While “Mamma Mia!” has grabbed headlines as the key driver of international moviegoing in recent months, keeping foreign B.O. healthy, the Coen brothers’ dark comedy “Burn After Reading” has managed to generate surprisingly solid biz overseas in recent weeks.
As expected, “Eagle Eye” led the charts during the Oct. 17-19 frame with $11.5 million at 3,546 playdates for a decent $3,239 per location average. “Burn” was a close second with $9.6 million at only 1,577, giving it a much more impressive $6,080 average.
“Burn After Reading” finished first in a quartet of launches in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and the U.K. during the Oct. 17-19 frame to move its international gross to the $35 million mark in only 14 markets. It also led the chart in Spain for the second weekend in a row, declining only 34% and moving its Iberian cume to $5 million.
“Burn” also dominated Brit biz with $3.5 million at 396 for a beefy $8,939 per location average — nearly matching the combined grosses of the next two entries, “Eagle Eye” and “Igor.”
The George Clooney-Brad Pitt vehicle has already turned in respectable numbers in Italy, with $8.3 million after five weeks, and in Germany, with $7.9 million in three. “Burn” may also be benefiting from foreign fans of the Coens, since “No Country for Old Men” managed to take in slightly more overseas at $86 million than domestically.
While that’s hardly blockbuster business, it’s a decent performance for an American comedy since the genre usually sees significantly less traction in foreign markets, with titles such as “Get Smart” (at $100 million), “Tropic Thunder” (at $60 million), “Pineapple Express,” “Step Brothers,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Baby Mama” usually not able to come near matching their Stateside cume.
Only five comedies released in 2008 have seen their international numbers outstrip their domestic totals — “Sex and the City” with $250 million, “What Happens in Vegas” with $139 million, “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” with $101 million, “27 Dresses” at $82 million and “Meet Dave” with $38 million.
Woody Allen’s romantic comedy “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is also on target to generate far more biz outside the U.S. than within it, with foreign grosses — from only 11 markets — already nearing the $21.8 million domestic cume.
Not surprisingly, Spanish takings for “Vicky” have led the way, with $9.5 million in five weeks, while French biz has been boffo, with easy back-to-back victories in its first two frames. The Gallic soph sesh declined only 31%, pushing the cume past $8 million in a dozen days.
“Vicky” easily topped a pair of local launches — “Le Crime est notre affaire” (Crime Is Our Business), helmer Pascal Thomas’ comic take on an Agatha Christie classic, with $2.65 million, and biopic “Coluche, l’histoire d’un mec” with $2.5 million.
By comparison, Ben Stiller-helmed “Tropic Thunder” had an OK French bow with $2.1 million on 297. And Robert De Niro-Al Pacino starrer “Righteous Kill” performed passably well for Metropolitan with a 47% decline in its second frame to $1.4 million — decent numbers in spite of some serious local critical drubbing.
The Italian launch of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” turned in a solid $2.1 million for second place behind Disney’s $3.6 million opening of family fave “Wall-E,” which has topped $240 million internationally.
Unlike most U.S. comedies, Allen’s recent films have performed far better outside the U.S. “Match Point” — his most successful commercial entry since “Hannah and Her Sisters” — took in foreign grosses of $62 million, or nearly triple the domestic total; “Cassandra’s Dream” grossed $21 million overseas and less than $1 million in the U.S.; and 2006’s “Scoop” had far more traction internationally with $28 million compared with $10 million domestically.
Meanwhile, “Mamma Mia!” continued to amaze with $6.6 million during the Oct. 17-19 frame, led by its $1.5 million third frame in Italy — down only 27%. The musical’s holdover biz has been the key component in driving the international take, which topped $402 million as of Oct. 21.
Brit biz has remained dazzling with a cume of $126.5 million, followed by $38 million in Germany, $29 million in Australia and $23 million each in South Korea and Sweden.
David Hayhurst in Paris contributed to this report.