Around the World Roundup: 'Wallace & Gromit' Grips U.K.
by Conor Bresnan
October 19, 2005
Fueled by an impressive start in its native United Kingdom, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit dominated the foreign box office over the weekend with a $20.8 million haul, lifting its total to $40 million.
The clay-animated comedy amassed $11.4 million at 501 screens in the U.K., nearly doubling Chicken Run's opening and beating Madagascar by 74 percent. Adding preview grosses from the previous weekend, the tally stands at $16.3 million total there.
Debuts in territories outside Wallace and Gromit's home land weren't in the same league, but still respectable. The picture bowed atop France with $2.9 million from 539 screens, and it should prosper in the weeks ahead as the country enters school holidays. In Germany, it collected $2.1 million from 692 screens, and other strong starts included Switzerland's $541,145 from 88 screens, Norway's $303,275 from 73 and Poland's $263,322 from 52.
Among holdovers, Wallace and Gromit fell only 21 percent in Mexico, making $1 million from 335 screens for a $2.8 million total, and just 15 percent in Spain for a $2.4 million tally.
On the wane, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory delivered $5.7 million over the weekend, increasing its total to $244.5 million. After delaying its Greece opening until the slow summer season was over, the picture posted a wonderful $694,000 from 57 screens, beating the past debut of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith by 89 percent.
Japan and Italy were again the key holdovers for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In its sixth weekend in Japan, Charlie remained No. 1 with $2 million from 364 screens, easing 26 percent for a $38.2 million tally there. In Italy, it climbed to $10.9 million after a $976,000 weekend.
The 40-Year-Old-Virgin grabbed $4.7 million from 26 territories for a $33.8 million total. The sex comedy was down just 20 percent in Germany, with $1.1 million from 526 dates for a $5.8 million total. The picture opened well in Turkey with $155,817 from 49 screens, but flopped in Argentina with $66,052 from 32 screens.
Serenity displayed some relatively strong holds. The sci-fi thriller had a $2 million weekend internationally, led by the U.K.'s $868,664ľa drop of 39 percent for a $3.3 million total there. Russia was the picture's sole opening, grossing a respectable $711,201 from 232 screens. Next weekend, Serenity lands in France and Spain.
Flightplan continued its slow but steady rollout. The Jodie Foster thriller opened at the top spot in both Hong Kong and Denmark, recording $625,000 and $150,000 respectively. Along with Mexico's $1 million (pushing its total to $6.2 million) and several smaller territories' takes, the movie made $2.6 million overall for a $10.5 million running total.
Roberto Benigni's newest production, The Tiger and the Snow, had an unlucky beginning to its Italian run. An entertainment industry strike forced the distributor, 01 Distribution, to delay the drama's start by one day in Rome. Thus, its seemingly disappointing $4 million opening from about 800 screens is an incomparable figure. Benigni's last picture, Pinocchio, opened on the same weekend in 2002 and racked up $7 million from 675 screens.
Several pictures lacked any highlights, but still improved their totals. Pride and Prejudice increased to $24.6 million, with the U.K.'s $22.7 million providing most of that total. Dropping less than 40 percent in Germany and France, The Brothers Grimm moved to $27.8 million, while its Buena Vista International stable mates Sin City and Cinderella Man rose to $82.6 million and $43 million respectively. Sony's crop grew a bit, including Bewitched ($65.2 million total), Stealth ($38.8 million), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo ($19.7 million) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose ($3.9 million).