Thanks mostly to holdover biz, Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” managed to win its second consecutive frame overseas, boosted in part by its best pic Oscar nom.
But UIP-distribbed pic hasn’t reached the heights of the helmer’s previous pics, and it failed to finish as the No. 1 contender in many key markets.
Looking at the Oscars’ impact on foreign markets, “Munich” was the top grosser among best pic contenders. “Brokeback Mountain” took in $5.66 million at 1,212 engagements in 14 foreign markets over the weekend to lift foreign cume to $31.5 million and “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which has grossed about $9 million to date, will expand next weekend.
Meantime, “Capote” won’t open in foreign markets until later this month, and “Crash” careened out of theaters last summer.
Already rolling in most markets, “Munich” bowed in Japan in third, with a moderate $1.4 million from 248 engagements.
Pic’s best numbers were posted in the U.K., where the pic still dropped 25% and into fourth place, behind two new bows, Sony’s “Zathura” and Fox’s “Walk the Line,” as well as behind Sony holdover “Fun with Dick and Jane.”
“Munich” took in $11.6 million overall to pass the $36 million mark to date: After just two frames, overseas cume looks destined to soon pass any U.S. total.
With “Munich” sinking, Blighty biz was down 7% from the previous weekend and down 35% from the same weekend last year.
A year ago, “Ocean’s Twelve” opened on the same weekend there, which also saw the second frame of B.O. sensation “Meet the Fockers.” This year, “Walk the Line,” “Munich,” “Brokeback” and “Geisha” were all stepping up to the plate.
Fantasy adventure “Zathura” took top spot in the U.K. Exhibs report the opening was “bang on predictions” and attributed its popularity to the fact that there has been no family film in the market of late.
Bookers feel the pic was a “good concept movie and a fairly easy sell despite the odd title.”
Meantime, “Walk the Line” strolled into the U.K.’s second spot in its debut.
Johnny Cash biopic was well reviewed in Blighty and managed to post the best per-screen average ($9,789) of any pic in the top 10.
The opening was up at least 25% from most expectations, and bookers reported that the pic did particularly well in Ireland, where Cash has a devout following. Bookers are now predicting a final cume north of $10 million.
Despite falling, “Munich” had a respectable soph slide. Word of mouth on the pic is strong, but U.K. exhibs concede it’s not an “easy sell,” even though director-driven pics tend to fare better in Europe than the U.S.
In other Blighty biz, Buena Vista Intl.’s “Derailed” took in $1,210,036 from 316.
Oscar-nommed “Brokeback Mountain” slipped just 19% in its fifth frame, delighting bookers who feel “in terms of the curiosity factor it is this year’s ‘Lost in Translation.’ ” The kudos favorite is headed for a final cume of more than $17.5 million.
Foreign-language release “Hidden” (Cache) posted the best screen average ($10,314) of any pic in the top 15 in its soph frame. Exhibs say the success of Michael Haneke’s critically acclaimed pic “shows that foreign-language releases can work fantastically well” in this season.
In years past, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “City of God” found solid auds at this time of year.
With “Munich” dropping to fourth from its previous first- place perch in France, a local sensation took over.
Launch of Gallic comedy sequel “Les Bronzes 3: Amis pour la vie” (Friends Forever) set a five-day record for the territory, with $24.2 million at 950 playdates from Wednesday-Sunday.
In France, “Munich” has grossed $4.57 million at 450 playdates — the best foreign performance after the U.K.’s $4.96 million.
Warner Bros. France now says that “Friends Forever” will take home $30 million in its first week.
In South Africa, Oscar-nommed “Tsotsi” opened to good box office and unanimous critical approval on Feb. 3, earning $87,780 for its three-day opening weekend on just 21 prints.
That take gave the pic the highest per-screen average opening ever for a South African movie besides those of former local B.O. champs “Mr. Bones” and “Mama Jack.”
The take was also double the amount earned by last year’s South African Oscar nomination, the AIDS drama “Yesterday,” during its opening weekend.
In Asian action, Beijing had a boffo Chinese New Year. Turnstiles were kept busy by a combo of local actioner “Fearless” and “King Kong,” which will both be hard to beat through the rest of the year.
Rounding out the top five at the international B.O. scene after “Munich” were BVI’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Chicken Little,” “Walk the Line” and Sony’s “Fun with Dick and Jane.”
“Geisha” raked in $9.1 million to add to its global cume of $62.3 to date.
In Germany, CG-animated “Little” continued an impressive run, with two straight No. 1 finishes. Kiddie pic handily trounced the closest competition, newcomer “Walk the Line,” by more than $1 million.
Meantime, “Line” led Down Under, but used a $500,000 haul from previews to bolster its opening weekend figure.
“Munich,” which stars locals Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush, held the second spot in Oz but suffered a 41% drop from the previous weekend.
Another hometown hero, Heath Ledger, helped “Brokeback” come in a close third in its second frame there.