Col hits int’l b.o. highs

Spurred on by strong international box office, Columbia Pictures saw both “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “A Few Good Men” surpass $ 200 million in worldwide revenues over the past weekend. In foreign territories the films are currently ranked fourth and sixth for 1993.

Ironically, while “Dracula’s” current domestic/international ratio is two-to-one favoring foreign revenues, the opposite is true of “A Few Good Men.” J. Edward Shugrue, president of Columbia TriStar Intl., said that after “Dracula’s”$ 30 million-plus domestic opening, his department was called in by Sony president Jonathan Dolgen and basically told to “top it” at the foreign B.O..

“Dracula,” with a current international cume of almost $ 120 million, now ranks as CTI’s top-grossing Columbia title and third-highest foreign gross behind the TriStar titles “Hook” and “Terminator 2.”

In fact, the film has broken opening day, weekend and/or weekly box office records in such territories as the U.K., France, Spain, Thailand and South Korea. As in domestic release, it has posted outstanding openings. However, in most major international territories, the film has held considerably better on a week-to-week basis.

The major exception for “Dracula” was Japan, a society with no vampire legend in its culture. Japan, also the first foreign market in which the film was released, had a more modern-looking ad campaign, eschewing western-culture-based Gothic elements.

Clark noted that “A Few Good Men” played up the images of its three stars, but in some territories removed the backdrop of the American flag.

“Dracula’s” best dates have been France and the U.K., which have both registered more than $ 15 million, Japan more than $ 12 million and Spain close to $ 11 million.

“A Few Good Men” has had a slightly more complex and difficult challenge overseas. Unlike “Dracula,” which had director Francis Coppola and many of its stars stumping internationally, “Men” was hampered by work conflicts among its principals and was limited to L.A.-based interviews.

But the picture became an event in what Shugrue describes as the “stunt” of a worldwide premiere. It was then opened on the heels of the American release internationally, with the intent of having it on a maximum number of screens the day of Oscar nominations. Generally, the rollout worked.

Still, the Oscar remains a magical marketing tool and an audience lure. Following its four Oscar nods, CTS increased its print count by roughly 10% and saw revenues jump 24%. To date, “A Few Good Men” has grossed close to $ 75 million in foreign territories.

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