Aardman toon draws big auds in Germany, Belgium, Brazil
UIP’s “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” continued its reign at the world B.O. over the Oct. 21-23 frame, playing particularly well in its own backyard, the U.K.Other good showings for the Aardman toon came from Germany, Belgium, Brazil and France. Decent holdover numbers have led “Wallace” to so far pass the $108 million mark worldwide. Despite stiff competish from new entries “Nanny McPhee” and “Corpse Bride,” “Wallace” handily won the day in the U.K. again. Blighty biz was down 12% from the previous frame, but up 19% as compared to the same weekend last year thanks to “Wallace’s” wallet. Following up on its boffo opening, “Wallace” dipped 29%. Most bookers had been forecasting a 35% soph drop-off, in line with “Shark Tale,” and there were doubts that “Wallace” could exceed £30 million ($53 million). But most now see this as inevitable. “By Oct. 31, ‘Wallace’ will have probably done £25 million ($44 million) which is an amazing result,” said one booker. The fact that the next “Harry Potter” franchise pic is not previewing has given “Wallace” yet another weekend to shine. Meantime, UIP backed “Nanny McPhee” to the hilt and that pic also delivered. Emma Thompson-penned kiddie pic took $4,649,147, with a hefty per-screen average of $10,887. Bookers attribute strong showing to the ” ‘Britishness’ of the project” and a “cheery Christmassy feel.” UIP’s innovative campaign built buzz around the release, and the bow is particularly impressive given reviews were mixed. A final cume of more than $25 million is now forecast. “Corpse Bride” also outdid expectations (by 15%) in a booming weekend for U.K. exhibs. Tim Burton pic topped $1.8 million, which an exhib called “a fantastic result in any week for the third-choice kids’ film in the marketplace.” Bookers attributed the strong opening to a “good visual campaign from Warner Bros.” and Burton’s being on a roll after the success of “Charlie.” Reviews were positive and bookers are expecting more than $9 million from “Bride” in the U.K. Despite some warm reviews, “Sky High” was not able to make as deep an impact as “McPhee” and “Bride.” The fourth-placed superhero pic got off to a slow start but exhibs report it is picking up in the week. Playground word of mouth is reportedly strong and “it should pass $5 million provided it gets the screentime.” In France, second frame for “Wallace” declined 26% to $2.3 million at 539 for a $5.5 million cume. That gave room for Warner and Burton’s “Corpse Bride” to take France’s top spot with $2.7 million from 427 screens. Pathe’s “Oliver Twist” also played well in Gaul. Roman Polanski adaptation of the classic property took in almost $2.4 million from 547 screens in its opening bow, but couldn’t catch “Corpse.” Local pics continued to play well without much new Hollywood fare, with five of France’s top 10 pics made at home. Meantime, “Wallace”‘s Teutonic soph sesh slipped roughly 29% to $1.8 million for a $4.6 million total, giving the pic a second place finish. German B.O. was buoyed by Buena Vista’s “Flightplan,” which scared up more than $3.6 million from 658 screens in its opening frame there. UIP’s “Pride and Prejudice” also bowed in Germany, taking third place over the Oct. 21-23 frame. Pic took in nearly $1.3 million from 285 screens, for a $4,529 per-screen average. In Italy, Roberto Benigni’s “The Tiger and the Snow” helped B.O. make an 11% upswing. Pic had a slow start when many theaters shuttered to protest governmental cuts to the arts during the its opening frame. “Tiger,” about a poet in Iraq, brought in $3.78 million more, clawing its way towards $9.5 million overall. However, “Tiger” has given Italo exhibs less of a boost than they had hoped. ” ‘Pinocchio’ made e15 million ($18.1 million) in the first two weekends of release,” groused one exhib there. But exhibs hope that “Tiger” has staying power. Polanski’s “Twist” took second place in Italy, and the pic is expected to hold over in it’s second frame. Pic pocketed $1.29 million in its opening bow. It’s being distribbed in Italy by local company Medusa, and the helmer stopped in Rome recently to plug the project. “Polanski is well-liked here,” said one exhib, noting that “The Pianist” was previously a hit in Italy. “This, along with the fact that ‘Oliver Twist’ is a story that everyone knows guarantees strong results.” Italy is still waiting for such pics as “The Interpreter,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Wallace” to make their way there, and exhibs are anxious to see how they do, but lament that the films’ buzz has already fizzled in many cases. In Spain, B.O. dropped for the third consecutive frame, this time by 7%. That meant after the gangbuster returns of local pic “Torrente 3,” B.O. was back in line with realistic expectations. One Spanish booker lamented: “Despite (the fact that) ‘Torrente 3′ has dropped 50% each weekend after its bow, it nearly leads the top 10 again, as we haven’t had a foreign blockbuster for weeks.” Over the Oct. 21-23 weekend “Torrente” lost its lead position and “7 Virgins” tops the chart as a fall sleeper in Spain. “Virgins” led the top-10 with a healthy per-screen average of $5,039. In its second frame, it dropped only 2%, making $895,246 and cuming $2 million. In Spain, “Wallace” is not playing as well as in other countries. It ranks No. 7, and has cumed $3.2 in 17 days. “(Wallace) is doing just decently, considering there’s not much animation or familiar product at the moment,” said one booker. (Archie Thomas in the U.K., Liza Klaussmann in France, Sheri Jennings in Italy and Esther de Prado in Spain contributed to this report.)
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