The U.S. majors were reaching for superlatives last week as a cluster of pix scaled new peaks of profitability in foreign markets for a rip-roaring start to 1993.
Among the milestones:
- “Beauty and the Beast’s” overseas gross soared to $ 165 million, beating its domestic total by some $ 20 million. Add that to “Little Mermaid,””Dead Poets Society” and “Pretty Woman” among Disney titles that have performed significantly better internationally than domestically.
- “The Bodyguard” sped past $ 70.5 million. It’s already Warner Bros.’ highest earner ever in Japan, amassing $ 20.6 million through the fifth weekend, and the distrib says it’s on track to hit $ 30 million there. Pointing to its holding power, WB projects it will wind up with upwards of $ 150 million overseas.
- “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” vaulted to $ 115 million and is still No. 1 in Germany, France and parts of Scandinavia.
- “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” posted the third best opening ever in Australia, behind “Crocodile Dundee 2” and “Terminator 2,” making $ 2.15 million on 105 screens for a hot $ 20,561 average.
Of the other high-flyers in foreign, “Sister Act” sashayed to $ 65 million and “Death Becomes Her,” paradoxically a stronger draw in foreign-language territories than in the U.K. and Australia, advanced to $ 46.5 million.
“A Few Good Men” bowed in Britain, pocketing $ 2.08 million on 170 prints, rated by exhibs as very good but not outstanding.
Britain’s UCI chain described the holiday period as “absolutely phenomenal,” the best for many years. The Blighty top 10 racked up $ 10.5 million last week, a slight dip from the previous frame’s $ 11.8 million. “The Bodyguard” was up by 5% in the second round on 264 prints, $ 7.4 million to date.
But in France when folks went back to work and school Jan. 4, most titles plummeted by 50% to 75%. Yet ticket sales in Paris in the week ended Jan. 5 tallied a healthy 760,000, comfortably ahead of last year’s 670,000.
In Italy, “Beauty and the Beast” ascended to a dizzying $ 23.4 million in the fifth weekend, while “The Bodyguard” raced to $ 8.2 million in the fourth on 170 . The Disney pic is on course to dislodge “Basic Instinct” as the champ in the current season, which started last September.
Exhibs say “Home Alone 2” isn’t as potent in Italy as elsewhere, having logged $ 4 million through the third. Italo top 10 earned $ 15.3 million in the week ended Jan. 3, down from the previous frame’s $ 17.7 million, but enough to keep cinemas happy.
In Germany, the top 10’s receipts slid by 25% to a still buoyant $ 10.6 million.
The New Year holiday gave the Japanese B.O. a big lift. The top trio are “The Bodyguard,””Home Alone 2” ($ 18 million through the third weekend) and “Dracula” ($ 5 million, same period).
Still benefiting from school vacation, the Australian B.O. jumped by 32% to $ 8.2 million. Apart from “Dracula,” the other hot entry was “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid,” with a perky $ 5,294 average on 114 screens. “Good Men” held steady in the third week on 87 screens, $ 2.98 million total.
But Australia is giving a quick burial to “Leap of Faith” and “Midnight Sting” (i.e., “Diggstown”), which has tanked also in parts of Europe. MGM’s marketing department took a lot of heat but UIP is having no more luck with the new title and campaign.