installment in the highly successful French comic book series grossed $913,076 from 136 screens. That was an improvement on the franchise's highest grossing picture, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatre, but that picture opened back in 2002. The family comedy opens in more than twelve countries this weekend, including France where Mission Cleopatre made $75.3 million.
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• International Box Office Home Page