‘Lion’ lords over ape in o’seas jungle fight

'Narnia' passes 'King' in international grosses

It needed three weeks, but “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” has caught and surpassed “King Kong” in overall international grosses, winding up the weekend with $277 million, $5 million ahead of the big gorilla.

Showing impressive holding power among family audiences, BVI’s “Narnia” won its third consecutive weekend at the foreign box office with $30 million at 7,528 playdates in 36 countries. UIP’s “Kong” took in $24 million at 6,900 engagements in 57 markets.

Combined with nearly $248 million domestically, the worldwide “Narnia” total has hit $525 million — clearly winning the battle with “King Kong,” which has a current worldwide cume of $464 million.

“Narnia” opened with $42 million in 13 foreign markets on the Dec. 9-11 weekend, followed by “Kong,” which launched in every market during the following week. “Narnia” then debuted in most international territories before Christmas, but “Kong” led by $15 million at the end of Christmas weekend, with “Narnia” closing the gap ever since.

“Narnia” posted its top figures in France, with $5.9 million at 857 playdates in its third weekend, and in the U.K., with $3.3 million at 530 to lift the Brit cume to $67 million. Its Australian soph sesh saw a 42% decline to $2.9 million, while in its second Korean frame the pic fell 40% to $2.3 million.

Spanish “Narnia” grosses jumped 72%, thanks to the Epiphany holiday, to $2.5 million at 381 in its fifth frame. With the same holiday observed in Mexico, takings rose 2% to $1.2 million at 738, and the Mexican cume hit $25.5 million to set a BVI record for the market.

UIP noted that “King Kong” performed well on Saturday, with many markets up 100% in comparison with the prior Saturday, when many theaters closed early for New Year’s Eve. Top “Kong” grosses came from the U.K., with a 16% decline to $3.9 million at 473 playdates to top “Narnia” and lift the Blighty cume to $45.4 million.

“Kong” topped seven figures in Germany with $2 million at 713, in France with $1.4 million at 771, in Spain with $1.4 million at 378, in Japan with $1.4 million at 305 and in Oz with $1.1 million at 242. It continued to dominate in Peter Jackson’s home turf of New Zealand with $460,000 at 74 for a 26% share and a $4.7 million cume.

Critical fave “Brokeback Mountain,” which received noms from all four Hollywood guilds last week, opened solidly in the U.K. via Entertainment with $1.5 million at 124 playdates.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” 2005’s top foreign grosser, remained a powerful player during the weekend, with $11.4 million from more than 6,500 prints in 58 markets. “Goblet” has cumed $568.8 million internationally, trailing only “Titanic,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” the first two Harry Potter pics and “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” in that category.

Overall biz looked solid, with “Narnia,” “Kong” and “Goblet” combining for $65 million — $15 million better than the three toppers in the same frame of 2005: “Ocean’s Twelve” ($17.6 million), “Alexander” ($16.9 million) and “The Incredibles” ($15.3 million).

The strong weekend continues positive momentum from December, which saw upbeat results after a downturn in many markets. In the U.K., a robust December has led to Nielsen EDI reporting that the final 2005 box office edged up 1% for the year ended Jan. 6.

BVI’s “Chicken Little” led the rest of the weekend pack, with $5.9 million at 3,651 playdates, thanks to a $1.8 million soph sesh in Australia and a $1.2 million third frame in Japan. Toon’s offshore cume has hit $105.5 million, making it the 18th Disney animated pic to cross the $100 million milestone.

Sony’s “Fun With Dick and Jane” showed respectable comic punch, drawing $5.2 million at 1,030 sites, led by a first-place launch in Germany with $2.6 million at 472 and a $1.2 million soph sesh in Australia. Fox’s “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” continued to generate moderate results, with $4.8 million at 1,548, including $1.4 million at 327 in its second U.K. weekend.

UIP kicked off the foreign run for “Jarhead” with a decent $4 million at 960, led by a fourth-place finish in Germany with $1.8 million at 318. Fox’s “The Family Stone” rang up $2.8 million at 626 to lift foreign cume to $16 million; its Brazilian production “Se Eu Fosse Voce” opened impressively in that market with $1.6 million at 183.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading