‘WTC’ battles ‘Click’ for Europe

'Perfume' lingers in Germany

LONDON — New releases “World Trade Center” and “Click” traded blows at the top of the charts across Europe but the sweet smell of “Perfume” held both openers firmly in check in Germany.

German exhibs are delighted with the continued boffo performance of Tom Tykwer’s “Perfume” on home turf. Banking another $5.5 million (from 773) and dipping just 13% in its third frame, the pic held top spot comfortably despite the arrival of high-profile openers “WTC” and “Click.”

With an estimated 600,000 admissions over the weekend, “Perfume” is on track to pick up a local Gold Bogey Award for drawing a total of 3 million viewers in its first 28 days. “Perfume” has become the most successful German film since 2004’s “Seven Dwarfs” and Constantin Film’s biggest hit since 2004’s “Downfall,” also from producer Bernd Eichinger.

Although trailing some $3.5 million behind front-runner “Perfume,” “Click” found favor with German auds. The Adam Sandler-starrer took $2 million at 630 engagements. Third-placed “World Trade Center” took $1.5 million at 452 in Germany, which was on a par with the German bow for Oliver Stone’s last pic — “Alexander.” Despite the presence of Mexican pin-up Gael Garcia Bernal, surreal French arthouse pic “The Science of Sleep” did not crack the top 10 in Germany.

Fuelled by strong buzz generated by the impressive U.S. opening, Fox’s “The Devil Wears Prada” hit the European runway with $3.6 million from 505 in its opening five days in France. Awareness is high across Europe for “Prada,” which is yet to open for biz in the other big four territories.

But “Prada” could not match with Rachid Bouchareb’s controversial French indie “Days of Glory,” a hom-age to French Algerian fighters who fought bravely for the French army during WWII but were later forgotten by the historians. The pic went out on 478 screens — a big push from distribbery Mars — and the punt paid off: the pic scored an estimated $4.79 million. The film’s ensemble cast won best actor kudo at Cannes this year.

Shrugging off unkind reviews, “World Trade Center” took the lion’s share of its $12.3 million international weekend biz in the U.K. The pic took $3 million from 409 on its bow. But, like in Germany, the “WTC” opening could not match the bow of “Click,” which took $3.4 million from 400.

Sandler is disliked by most U.K. critics. Johnny Vaughan in the Sun tabloid branded “Click” “shockingly unfunny” and a “complete turn-off.” But Brit auds still love the Yank funnyman. “Click’s” prospects were enhanced by Sandler’s appearance on TV chat shows including BBC One’s “Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.”

Despite strong reviews and a significant marketing push, Victor Garcia Leon’s Spanish pic “Vete de Mi” only managed just under $200,000 in its opening frame in Spain. The 13th-placed bow for the pic, which played in the Official Section at the San Sebas-tian Film Festival, was down 50% on Spanish bookers’ estimations.

Augustin Diaz Yanes’ 17th century Spanish swashbuckler “Alatriste” dipped 45% in its fifth frame. The Viggo Mortensen-starrer has scored an impressive $18.7 million on home turf.

Reversing the top two trend, “WTC” ($2.4 million from 317) took top spot in Spain ahead of “Click” ($1.7 million from 325).

Italian comedy “Kiss Me Little One” ($253,000) only managed ninth place on its home bow. The result was a disappointment for Italo bookers who blamed hot weather and the relative popularity of rival comedy “Click,” which took $888,000 and fourth spot. Comedy usually works well in Italy.

Flop of the weekend goes to the German bow of U.S. comedy “Beerfest.” The film pokes fun at Munich’s Octoberfest beer festival and unimpressed Munich theater owners largely boycotted the crude laffer; it screened in only one cinema in the heart of Bavaria.

The Octoberfest is a highly cherished tradition for Bavarians and a U.S. comedy that ridicules it left a bad taste in the mouth of local critics who branded it cheap, stupid, exploitative and unfunny. Local thesps Juergen Prochnow and Ralf Moeller came in for heavy criticism for appearing. In Blighty, “Beerfest” sunk without trace after its poor Sept. 8 bow.

Additional reporting by Ed Meza (Germany), Esther de Prado (Spain), Liza Klaussman (France) and Sheri Jennings (Rome) .

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