LONDON — Foodie rat pic “Ratatouille” looks to cook up more greenbacks for the Mouse House at the European box office this weekend via its opening in Italy and soph sesh holdover biz in the U.K. and Germany.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International’s “Ratatouille” is touching down in Italy on 770, about one third of the country’s screens, amid expectations that the pic will click with Italos as convincingly as it already has with other Euro auds.
Marketing has been massive, if unremarkable, with many mag covers and billboards.
As well as catching tykes, Disney has widened the net to target teens and adult auds of various ilks too.
The frame’s other Italo openers are “Knocked Up,” on 260 via Universal, “3:10 to Yuma” on 250 via Medusa, and Italo drama “La Giusta distanza,” (“The Right Distance”) on 102 via 01 Distribuzione.
“Distance,” helmed by Carlo Mazzacurati and centered around immigration issues in Italy’s North, preems Friday at the Rome Film Festival.
Rainy weather forecast is expected to make for an upbeat Italo frame.
In the U.K., last weekend’s runaway B.O. champion, “Ratatouille,” is expected to comfortably retain top spot in its soph sesh despite the arrival of Matthew Vaughn’s fantasy adventure “Stardust” at 444 theaters.
Bookers expect Paramount’s “Stardust” to take second spot in the charts with an opening north of $3 million en route to a cume approaching $14 million.
“Stardust’s” predominantly Brit cast, including Sienna Miller, Peter O’Toole, Ian McKellen, Rupert Everett, newcomer Charlie Cox, and popular local comics Ricky Gervais and David Walliams should help drive B.O. biz.
Exhibs expect Gavin Hood’s contempo Middle East-set thriller “Rendition” to play well in London’s West End and other key urban sites. Entertainment is send out the pic to 327 theaters.
John Carney’s Irish musical “Once,” distributed by Icon, should play well on the U.K. arthouse circuit thanks to good reviews.
Spain’s B.O. is being rocked by Spanish breakout hit “The Orphanage.”
Bowing Oct. 11 on 350 screens, Juan Antonio Bayona’s debut grossed a boffo first four-day $8.3 million, and cumed $10 million through Thursday.
That’s ahead of the highest-grossing Spanish film of all-time: Alejandro Amenabar’s Nicole Kidman chiller “The Others,” which took a first frame $5.2 million in September 2001, and a first week $8.9 million. “The Others” went on to gross a total $38.7 million in Spain.
Distributor Warner Bros. is battling for “Orphanage” to get at least somewhere near that figure.
Security measures have been tight. By Monday Internet P2P site eMule had numerous offerings of “The Orphanage.” But they were decoys. And cinema security guards have employed nightvision glasses to catch out anybody trying to camcord the movie.
“So far, there’s no ‘Orphanage’ illegal copy to download or bootlegged DVD to buy from street vendors,” Jose Manuel Tourne, managing director of Spain’s Anti-Piracy Federation, told Daily Variety.
“The Orphanage” faces some competition this weekend, although new bows target different demos.
Emilio Martinez-Lazaro’s “13 Roses” opens on 232 via Alta. Based on historical events, movie is about a trumped up trial and a real-life execution of 13 girls in 1939, as Franco’s regime, triumphant from the Civil War, attempted to instill terror in Spain’s populace.
Spanish cinemagoers traditionally complain that Spanish filmmakers make too many films about the Civil War and its aftermath. “This is more of the same, but well done,” said a booker.
Crix reactions to “13 Roses” have been mostly bad. “I don’t feel the characters are suffering,” said newspaper El Pais. “Character construction lacks verisimilitude,” sniped ABC.
Unusually for a country that normally disses mainstream Hollywood gross-out fare, “Superbad,” which Sony puts out on 350, has been welcomed by Spanish reviewers. Bookers have high hopes for the high school teen movie.
Other bows are Spanish-Argentine comedy “Quiereme,” out on 115 via AZ Cinema; Anthony Hopkins starrer “Fracture,” bowing on 265 via Tripictures; and Julian Jarrold’s Jane Austen biopic “Becoming Jane,” which is released on 119 via Notro.
The German box office looks set for a major shakeup with a slew of new openers this week.
While all signs point to “Ratatouille” retaining the top spot, “Stardust” from Universal and Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution” going out via Tobis, are sure to generate interest among moviegoers looking for something other than animated rats.
Both pics have enjoyed strong reviews among local critics.
German release of “Lust, Caution” reps the pic’s first outing at a major Euro market.
Also making plenty of waves in the local press is Fox’s “Trade” from German helmer Marco Kreuzpaintner.
Fellow Teutonic director Uwe Boll makes a splash with Kinostar’s “Postal,” although pic has not exactly impressed local critics. Weekly Der Spiegel complained that Boll’s latest tries so hard to shock that it ultimately bores.
Central releases political thriller “Breach,” starring Ryan Phillippe, while fans of Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman may give Warner’s “Invasion” a chance, despite its poor showing Stateside — pic is directed by German helmer Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall”).
X Verleih hopes to attract tykes (most likely those who have already seen “Ratatouille”) with its classically animated “The Three Robbers,” based on the popular children’s book by French author Tomi Ungerer.
Arthouse auds get Angelina Maccarone’s “Vivere,” Stardust’s road movie about two sisters who meet a desperate older woman and who end up changing each others’ lives. Likewise, Ann-Kristin Reyels’ “Jagdhunde,” about a jaded teen from the country who heads to Berlin but gets sidetracked when he meets a deaf girl, may attract specialty interest; pic goes out via Zauberland. German horror fans are served up Sony’s “Wind Chill” and Falcom’s “The Messengers.”
After a few weeks of either tepid openers or outright bombs, there are finally a few strong bows for Hollywood fare in Gaul.
“Rush Hour 3” took in $473,100 on 479 for Metropolitan on its first day (Oct. 17). Bookers expect the action caper featuring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker tearing up the streets of Paris to continue its fast start through the weekend.
Critics have either dissed it outright, or damned it with faint praise. “A family action comedy with no pretensions other than to entertain. Mission accomplished,” declared Journal du Dimanche.
Also on its first day, “Michael Clayton” bowed at $286,850 on 301 for SND.
The critics have been generally positive. “Unlike other films where George Clooney plays on his status as a seducer, the film stays focused. A film noir for our times,” adjudged Le Monde.
Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig starrer “The Invasion” did not hit the ground running. On day one, it made Warners a mere $107,490 on 250.
Additional reporting by Ed Meza (Germany), David Hayhurst (France), Emilio Mayorga (Spain) and Nick Vivarelli (Italy).