Studios racking up record B.O. at foreign tills
The surging euro, pound and yen may have something to do with it, but Hollywood is clearly raking it in at foreign wickets.
And auds abroad are not just flocking to obvious domestic crowd-pleasers like the Harry Potters and “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Twelve.” They’ve warmed to a host of titles that did only so-so business Stateside.
Warners just hit the $2 billion jackpot, the first studio to break that barrier at the overseas box office.
And thanks to big guns “Shrek” and “Shark Tale” (but also “Terminal,” which did better abroad than at home), UIP says it, too, will hit that mark by year’s end. To be fair to Warners, UIP reps three studios abroad — Par, Universal and DreamWorks.
One or two other studios — think Disney with “The Incredibles” (but also the domestic also-ran “King Arthur”) and Sony with “Spider-Man 2” (but also the so-so domestic pic “Gothika”) — are likely to surpass the $1.5 billion hurdle by Dec. 31.
Almost everybody, in fact, is trumpeting one overcome overseas hurdle or another.
Miramax got in the act late last week, pointing out that “Kill Bill 2” and “Master & Commander” helped push the mini-major to $560 million abroad — a company record — and that’s before “Aviator” and “Finding Neverland” hit foreign shores.
Context: Warners was also the first studio to cross the $1 billion threshold back in 1993, followed by Disney, which inched over the line for the first time in 1995.
Warner Bros. Pictures Intl. distribution topper Veronika Kwan-Rubinek and marketing topper Sue Kroll cite a trio of movies that did notably better abroad than at home as helping put the studio over the top.
“The Last Samurai” siphoned $344 million from foreign hardtops, three times its domestic gross.
“Something’s Gotta Give” grossed $142 million abroad, an exceptional number for a Yank romantic comedy.
“Troy” tallied $364 million, making it the fifth-highest foreign grosser for the studio.
Most recently, “A Very Long Engagement,” a co-prod by Warner Bros. France with local Gallic partners, has racked up $36 million overseas, making it the biggest-opening French film of the year.