Pic nabs $56 million ahead of U.S. bow

Paramount and Sony successfully launched Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” over the Oct. 28-30 weekend, nearly two months ahead of the film’s Dec. 21 domestic bow in a rare distribution gambit that paid off with an international debut of $56.6 million.

The film’s overseas launch in 19 European markets is meant to build international buzz for the Euro-born property that ideally would translate to American auds. That’s an unusual approach for a major studio pic — most holiday season pics and summer tentpoles initially aim to develop positive word-of-mouth in the States.

But “Tintin” has limited recognition with U.S. moviegoers compared with the film’s overseas popularity.

In France, for instance, “Tintin” scored $21 million, the best-ever local debut for a non-sequel. The 3D motion-capture film earned 72% of its weekend gross from 3D, which accounted for 65% of the film’s total screen count in Gaul, including Imax.

The U.K. contributed the next-best weekend tally for the pic — a local chart-topping $10.8 million.

Paramount is handling domestic distribution for the film, along with foreign English-speaking territories and Asia, while Sony has the rest of the world.

Other Euro territories where “Tintin” opened big included Spain, Germany and Belgium, the property’s home turf. In Spain, “Tintin” grossed $6.7 million, half of the country’s overall market share, while German auds shelled out $4.5 million, more than three times the local No. 2 pic “Killer Elite,” with $1.5 million.

Belgium, meanwhile, delivered $1.9, 2% better than the opening of fellow Belgian property, “The Smurfs.”

Sony is expanding “Tintin” to Russia this weekend.

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