‘Speech’ goes out globally

Oscar favorite seeks overseas coin

With a dozen Oscar nominations in the bag, “The King’s Speech” is seeking serious coin from international markets.

When Oscar nods were unveiled Jan. 25, “Speech” had already cumed close to $50 million outside the United States from three major markets — $28.4 million in the U.K. after three weeks via Momentum; $15.3 million from a five-week run in Australia through Paramount; and $4.3 million in Spain via DeAPlaneta.

Greece chipped in with close to $1 million after a month and New Zealand had added $530,635 from its first week.

“The King’s Speech” has led the Blighty market for three straight seshes, declining 45% in its third frame with $6.7 million at 502 locations during the Jan. 21-23 frame.

The royal drama’s also shown legs in Oz, where it finished fifth in its fifth frame with $1.8 million at 183 — matching the fourth frame after adding 66 screens.

Pic opened Jan. 28 in Italy and is due to open soon in France (Feb. 2), Germany (Feb. 17) and Russia (Feb. 24) so its worldwide cume of $107.5 million as of the Oscar noms announcement could easily double by the time awards are handed out Feb. 27.

Fox’s “Black Swan,” which has already overperformed at the domestic box office with $83.3 million in eight weeks, looks to be another formidable entry in international markets — and with five Oscar noms, the ballet thriller should gain traction in coming weeks.

“Swan” started its foreign run during the Jan. 21-23 frame with a combined $11.6 million in its launch frames in a trio of major markets — Australia, Germany and the U.K.

“Swan” took second place in Blighty with $4.4 million at 356, led in Germany with $2.7 million at 300 and came in third in Oz with $2.2 million. With Natalie Portman up for an actress Oscar and Vincent Cassel a major draw in Western Europe, upcoming launches in France (Feb. 9), Russia (Feb. 10), Italy (Feb. 11) and Spain (Feb. 24) should add enough box office traction to push “Swan” past the $100 million mark in international markets.

The German “Swan” topped the second frame of “The Green Hornet,” despite showing at far fewer screens.

The Oscar bounce may be more muted for Paramount’s “True Grit,” even with its 10 noms, as Westerns tend to have limited traction internationally. In 1992, best picture winner “Unforgiven” took in $101 million domestically and added only $58 million outside the U.S. “Grit” launched its foreign run on Jan. 26 with an opening in Oz. Spain and the U.K. are the next major territories to launch, on Feb. 11, followed by Italy a week later and Germany on Feb. 24.

“The Fighter” may see some foreign punch, thanks to its seven Oscar noms. The international run has just barely started with $2.7 million, mostly from a sixth-place launch in Australia with $1.5 million during the Jan. 19-23 frame. “The Fighter,” handled by a variety of distribs internationally, launches Feb. 4 in Spain and the U.K.

Sony’s “Green Hornet” easily topped international box office during the Jan. 21-23 frame with $18.7 million at 4,775. Best takes came from a $3.1 million first-place launch in Oz, a $2.7 million German soph sesh and a $2.6 million Mexican debut.

Warner Bros.’ “Hereafter,” which was shut out in Oscar noms, showed decent life during the last frame with a second-place finish of $13.1 million at more than 2,000 screens in 29 markets. The international cume has topped $29 million — nearly matching the domestic total — with Italy taking in the most coin, with $9 million.

The Clint Eastwood drama became this year’s highest grossing opener in Spain, taking in a splendid $3.8 million at 306 screens for a robust print-average of $12,572. “Hereafter” admissions came in 24% higher than both “Invictus'” and “Gran Torino.”

“Hereafter” also saw a strong $5.3 million bow in its first five days in Gaul, unsurprising given the Gallic penchant for all things Eastwood and cast member Cecile de France.

Critical response was generally, if not overwhelmingly positive. “Not Eastwood’s best, even if we do find masterful passages,” opined Le Monde.

In Italy, local comedy “Qualunquemente” (“Whatsoeverly”), about a corrupt, sex-crazed businessman who goes into politics, bowed boffo, scoring $7.4 million in the best opening weekend ever for RAI Cinema’s 01 Distribution. Pic was released just as Italo prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi’s sex scandal snowballed.

The massively marketed “Whatsoeverly” pulled in more than $13,000 per screen at 551 Italo playdates.

Record-breaking Islamic terrorism-themed comedy “What a Beautiful Day” took $5.8 million from 655 via Medusa for a massive $52.5 million three-frame haul. “Vallanzasca,” a biopic of mob boss Renato Vallanzasca, marking the first Italian production for Fox Intl. Prods. (FIP), bowed passably with $1.3 million from 304.

Nick Vivarelli in Rome, Emilio Mayorga in Madrid, David Hayhurst in Paris and Ed Meza in Berlin contributed to this report.

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