Romantic comedies doing well overseas

Romantic comedies are finding lots of love overseas.

Latest example is “Sex and the City,” which pulled in a hefty $32.5 at the international box office over the May 30-June 1 weekend for a five-day opening cume of $37.2 million.

Domestically, film debuted to a record-breaking $57 million, an unheard of opening for a female-driven comedy. Generally speaking, an opening gross of $30 million is considered a winning number for chick pics.

Over the decades, romantic comedies have had a mixed track record when it comes to playability overseas. More recently, it’s been one big valentine. Two summers ago, 20th Century Fox’s “The Devil Wears Prada” grossed a whopping $201.6 million overseas, even better than the domestic gross of $124.7 million.

So far this summer, “Sex and the City” — coming four years after the HBO TV skein went off the air — isn’t the only female-skewing pic doing well overseas.

Fox’s Cameron Diaz-Ashton Kutcher laffer “What Happens in Vegas” boasted a foreign cume of $95.7 million through June 1. That’s compared with a domestic gross of $65.9 million. For the weekend of May 30-June 1, “Vegas” came in No. 5 overall at the international box office in its fourth week, with a gross of $13 million.

Sony’s romantic comedy “Made of Honor” has grossed $30.8 million overseas since unspooling May 2. Domestic take was $42.9 million through June 1.

In its first five days in release in the U.K., “Sex” took $17.3 million at 460 locations, according to Rentrak. Female-skewing pic, which is released by Entertainment in the U.K., went into the weekend on a roll, with $7.2 million banked after brisk trade Wednesday and Thursday. Lousy weather over the weekend helped keep “Sex” biz upbeat as Brits sought indoor entertainment.

As expected, flocks of femmes drove weekend ticket sales, but Brit bookers also report that the pic is attracted couples on dates.

“Men are being dragged kicking and screaming to see it by their partners and actually finding they enjoy it,” notes an exhib.

None of this is to say that the big summer tentpoles don’t dominate, or play more broadly.

Paramount’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” easily came in No. 1 overall for the May 30-June 20 weekend, grossing a boffo $71.4 million in its second sesh for an international cume of $266.6 million.

“Crystal Skull” was able to best “Sex and the City” in a number of key territories, however closely. In the U.K., “Crystal Skull” dipped 55% in its soph sesh to $10.9 million at 540 for a $54.5 million cume for Paramount. “Sex and the City” took in $10.1 million).

In Germany, however, the “Sex and the City” women did all the whipping, as their bigscreen debut kicked “Skull” off the top spot with an impressive $7.5 million from 836 locations. The chick pic benefited from the TV series’ huge popularity in Germany, although it received mixed reviews from local critics.

In Italy, “Crystal Skull” held on to the top spot ahead of “Sex” in a holiday frame that also saw local Cannes prizewinners “Gomorrah” and “Il Divo” score handsomely.

Latest “Indiana Jones” installment dropped 30% in its second Italo weekend, which extended into Monday due to Italy’s Republic Day, pulling $4.7 million off 669 in the four-day frame for a $13 million cume for Universal.

“Sex and the City” came in a solid second with $3.8 million from 533 via local distrib 01 Distribuzione.

Paolo Sorrentino’s Cannes Jury Prize winner “Il Divo” opened a very close No. 4, with $2.3 million off 346 via Lucky Red. Result was a strong start for the pop opera about Italy’s shady elder statesman Giulio Andreotti. Pic, which opened Wednesday May 28, has a $2.6 million cume.

Matteo Garrone’s Cannes Grand Prix winner “Gomorrah,” a gritty depiction of the Neapolitan mob, dropped a mere 18% in its third frame, pulling in $2.4 million on 392, also via 01, for a killer $11 million cume.

In France, “Skull” held firm in top spot despite the arrival of “Sex.” “Skull” slipped a very respectable 39% in its second frame, moving its total to $24.3 million. But the “Sex” entry was not dull. Pic took $6.2 million on 550 in its first five days for Metropolitan.

As elsewhere, the arrival of “Sex” did not see “What Happens in Vegas” fade, even though they appeal to similar demos. “Vegas” dropped just 9% in its fourth frame for an $8 million cume.

In Spain — the only major Euro territory not getting “Sex” over the weekend — UPI’s “Crystal Skull” showed resilience, while other openers performed slightly below expectations. “Crystal Skull” rustled up $6 million as it declined 43% in its soph sesh for a cume of $20.4 million.

“Parents are taking their children to the theaters, which is the opposite of what usually happens with movies with wide target demos,” says a Spanish booker. “Usually, it’s the children who ask their parents to go.”

After “Crystal Skull” and “Sex and the City,” placing third at the international box office for the May 30-June 1 frame was Disney sequel “Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” which grossed $17.9 million in its third campaign for a cume of $76.2 million.

Weekend haul was impressive, considering “Prince Caspian” is playing in only a few key territories overseas. It is waiting to stage its major rollout until later this month.

Placing No. 4 for the frame was Paramount tentpole “Iron Man,” which grossed $13.8 million in its fifth frame for a whammo foreign cume of $243 million.

Archie Thomas in the U.K., Ed Meza in Germany, Emilio Mayorga in Spain, Nick Vivarelli in Italy and David Hayhurst in France contributed to this report.

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