'Park' bow, 'Shrek' streak monstrous o'seas
Killer bows by “Jurassic Park III” together with breakout indigenous entries in Japan and Germany and monster ongoing business for “Shrek” sent the overseas B.O. flying faster than pteranodons last week.
The dino pic helmed by Joe Johnston devoured $23.2 million from 1,450 engagements in 13 territories, outrunning the preems of “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” in some places and “The Mummy Returns” in others.
The carnivores posted UIP’s seventh-highest debut in the U.K., 16% below “Lost World,” 3% ahead of “Mission: Impossible 2” and 20% bigger than “Gladiator.” Mexico’s $4 million haul in five days on 337 ranks as the second-highest ever there behind another creature feature, “Dinosaur.” Argentina’s $2 million on 74 came in 35% bigger than “Lost World” and 98% up on “The Mummy” sequel, while Brazil’s $1.7 million in five days on 244 beat “Lost World” by 7%. South Korea’s $2.8 million in six days on 80 topped the previous edition by 5% and repped UIP’s third best bow.
The dinos nabbed $1 million on 28 in Singapore — the territory’s biggest nonholiday preem of all time — and $641,000 on 41 in Malaysia, 15% better than “M:I 2.”
Universal/UIP couldn’t have wished for a more potent start — but the third installment is unlikely to reach “Lost World’s” $395 million lifetime cume, let alone “Jurassic Park’s” phenom $556 million, for two reasons: the law of diminishing returns for sequels, and steep declines in most local currencies since the heydays of the earlier pics.
“Pearl Harbor” captured $13.6 million overseas, elevating its cume to $173.8 million. Coming off a stellar preem in Japan, Michael Bay’s WWII epic abated by an acceptable 32%, amassing $19.8 million in 12 days. There’s no doubt “Pearl” will fly higher than domestic, but by how much will depend largely on how it stands up in Japan to the onslaught of “Planet of the Apes,” which opened Saturday, and “Jurassic Park III” on Aug. 4.
Smashing all-time opening records in Japan was “Spirited Away,” an animated fantasy from writer-helmer Hayao Miyazaki that benefited from launching on July 20, a national holiday. Pic’s $13.1 million in three days beat the three-day bow of Miyazaki’s “Princes Mononoke” (Japan’s reigning B.O. champ at $150 million) by 80%.
“A.I. Artificial Intelligence” dropped by a trifling 23% in its fourth frame in Japan (losing 30-40 screens in the provinces to “Spirited Away”), racking up $50.7 million in 26 days.
“Dr. Dolittle 2” looked sickly in Japan, which is no surprise, since the original fetched a mediocre $12 million there out of a foreign total of $149.2 million. The Eddie Murphy vehicle drew tepid receptions in Belgium, Thailand, South Africa and Switzerland. Laffer’s cume is a modest $18.9 million from 28 markets, resonating best in Mexico, Australia and Brazil; all the big Euro territories lie ahead.
Pouching about $21 million from 24 territories, “Shrek” vaulted to $108 million — the 10th title to cross $100 million this year, spurred by Israel’s $667,000 opener on 31, Spain’s $3.9 million in 13 days (off 26%) and heady holdover biz in Korea, Germany, France and the U.K.
DreamWorks’ toon overtook “The Lion King” to claim the animated crown in Oz and the No. 12 spot on the all-time chart.
Continuing to struggle in Asia, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” tanked in Taiwan, but it’s swimming strongly in Mexico and Argentina. Cume is $17.2 million from 18 Latino and Asian territories.
“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” isn’t far away from joining the $100 million club, jumping to $88 million after stealing an estimated $12 million in 21 markets. Angelina Jolie starrer saw muscular debuts in Hong Kong, Holland and Denmark.
Teutons on the trail
“Der Schuh des Manitu,” a spoof of 1960s German Westerns starring, directed and written by popular TV comic Michael Herbig, had a rollicking opening in Germany, appealing both to kids and adults who grew up on those oaters. Rookie “Evolution” did OK, but “Cats & Dogs” was chewed up by competition that included “Shrek.”
In France, the green ogre squeezed freshmen “Evolution” and “Spy Kids,” although with hindsight, Bac, the latter’s distrib, admitted it would have been smarter to have waited for the September school vacation to release “Kids.” Indeed, Miramax’s family pic has had a checkered path: terrif in the U.K., fair in South Korea, blah in Brazil and so-so in Singapore. Cume is $17.5 million in 22 territories.
Cyberthriller “Swordfish” didn’t upload big numbers in Spain, but word of mouth there is good, and the John Travolta/Hugh Jackman starrer has earned tidy sums Down Under and in Korea.
Following phenom perfs in the U.K. and Spain, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” saw sexy figures in Sweden, Norway and New Zealand. With $75.9 million in the till from just seven countries, the romantic comedy already has sprinted past domestic.
Among national hopefuls, Mel Smith’s British comedy “High Heels and Low Lifes” generated few yocks in Blighty, while in Spain, tongue-in-cheek campus slasher “Tuno Negro” is shaping up as the first homegrown hit since April’s “Torrente 2.”