‘Tale’ wagging Oz

Ledger pic lures Aussies; Euros realize 'Fantasy'

“A Knight’s Tale” lanced the top spot in Australia and New Zealand this weekend in its international debut, while “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” kept auds real in Germany, Spain and Italy, where nine pics preemed in the first week of the official box office season.

In Oz, Sony’s “Knights” jousted with stayers “Planet of the Apes” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary” to take pole position and earn $1.2 million from 241 houses. The medieval romp benefited from a long lead tour by its star, Heath Ledger, a favorite homegrown thesp. New Zealand’s $168,000 and South Korea’s opening weekend of $626,000 from 62 screens delivered an international weekend gross of $2 million from 344. Next week, pic rolls out in Malaysia, Singapore and some parts of Eastern Europe.

“Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” and “Blow” also bowed in Oz, but failed to rate, with screen averages of $2,564 and $3,500, respectively.

“Final Fantasy” spun auds in Germany, Spain and Italy but proved slightly less popular in Belgium, Austria, Venezuela and Finland. The seven-territory opening weekend contributed to a gross of $7.2 million from 2,750 screens — cume is $27.7 million.

Italian feast

In Italy, the start of official ratings season ended the summer dry spell with a big bang for bookers. Hollywood premieres included “Final Fantasy,” “Driven,” “Dr. Dolittle 2” and “Spy Kids,” but warm weather prevailed and pics failed to lure many Italians into theaters.

Even as “Final Fantasy” benefited from lots of press coverage for its innovation as a live-action CGI feature, it got lukewarm response with a weekend screen average of $3,768, although that was far ahead of any other wide release on the chart.

Other freshmen were much softer. Distribs will be counting on more muscular pics like “Jurassic Park III,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” all due in the coming weeks, to really kickstart the season.

France welcomed Tim Burton’s “Apes,” which grossed $6.57 million on its opening weekend on 742 screens — admissions were almost double the opening weekends of “Pearl Harbor,” “Jurassic Park III” and “The Mummy Returns.”

Fox’s “Moulin Rouge” opened No. 1 in Brazil with $424,000 from 142 screens. International cume is $21.5 million, with European preems kicking off in the U.K. Sept. 7.

“Jurassic Park III” earned $7 million over the weekend, including premieres in Russia, Sweden and Turkey. Cume is $137 million.

UIP’s bowing “Bridget Jones’s Diary” won the top spot in Austria with $247,000 on 81 screens, but had a softer screen average than the country’s other wide opener, “Final Fantasy,” in the third spot with $230,000 from 49.

In Germany, “Final Fantasy” earned $2.5 million from 616 screens while “Bridget” nabbed the No. 2 slot with $1.8 million from 506.

“A.I. Artificial Intelligence” bumped “Rush Hour 2” — and not much else — to take the top spot in Hong Kong with $897,000, 41% of the box office.

(David Rooney in Rome contributed to this story)

More Film

  • Elsie Fisher and Bo Burnham2019 Writers

    Writers Guild Announces 2020 Awards Show Date

    The 72nd Annual Writers Guild Awards will take place in coinciding ceremonies in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton and the Edison Ballroom in New York on Feb. 1, the Writers Guild of America announced. The WGA will begin voting in November and will reveal this year’s TV nominees Dec. 5 and film Jan. 6. [...]

  • Tarantino Movies Ranked Illustration

    All of Quentin Tarantino's Movies Ranked

    In the history of cinema, has any director done more to elevate the idea of movies as cool than Quentin Tarantino? Certainly, the idea that films could be made by fans dates back at least to the French New Wave, when a group of die-hard critics stepped behind the camera. A few years later, Spielberg, [...]

  • A Stranger on the Beach

    Anonymous Content Wins Film Rights to Michele Campbell's 'A Stranger on the Beach' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anonymous Content has won the adaptive rights to the forthcoming Michele Campbell novel “A Stranger on the Beach.” In a competitive situation, Anonymous outbid multiple players for the thriller, which it will adapt for the big screen with in-house producers Alex Goldstone and Rosalie Swedlin. “Stranger” has been likened to sensual thrillers like “Fatal Attraction” [...]

  • Ridley Scott Matt Damon Ben Affleck

    Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener Team on 'The Last Duel'

    Ridley Scott looks to have his next directing job, as he has signed on to direct “The Last Duel” with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attached to star. Damon and Affleck co-wrote the script with Oscar-nominated Nicole Holofcener. Scott, Damon and Affleck all producing along with Scott’s producing partner Kevin Walsh. Drew Vinton is also [...]

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor Comic Con

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the biggest volume of buzz for nine of the top 10 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content