‘Interpreter’ spells out o’seas success

Pollack thriller grossed $9.3 million at 1,157 playdates

Nicole Kidman’s “The Interpreter” — launching a week earlier overseas than in the United States — translated to first place at a mild foreign box office, edging out “The Ring Two” and “The Pacifier” during the Friday-Sunday frame.

UIP reported that “The Interpreter,” a thriller set at the United Nations and directed by Sydney Pollack, grossed $9.3 million at 1,157 playdates and led in most of its 16 territories. Distrib termed the performance “excellent” and gave credit to Kidman and Pollack for promoting the pic, noting Kidman attended premiere events in the U.K., Germany and her native Australia.

The domestic release of “The Interpreter,” also starring Sean Penn, had originally been slated for February with foreign openings set for mid-April, but when the Stateside date shifted back, UIP decided to retain its schedule — partly due to Kidman’s availability to tubthump and partly due to lack of major competition in offshore markets during the pre-tentpole period of the spring.

“The Interpreter” posted its best performance in the U.K. with $3.3 million at 367 engagements, 22% ahead of the opening of “The Amityville Horror” and representing 22% of the market. Spanish grosses looked solid with $2.3 million at 196 for a 23% market share, representing a performance 20% higher than “The Bourne Supremacy” and 2% better than “Collateral.”

In Oz, “The Interpreter” tied BVI’s “The Pacifier” for first with $1.3 million at 201 playdates. It also led in Taiwan with $552,000 at 52 in two days, 21% bigger than “Collateral,” in Portugal with $315,000 at 50 and in Greece in its soph sesh with $317,000 at 51.

Overall offshore business was typically mild as distribs relied on targeted openings (such as “The Pacifier”) and holdover biz, given that the period falls between spring vacations and the start of day-and-date tentpoles, with the first arriving April 29 when Sony opens “XXX: State of the Union.” During the same mid-April frame of 2004, however, foreign business received an atypical boost from “The Passion of the Christ” with $25 million in 53 markets, lifting its cume to $187 million.

UIP’s “The Ring Two,” which salvaged the international market as it led during the past two frames, remained respectable with $8.7 million at 4,022 sites in 51 territories. The horror sequel’s foreign cume hit $68.7 million, $60 million short of the original’s international total.

“The Ring Two” opened in first in South Africa with $145,000 at 51 screens, in the Philippines with $135,000 at 37 and Czech/Slovakia with $130,000 at 23. Top grosses came from Italy with a soph sesh of $1.53 million at 253 sites, off 44%.

BVI expanded its run of “The Pacifier” and posted decent results on the family front with $7.5 million at about 1,600 locations, lifting foreign cume to $18 million.

“The Pacifier” posted its best results in Germany, where it launched in first place with $2.3 million at 539 playdates, about equal to “102 Dalmatians” and 30% better than “Daddy Day Care.” The Vin Diesel vehicle tied with “The Interpreter” in Oz with $1.3 million at 241 engagements in its fourth weekend in the market for a $5.5 million cume.

“The Pacifier” showed solid legs in Spain with a soph sesh decline of just 22% to $1.3 million at 301 sites. It also opened at No. 1 in Austria with $440,000 at 74 sites, in Hong Kong with $325,000 and in Malaysia with $170,000.

Warner’s “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,” mirroring its moderate Stateside performance, took in $5.47 million at 3,058 screens in 45 nations to take its foreign cume to $39.8 million. The Sandra Bullock laffer opened first in Mexico with $1.29 million at 405 playdates, 19% above the original “Miss Congeniality.”

Warner’s “Constantine” opened solidly in Japan with $3.95 million at 347 sites, taking in 40% of the top five films and outperforming “The Matrix” by 41%. The Keanu Reeves starrer grossed another $1.54 million at 1,551 and has cumed $129.7 million offshore.

Sony’s “Hitch,” continuing to underline Will Smith’s appeal, took in $5 million at 3,050 screens in 60 markets as foreign cume neared $170 million. Key contributions came from the seventh weekends in the U.K. in fourth place with $925,000 at 358 and in Germany in fifth with $730,000 at 586 for respective cumes of $31.5 million at $32.5 million.

UIP’s second frame “Sahara” posted moderate results in English-speaking markets with $2.57 million at 630 locations for a $7.83 million cume. The Matthew McConaughey vehicle declined 37% in the U.K. to $1.63 million at 401 sites to finish third; in Oz, “Sahara” slid 30% to $775,000 at 183 to come in fifth.

BVI took in $2.1 million for “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie,” mostly in France with a $1.2 million opening, to push its foreign total to $24 million.

Fox’s family comedy “Robots” continued to generate solid results with over $5 million, pushing its overseas cume past $90 million. Its opening of “Be Cool” finished second in Italy with $1.1 million at 213 engagements. “The Amityville Horror” came in second in the U.K. with $2.5 million in its launch and fifth in Australia with $748,000.

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