‘Toy 3’ strong overseas despite limited play

Pic opens to $44.8 million in just one quarter of foreign markets

Despite launching in just a quarter of the international market, Disney/Pixar’s latest toon adventure “Toy Story 3” enticed plenty of families to come out and play, charming an impressive $44.8 million from foreign wickets over the June 18-20 weekend.

The 3D toon had a limited rollout at only 4,787 toy chests due to the World Cup soccer tournament, but cumed an impressive $53.7 million through June 22. Disney launched the toon day-and-date in 25 territories, led by China and Mexico, where the toon’s $14.3 million contributed to a solid $25 million showing in Latin America.

With the World Cup providing considerable competition for overseas multiplexes, the Mouse House decided to hold “Toy 3” in most European markets until the end of July and early August.

Twentieth Century Fox, meanwhile, chose to kick out all the stops with its international rollout of action comedy “The A-Team,” which earned $14 million in its sophomore session. “A-Team,” based on the 1980s TV serial, has cumed $35.9 million in 48 markets at 4,929 bases.

Pic, along with Fox Intl.’s other top 2010 players, has boosted this year’s total for the overseas distribution arm beyond $2 billion, and is taking aim at the all-time industry high for single-year foreign box office, which Fox set last year, at $2.26 billion. With the heavily buzzed “Knight and Day,” starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, set to bow day-and-date with its domestic launch this weekend, the studio looks primed to raise the bar even higher.

The weekend’s top performing market for “A-Team” was France, which shelled out $3 million at 652 locations, enough to lay claim to the territory’s No. 1 spot in the pic’s inaugural outing. According to French media — and despite the films American origins — “A-Team” benefited from popularity among moviegoers for the original TV series.

In Italy, the pic’s other key debut territory, “A-Team” also claimed the top spot, grossing $1.2 million at 353. Launch marked an impressive turn for the remake, given the country’s weekend World Cup match. Overall, the Italo B.O. was up 62% over last weekend.

Meanwhile, “Toy 3” became Pixar’s highest-grossing debut in comparable markets, beating the company’s previous top opener, “Up,” which debuted last year to $23.7 million.

Both Latin America and China contributed 80% of the toon’s weekend take, with China’s $9.5 million repping the biggest opening for an animated film in that territory. The pic added $3.3 million in its first week in Brazil, and Disney plans to expand the toon in eight additional markets in its second frame, with Australia and India leading the charge.

Falling behind “Toy 3” and “A-Team” was Warner Bros.’ femme-driven holdover “Sex and the City 2,” which earned $13.5 million from 62 markets at 6,600 locations. The “Sex” sequel has delivered higher returns overseas than domestically, charming $157.9 million (63% of its global cume) from foreign locations, as part of its $248.9 million worldwide cume, as of June 22.

In the U.K., “Sex 2” took in $1.1 million, down 46%, for a cume of $28 million. Blighty ranks as the film’s top-grossing territory, followed by Germany, where the pic has totaled $20.4 million. The film slipped a mere 24% in that territory, earning $1.2 million in its third frame.

Like “Sex 2,” Universal’s holdover “Robin Hood” also has played better overseas, with a total of $193.3 million, nearly doubling Stateside totals. With international appeal such as Aussie stars Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, overseas moviegoers should help the film’s worldwide tally pass $300 million this week. Global cume currently stands at $295.7 million.

Last weekend, “Robin Hood” earned $4.3 million in 56 territories from 5,800 targets. Top market China contributed close to $1 million at 1,545 locations, bringing its total there to $5.1 million. In less than 10 days, the pic ranks as China’s fifth-highest grosser for Universal over the past 10 years. The U.K., with $21.6 million, stands as the film’s highest-grossing territory.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Mark Schilling in Tokyo, Clifford Coonan in Beijing, Ed Meza in Berlin, Lauren Seligman in Paris and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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