'Potter' powers o'seas B.O. with $80 mil bow

It’s totally Harry Potter’s world once more.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” ignited what had been a mild foreign box office with $80 million on 6,000 prints in 19 countries, finishing first in every market and setting a slew of records.

Despite opening in only three leading foreign markets — the U.K., Germany and Mexico — the fourth Potter pic nearly equaled the larger foreign launch of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” which included the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Mexico and totaled $87.2 million at 7,885 screens in 24 markets in June 2004.

“Goblet of Fire” will launch next weekend in Japan, Italy and Spain, Benelux and Brazil, followed by France and Australia during the first December frame. The initial figures indicate “Goblet” could approach the same foreign totals for its predecessors — $543 million for “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” $617 million for “The Chamber of Secrets” and $656 million for “The Sorcerer’s Stone.”

‘Goblet’ gobbles up records

The U.K. led the “Goblet” charge with $24.6 million at 1,462 playdates, representing the top three-day weekend (excluding previews) and top three-day launch as it beat the Monday-Wednesday holiday-weekend opening of “Azkaban.”

“Goblet” dominated in Germany with $19.8 million at 1,243 sites, representing more than 85% of the box office from the top five flicks. The Teuton total is the best four-day launch in Germany and trails only the five-day openings for the second and third “Lord of the Rings” films.

Mexican audiences drank deeply from “Goblet,” with $6.8 million at 654 for the best launch for a Warner Bros. film and the third biggest of all time. Taiwan posted the fourth biggest foreign figure with $3.5 million at 184, the second biggest launch in that market after “Kung Fu Hustle.”

China, which went day-and-date for the first time on a Potter pic, followed with $3.4 million at 349 playdates, marking the top launch for a Warner film in that market. Denmark saw “Goblet” turn in the top three-day opening (excluding previews) with $2.6 million at 97, while Sweden and Austria generated $2.5 million each, followed by Norway with $2.2 million and Thailand with $2 million.

Though key foreign markets such as Germany, France and Spain have seen double-digit declines so far in 2005, the fourth Potter pic and next month’s worldwide launches of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by BVI and “King Kong” by UIP may prove a tonic. Should all three click, international territories will end the year with far more respectable numbers compared with 2004’s elevated figures.

Rivals shy away

Rival distribs avoided head-to-head confrontations with “Harry Potter” during the frame, resulting in launches limited to non-“Goblet” markets and mostly moderate perfs by other pics. BVI continued to rack up decent holdover numbers from “Flightplan,” with $10.2 million at 3,501 playdates in 37 markets to push its foreign cume to $75 million and its worldwide take to $162 million.

“Flightplan,” which led the foreign box office last weekend with $15.2 million, landed with a 44% soph sesh decline in Spain with $1.6 million at 303, followed by $1.4 million at 322 in its second French frame, $1 million at 241 in Australia and $1 million at 140 in South Korea. Top foreign market for the Jodie Foster thriller has been Germany, with $14 million after six weeks.

BVI also took the third slot, with “Chicken Little” scaring up $7.5 million at 2,100 sites to lift its foreign take to $25 million and the worldwide total to $123 million. “Little” opened fairly big in Spain with $2.5 million at 394 and in Holland with $550,000 at 120 — the sixth largest animated launch in each of those markets.

Best foreign market for “Little” so far has been Mexico with $9 million after 17 days, including $1.2 million at 600 in its third weekend. Poland has shown surprising “Little” strength with $1.8 million in 10 days, including a 25% decline in its soph sesh to $660,000 at 120.

Fox’s “In Her Shoes” showed a bit of kick with $6.3 million at 1,960 engagements; it slipped 23% in its second U.K. weekend to $1.6 million at 328 and 22% in Germany with $1.4 million at 416. “Shoes” saw mild launches in Japan with $937,000 at 290 and in France with $887,000 at 315.

‘Exorcism’ scares up auds

Sony’s “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” conjured up $6.2 million at 1,545 screens in 31 markets to remain a respectable performer; it has taken in $21.5 million on the foreign front after its solid $75 million domestic run. Top takes for “Emily” came in a Spanish launch with $2.4 million at 325, equaling the 2000 reissue of “The Exorcist,” and in its Mexican soph sesh with $1.2 million at 345.

Sony/Spyglass sequel “The Legend of Zorro” took in $4.4 million at 4,100 in 66 markets to lift its four-week foreign cume to $81 million and its worldwide take to $124 million — half the $250 million combined total for 1998’s “The Mask of Zorro.”

UIP’s “Elizabethtown” took in $3.35 million with launches in South Korea and Russia to lift its foreign cume to $18.5 million. Warner’s “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” is still showing life with $3 million at 940 playdates, including a modest $674,000 launch at 163 in Oz, to push international grosses to $55.1 million.

UIP’s sturdy “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” grabbed $2.88 million to push foreign cume to $120 million. Distrib’s “The Constant Gardener” harvested $2.5 million at 755 sites in half a dozen territories and its “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” scored $2 million at 1,080 for a foreign cume of $54.4 million.

Sony’s launch of its Italian production “Melissa P.,” an adaptation of the chronicle of sexual awakening, turned in the third best 2005 opening for a local film with $2.1 million at 308 engagements. And UIP’s “Doom” grossed $1.5 million at 1,160 in 36 markets for an offshore total of $18 million, including a tepid French launch of $650,000 at 245.

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