Disney's 3D 'Alice' nabs $100.5 million in foreign sales

Disney’s 3D royalty “Alice in Wonderland” reigned supreme at the international B.O. over the March 5-7 weekend where it opened day-and-date with a worldwide haul of $216.6 million and foreign receipts totalling $100.5 million.

The Tim Burton-directed pic launched at 5,600 screens in 40 territories, repping 60% of the international market, to become the all-time highest-grossing first-quarter release. Pic also ranks as the second-highest opener for Disney behind 2007′s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” which launched with $216 million in 102 territories.

According to the studio, more than half of “Alice’s” total screen count was in 3D, accounting for 70% of all revs.

Top territory for “Alice” was the U.K. where auds shelled out $15.9 million at 749 screens. The boffo perf comes in the wake of a threatened boycott from the territory’s largest exhibs, including Odeon and Vue, over Disney’s plan to shorten “Alice’s” theatrical window.

Disney’s VP of international sales and distribution David Kornblum credited the rollout saying, “The theatrical experience is alive and well in Wonderland.”

“Alice” earned top coin in Italy where it became the highest opening ever for a non-sequel with $14.5 million at 730 screens. Italy was one of the first territories to launch the film (March 3), followed by an expansion to 26 markets the following day.

Other top territories for “Alice” included Russia, earning $12.3 million at 655, and Germany where the film grossed $7 million on 452 screens, accounting for nearly 30% of that market’s total weekend B.O.

Pic’s overseas prowess even translated to smaller markets, where it saw boffo results in territories like South Korea and Hong Kong, grossing $5.2 million and $1.9 million, respectively.

Disney has yet to expand “Alice” in a substantial portion of overseas territories, including France, Spain and several key Asian markets, allowing the frame’s holdover crop continued growth.

Twentieth Century Fox’s 3D holdover “Avatar” lost more than 1,000 screens to “Alice,” most of which were 3D-equipped, for a total screen count of 5,447 in 69 markets.

“Avatar” was the top English-lanuage film on the Japanese B.O., dropping 19% in its 11th frame with $3.5 million at 486 screens. The 3D giant also soared high in China — another non-”Alice” market — where it grossed $2.1 million at 792. China ranks as the films’ overall top earner with $182.2 million, while Japan reached $148.7 million.

In Spain, “Avatar” dropped a mere 14% in its 12th frame, earning $1.8 million on 281 screens, barely slipping behind Sony’s “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” which debuted to $1.8 million in 226 pens. “With such a meager drop, ‘Avatar’ might come out on top next week,” one Spanish exhib says.

Pic scored a weekend take of $22.9 million internationally for a total $1.89 billion. Combined with a domestic $722.2 million, the James Cameron-helmed pic’s worldwide total stands at $2.61 billion as of March 9.

Paramount’s Martin Scorsese thriller “Shutter Island” also performed well in holdover markets where “Alice” has yet to bow.

In France, the pic slipped 46% its soph sesh, enough to claim the No. 1 spot with $4 million at 540 screens, bringing its cume to $12.8 million.

“Shutter” also saw solid results in Italy, despite bowing the same day as “Alice.” Pic launched with $2.1 million at 462 screens through local distrib Medusa.

On the Oscars front, Summit’s pic winner “The Hurt Locker” bowed in Japan with $494,729 at 47 screens. War-themed pic has faced the same battle overseas as in the U.S. with similar results, cuming $11.5 million in some 35 territories, compared with a total $14.7 million domestically. Pic is repped by local distribs overseas, including Broadmedia Studios in Japan.

Fox Searchlight continues its steady roll out of actor Oscar winner “Crazy Heart,” which grossed $1.1 million at 457 screens in 19 territories last weekend. Top territory for the film was the U.K., earning $319,648 on 111 screens in its third frame, followed by the film’s launch in Spain with $182,508 on 55 screens.

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

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