'Goblet' gets gulped, 'Chicken' eaten up

An update was made to this article on Dec. 5, 2005.

The fourth time’s definitely a charm for Harry overseas, as “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” completely dominated foreign moviegoing over the weekend, with $92.6 million from more than 11,600 prints in 57 markets.

“Goblet,” which opened impressively in France, Australia and South Korea, has now hit $330.6 million offshore, lifting Warner Bros. pic’s worldwide cume past $560 million.

The fourth Potter pic — which has seen little direct competition so far — is now $212 million short of matching the final foreign gross of 2004’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and more than halfway to beating the overseas cume for the series’ top performer, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” has helped set the stage for the year’s last two tentpoles — BVI’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which will launch in 13 markets, including the U.K. and Germany, next weekend and UIP’s “King Kong,” which will open nearly everywhere Dec. 14.

The trio is expected to revive what has been a 2005 box office that’s lagged 2004 for most of the year. In its third weekend, “Goblet” took in nearly three times the gross of the foreign leader for the same frame of 2004, BVI’s “The Incredibles.”

“Goblet” conjured up its top performance in France with $19.7 million at 950 playdates, representing the second best opening (excluding sneaks) after “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.”

“Goblet” also launched well in Australia with $9.5 million at 552 engagements for the fifth-best opening frame after the three “Lord of the Rings” titles and “The Matrix Reloaded.” And in Korea, “Goblet” posted the fourth-best launch weekend (excluding sneaks) with $6.2 million at 331.

“Goblet” posted the best Harry Potter opening in South Africa with $790,000 at 85 sites and set a record for first weekend (excluding sneaks) in Venezuela with $558,000 at 85.

Harry’s holdover biz remained solid, led by the U.K.’s third-frame decline of 46% to $8.7 million at 1,300 playdates for a $64.3 million cume. Japan’s soph sesh declined only 23% to $8.6 million at 858, fending off a challenge from the launch of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”; German results declined 41% in the third weekend to $6.2 million at 1,256 to lift the Teuton total to $44.1 million.

Cold weather may have cooled the “Goblet” soph sesh in Italy, which declined 48% to a still-respectable $5.2 million at 880 sites for an $18 million cume. Spain saw a similar decline of 49% to $4.1 million at 531 in its second frame, and Brazil dropped 41% to $2.3 million at 550 — the best second weekend ever in that market.

“Goblet” still has openings on Dec. 22 in Hong Kong and Dec. 23 in Russia.

“Mr. and Mrs. Smith” scored respectably by opening in Japan via Regency/Summit with $5.2 million at 418 and in Italy via Regency/RAI with $3.2 million. “Smith” has now totalled $252 million foreign and $439 million worldwide.

BVI’s “Chicken Little” led the rest of the weekend pack, scaring up $7.1 million at 2,633 playdates in 25 markets for a $41.2 million overseas cume. The toon’s best perf came in Italy, with $2.3 million at 400 the seventh-biggest animated launch ever; its Singapore opening of $625,000 at 35 marked the top animated debut for that market.

Sony’s “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” finished a close fourth with $7 million at 2,528 screens, lifting the thriller’s international total to $42.5 million and its worldwide cume to $117 million. Its top performance came from the U.K. with $1.37 million at 360 in a soph sesh that declined by only 28%.

UIP’s romantic comedy “Just Like Heaven” generated moderate attraction with $6.1 million at 1,700 locations in 27 markets. Its German opening turned in the best performance, with $1.2 million at 267, followed by Spain, with $1 million at 212.

BVI’s sturdy “Flightplan” followed with $5.8 million at 3,211 playdates in 40 territories to lift its foreign cume to $95 million, putting the thriller on track to cross the $100 million foreign mark next weekend and become the 20th title to hit the milestone this year. “Flightplan” held on well against “Harry Potter” in the U.K., with a 25% decline in its second weekend to $2.2 million on 418 screens.

UIP’s “Doom” took in $1.9 million at 975 engagements in 30 markets, with more than half coming from its U.K. launch of $1 million at 242. “Doom” has been a moderate foreign performer, with a $21.3 million cume.

UIP also reported “The Constant Gardener” harvested $1.4 million from 555 playdates in six markets, lifting the cume in UIP markets to $15.2 million. Distrib’s “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” added another $1 million to push its international total to $123 million.

Sony’s “Zathura” opened with $610,000 at 90 screens in Taiwan to finish second, and led in Indonesia with $85,000 at 30.

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