‘Potter’ gets hotter

'Rings,' 'Hawk' also charge ahead o'seas

More records tumbled last week as “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” continue to weave their spells abroad, while there were potent opening salvos from “Black Hawk Down” and “Ocean’s Eleven.”

Ten weeks since its international blast-off in the U.K. and Taiwan, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” hit $566.2 million, streaking past “Jurassic Park’s” $563 million to rank as the second-highest earner in history overseas, behind “Titanic.”

Driven by hefty repeat business, the Chris Columbus-helmed fantasy raked in $15.7 million from more than 5,000 screens in 52 markets: a dizzying $600 million is now firmly in its sights.

Among its latest laurels, the little wizard is now Holland’s second-highest grosser ever, overtaking “The Lion King”; and Australia’s third-biggest after the big boat and “Crocodile Dundee.”

New Line’s “Lord of the Rings” smashed the industry opening record in Italy (which “Harry Potter” didn’t get to keep for long) and snared a socko $2.5 million in six days on 58 screens in Taiwan.

Peter Jackson’s fantasy-adventure mustered approximately $42.4 million on 6,538 prints, hoisting its cume to $341.1 million.

Depending on how compelling the pic proves to be in Japan, where it takes off March 2, an eventual foreign tally of $500 million seems possible.

Among its stellar scores are Hungary’s $1 million and the Czech Republic’s $899,000, both after two weeks. In New Zealand, the epic has amassed $4.2 million, trailing only all-time champ “Titanic’s” $5.5 million, which it will surely surpass.

Sony/Revolution’s “Black Hawk Down” flew into the U.K. as an impressive No. 2 behind the still-ascendant “Rings,” outgunning the bows of “Con Air,” “The Rock” and “Enemy of the State.” Exhibs were delighted with its weekday takings and expecting a sturdy hold. The Somalia war saga helmed by Ridley Scott commanded pole position in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

“Ocean’s Eleven” ascended to $50.2 million after banking $17.4 million from 2,219 screens in 14 countries. The casino heist outperformed the debuts of “Erin Brockovich” and “What Women Want” in Spain, and shone in Sweden and Greece.

The Steven Soderbergh-helmed remake cruised through its second turn in Germany, taking the top spot from “Rings.”

Still lively in its fifth lap in Italy, it’s now WB’s second-most lucrative title there.

“Spy Game’s” estimated cume reached $48 million, spurred by buoyant soph sessions in France and Mexico, and handy contributions from Japan and Italy.

Oscar hopeful “Iris,” Miramax’s Kate Winslet/Judi Dench starrer, resonated strongly on 84 screens in its native Blighty, its first assignment outside North America.

In its world preem in the U.K., local low-budget horror-thriller “Long Time Dead” was fairly anemic, which may presage tough sledding for its domestic distrib Universal Focus next month.

“Burning in the Wind,” a melancholy love story of Eastern European immigrant workers in a Swiss factory, which is the Italo entry at next month’s Berlin fest competition, garnered glowing reviews and a decent turnout on 65 prints in Italy.

Danish import “Italian for Beginners” was a sizable arthouse draw in Germany, fueled by admiring notices and good word-of-mouth.

Among the lesser lights, the Kevin Spacey vehicle “K-Pax” was sickly in Spain, restricted to just 25 prints, its first major market. The genre and languid storytelling likely will be problematic for non-English speaking viewers.

Domestic underachiever “Bandits” generally isn’t faring much better abroad, but the Barry Levinson-helmed caper did surprise exhibs in France, recording the healthiest per-screen average of the top 10. Topliners Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton are popular there, and the critics were approving. “A classy and charming film, which will satisfy any nostalgia for the Golden Age of Hollywood, as well as the admirers of Cate Blanchett,” one gushes.

Fox’s Bosnia-set tale “Behind Enemy Lines” showed some firepower in Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines, but was ho-hum in Brazil and blah in France. Gallic crits were withering, one labeling it a “bad ‘Top Gun’ with dubious pro-American sentiments.” It has scraped up a measly $11 million in 21 markets thus far.

(David Rooney in Rome, Liza Klaussmann in Paris, John Hopewell in Madrid, Ed Meza in Berlin and Lee Simkins in London contributed to this report.)

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