With so few new high-profile entries in the foreign B.O. landscape, a handful of holdovers dominated over the Sept. 23-25 frame. Warner Bros.’ “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was able to sweeten its pot, taking in $13.7 million more from 55 markets and soaring past $400 million.
“Charlie” handily took the No. 1 spot in international B.O., while Buena Vista’s “Cinderella Man” staggered behind with $6.2 million in second.
In a fractured market, each territory seemed to have its own fave pic over the frame, and local features were able to make headway as a result.
In Blighty, biz was down 7% compared with the previous frame, and down 6% from the same weekend last year. Apart from UIP’s “Pride and Prejudice,” there were precious few pics performing above expectations.
Helmer Guy Ritchie’s lackluster “Revolver” bow was a big disappointment, and the U.K. exhib community’s hopes are now pinned on the “Wallace & Gromit” feature to kickstart biz Oct. 14.
(“Gromit” has already done boffo biz for UIP in Australia, where the pic is beating out “Chicken Run’s” previous perf, with nearly $3.7 million in two weeks of release.)
Holding steady, the lit epic adaptation “Pride” dipped just 14% in its soph frame, and exhibs were delighted with its staying power. Spurred on by strong reviews and good word of mouth, “Pride” raced to $11.3 in 10 days and looks set to top $35 million in the U.K.
On the other hand, “Revolver” was brutalized by U.K. critics. “Revolver’s” opening was down 10%-15% from projections, which had already been scaled back from £1.5 million to £1 million shortly before release. (It didn’t bode well that Ritchie and wife Madonna were booed at the pic’s U.K. preem.)
Bookers are disappointed, with one commenting, “We at least thought it would make some money upfront before word of mouth killed it.” But Blighty exhibs don’t lay blame with distrib Redbus.
“The poster image (for the film) was bold and highly visible,” says one, and consensus is that the critics’ reviews hurt.
Horror pic “Land of the Dead” opened slightly above expectations in the U.K., which was a nice surprise for UIP. Huge popularity of recent Brit-made zombie spoof “Shaun of the Dead” raised awareness of George A. Romero’s films and helped boost “Land’s” profile with auds.
“Dead” killed off Oz-set frightener “Wolf Creek,” which slipped 45% in its soph showing.
Placing 10th in the U.K., Japanese toon “Howl’s Moving Castle” performed well for only a 95-screen release. Reviews were mixed, but per-screen average of almost $4,000 was fourth best for the frame in the U.K.
In France, B.O. fell 6% from the prior frame. Local pic “The Perfume of the Lady Black” fell 42% in soph sesh and Buena Vista Intl.’s “Cinderella Man,” also in its second week, dropped 48% as lukewarm word of mouth spread.
Coming in at No. 1 in its Gallic first week, “Bewitched” grossed just over $2.2 million. While one Paris-based exhib says he thought the opening was “fair,” he admits the exhibs were hoping for more robust biz: Pic is based on a series that has been a classic hit in France for years.
Per-screen average in France for “Bewitched” was $4,506 from 491 screens.
Coming in at No. 2 in France, local pic “Entre ses mains” was this week’s high point, taking in more than $1.2 million in its first week on just 158 screens.
Pic, which stars fave Benoit Poelvoorde and Isabelle Carre, is a thriller about a veterinarian who may also be a serial killer.
Hitchcockian “Mains” averaged $7,737 per screen and is expected to expand.
Still proving a tough territory to crack, Germany saw its B.O. returns drop 22% compared with the prior week with new entries failing to make much of a dent.
Sony’s “Bewitched” remained in the No. 2 Teutonic spot, while local pic “Die weisse Massai” (The White Massai) stayed in pole position.
“It was the slowest weekend in a long time,” says one down exhib. “And I think it has to do with the pics, rather than anything else.”
Also in the top five, after “Massai” and “Bewitched” were “The Longest Yard” and “Dark Water.”
“American football just isn’t that popular here, and neither is Adam Sandler,” huffs one exhib over “Yard’s” perf for distrib Sony.
Although Teutonic distrib Tobis has a hit with its Bill Murray starrer “Broken Flowers,” it has kept the film on only 90 screens to date.
In Spain, B.O. fell 18% compared with the same frame last year. Lack of product was the main cause for the drop, according to bizzers.
None of five new pics brightened exhibs’ hopes, and bookers were looking forward to the Sept. 30 bow of local pic “Torrente 3” to brighten the B.O. picture.
Holdover “Monster-in-Law” was the top dog in Spain but dropped a hefty 41%. Even so, “Monster” made $1.2 million, which was enough to beat the soft bow of UIP’s air scare pic “Red Eye.”
“Eye” was the strongest opener of the weekend in Spain, despite making just over $800,000.
Meantime, Spanish exhibs are happy with “Brothers Grimm,” which cumed $4.3 million over 17 days.
As in most territories, Ron Howard’s “Cinderella Man” has shown poor legs in La Mancha.
In Italy, B.O. was down 24% from the previous weekend. Auds lapped up “Charlie,” which finished in first. “Fantastic Four,” meantime, took a big dip, dropping more than 50%, and “Madagascar” continued to show legs.
Italo auds are now looking forward to Roberto Benigni’s “The Tiger and the Snow” as the country’s next local hit.
(Christian Koehl in Germany, Liza Klaussmann in France, Sheri Jennings in Italy, Archie Thomas in the U.K. and Esther De Prado in Madrid contributed to this report.)