Floating WB’s boat

'Poseidon' aims for buoyancy o'seas

“Poseidon” receives a second life this weekend with a launch into major foreign markets after a disappointing Stateside run.

Warner Bros. is opening Wolfgang Petersen’s remake in Australia, China, Holland, Italy, Mexico, South Korea and the U.K. amid hopes that the disaster pic’s international performance can outperform domestic by at least 3-1. “Poseidon” had cumed $47.7 million domestically as of Wednesday.

Best-case scenario would see “Poseidon” display the kind of foreign traction shown last year by sci-fi actioner “The Island,” which grossed $35.8 million domestically and $124.5 million internationally, and historic epic “Kingdom of Heaven,” with $47.4 million Stateside and $164.2 million foreign.

Warner received an initial burst of positive response in its overseas to “Poseidon” expansion, particularly on its opening day on a holiday Wednesday in Korea with $1.88 million at 311 playdates to lead that market — more than double the first day for “The Island,” which went on to gross nearly $21 million in Korea.

Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, Warner Bros. prexy of international distribution, said the marketing campaign for Korea had heavily stressed the action scenes, with a focus on the most perilous situations for the film’s characters. And she noted that Warner’s has fine-tuned the extensive “Poseidon” push in offshore markets by highlighting that such scenes are available via the Internet.

“Poseidon” also opened solidly in China, with the first two days, including Tuesday-night sneaks, totaling $750,000; Hong Kong’s opening day Wednesday of $205,000 from 23 prints was on par with the bow of “Mission: Impossible III,” followed by $93,000 on Thursday.

The latest openings pushed foreign gross to about $13 million for the pricey remake, which opened three weeks ago in half a dozen Asian markets — India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — and then launched last weekend at No. 1 in Taiwan.

Still, “Poseidon” faces formidable holdover competition internationally from the third frame of Sony’s “The Da Vinci Code” and the soph sesh of Fox’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” which combined for an impressive $167 million last weekend in foreign grosses.

As of Wednesday, “Code” hit $350 million in foreign grosses, pushing the worldwide take to $500 million, while “X-Men” had cumed $98.6 million in foreign coin to lift worldwide total to nearly $235 million.

Frame also marks UIP’s international launch of “United 93” in the U.K., Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland with 510 prints. Amid strong critical support, the 9/11 drama’s managed to gross $30 million in five weeks in the U.S.

Other foreign openings include Sony’s “RV” in Australia and Italy and BVI’s “The Wild” in Germany and Japan. And in the last big international opening before the World Cup starts on June 9, Fox will open “The Omen” at over 4,500 foreign playdates Tuesday along with the domestic launch to take full advantage of the 6-6-06 gimmick.

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