Around the World Roundup: 'Sith's Empire Declines But Still Huge

by Conor Bresnan
Hayden Christensen in
Revenge of the Sith
June 2, 2005

In its first 12 days alone, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of Sith amassed an estimated $246.2 million, ranking in the pantheon of global launches behind all time champ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's $268.4 million 12-day start. Revenge of the Sith's performance is made more striking by the lack of any holidays, a traditionally mediocre month for some markets and a European heat wave last week that drove down general attendance—for instance, business was off 57 percent in Germany and 43 percent in Italy.

Counting Monday, Revenge of the Sith's foreign total came to $256 million in 13 days, compared to domestic's $270.5 million. The three-day weekend gross was $61.5 million, down 54 percent. At its current pace, Sith should pass predecessor Attack of the Clones's $338.7 million total in less than two weeks. Sith has already topped Clones in 31 markets and The Phantom Menace in 5 territories.

After playing nearly everywhere in its opening salvo, Revenge of the Sith bowed in South Korea to a strong $3.8 million from 306 screens, distributor 20th Century Fox's second biggest debut there after The Day After Tomorrow's $4.1 million. Sith beat Attack of the Clones by 41 percent and The Phantom Menace by 153 percent, but, like the preceding prequels, Sith should burnt out quickly. Japan is Sith's last remaining market on July 9.

Europe saw sharp drops across the board for Revenge of the Sith. The United Kingdom was down 49 percent to $9.9 million from 485 screens for a $46 million total. France tumbled 59 percent to $8.9 million from 938 for $34.8 million in 12 days. There was a 54 percent in Germany to $6.6 million from 1,183 for a $29.9 million total. Russia plunged 60 percent to $1.8 million from 362 for a $7.5 million total. Business was off 58 percent in Italy to $1.6 million from 683 for a $7.1 million total and 59 percent in Sweden to $1.1 million from 129. The strongest hold was Spain's 46 percent drop to $4.2 million from 497 for a $15.5 million total.

One of Revenge of the Sith's more impressive holds was China's 47 percent dip. Most movies there are gone by their fourth week and second weekend drop-off rates of 70 percent are common. Sith notched $1.6 million from 500 screens for a $5.8 million total. Another respectable hold was Brazil's 44 percent fall to $1.3 million from 504 screens for a $4.9 million total.

In the shadow of Star Wars, other pictures enjoyed solid debuts.

Paris Hilton in House of Wax
House of Wax opened in 23 territories over the weekend, scoring $4.6 million from approximately 1,300 prints for a $9.1 million total. In Hong Kong, the horror remake actually topped Revenge of the Sith on Friday, although it came up short for the weekend with $405,463 from 31 prints. House of Wax also bowed well in the Philippines ($178,000 from 22 prints) and Thailand ($284,900 from 51), but melted in Europe's heat wave. In the U.K., it grossed $1.37 million from 306 screens, on par with fellow Dark Castle productions Ghost Ship and Thirteen Ghosts, and, in France, it earned $803,400.

Madagascar was unleashed on some Asian markets simultaneously with domestic, following a similar release strategy as Shrek 2. DreamWorks' computer-animated feature grabbed $1.2 million there with Singapore's $612,878 from 26 screens leading the way—opening nine percent higher than Shrek 2. In Malaysia, it topped Shrek 2 by 85 percent with $314,171 from 39 screens. The Philippines contributed $285,359 from 65 screens.

In its first foreign foray, Sin City had a strong impact in Taiwan with $230,055 from 18 screens in Taipei. With a subject matter and style appealing to overseas audiences, the star-studded neo-noir could potentially surpass its $73 million domestic run, finding similar success as the Kill Bill movies.

Monster-in-Law is becoming the alternative for female audiences. The Jennifer-Lopez-versus-Jane-Fonda comedy opened in its first non-English markets after an $8.4 million 18-day run in the U.K. In Germany, it came in at second place with $1.05 million from 368 screens. In Greece, it made $465,264 from 77 screens in its first three days, and, in Austria, it earned $221,642 from 53 screens. Opening against Madagascar in Singapore, it grossed a sturdy $252,016 from 16 screens. Numbers from all markets so far have been in the range of Mean Girls and American's Sweethearts. Monster-in-Law's next stops are Norway and Iceland on June 17 and then France on June 22.

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