Around the World Roundup: 'Zorro' Dips But Still Tops

by Conor Bresnan
Antonio Banderas in The Legend of Zorro
November 9, 2005

All eyes are on an ever-growing boy wizard. The release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Nov. 18 will supply a much needed boost to the foreign box office after a slew of disappointing months. This past weekend offered some promise with the arrival of Chicken Little, but top draw, The Legend of Zorro, experienced the standard sequel tumble.

Good openings in the Middle East couldn't stop The Legend of Zorro from falling 42 percent from its opening salvo. The swashbuckler's most notable drop was France's 55 percent plunge to $2.7 million from 678 screens for a $10.9 million total. The massive start assured a large drop, but 55 percent is excessive even for a sequel. Other poor holds included Spain's 48 percent dive and China's 69 percent plummet.

The Legend of Zorro did have several impressive holdovers. In Germany, it held onto second place with a 24 percent drop to $1.4 million from 679 screens for a $4.1 million total. Italy was off 27 percent with $965,846 from 483 screens and a $3.4 million total.

Overall, The Legend of Zorro grossed $16.4 million from about 60 territories to improve its foreign total to $59.4 million.

In its overseas bow, Chicken Little scored the biggest opening for an animated title ever in Malaysia, grossing an estimated $477,000 from 40 screens to top Pixar's The Incredibles by 33 percent. In Russia, the computer-animated comedy grossed an estimated $1.1 million from 197 screens, logging the fourth biggest animated opening there. The picture also opened in kid-friendly Mexico to a solid $3.1 million from 600 screens, which was below Dinosaur and Finding Nemo but still strong for the genre. Taiwan wasn't as impressive with $450,000 from 18 screens.

Chicken Little will have a spread out foreign campaign that will highlight holiday weekends, a practice common for Buena Vista International.

A prime example of that release strategy is Flightplan. The Jodie Foster thriller has opened in only about three territories each weekend. This past weekend, it landed in first place in Italy, notching $2.3 million from 320 screens. It was Foster's biggest launch ever in the market. In Germany, it remained No. 1 thanks with $2.1 million from 661 screens for a $10.7 million total. Overall, the picture grossed $6.5 million over the weekend for a $41 million total.

Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom in Elizabethtown
One other picture made its foreign debut this weekend. Elizabethtown opened in 15 markets, grossing $5.9 million, relatively soft for the romantic comedy genre. Highlighting the weekend was Italy's fourth place entry of $1 million from 167 screens. Cameron Crowe's latest also saw decent starts in the U.K. ($1.2 million from 315 sites), Germany ($1 million from 246) and Australia ($794,486 from 202). The more disappointing openings came from France and Mexico. In France, it grossed $698,834 from 295 screens for an unhealthy screen average of $2,369. In Mexico, it had an awful screen average of $1,266, making $187,380 from 148 screens.

A good start in South Korea helped Tim Burton's Corpse Bride amass $9 million over the weekend. The stop motion-animated feature's total climbed to $44.7 million. From 105 prints in South Korea, Corpse Bride grabbed $1.2 million including sneak previews. In Seoul, it opened in first place ahead of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Corpse Bride's holdover market remained solid, particularly Italy with its nine percent drop to a $1.4 million weekend for a $3.4 million total.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit became the second stop motion animation picture ever to top the century mark in international receipts, joining Chicken Run. The clay comedy grossed $8.5 million, pushing its total to $107.2 million. It grossed an estimated $900,000 in its South Korean debut as well as $182,764 in its Danish premiere. Accenting its longevity was the United Kingdom's fourth weekend gross of $2.9 million from 500 sites, improving the total there to $50.6 million.

Nanny McPhee was a smidgen better than Wallace and Gromit in the U.K., grossing $2.92 million from 420 screens. Its three week total climbed to $22.5 million.

The Brothers Grimm's foreign campaign was reinvigorated this weekend thanks to two strong starts. Terry Gilliam's horror comedy doubled the debut of Sin City in Japan with a potent $2.8 million from 250 screens. It opened in fourth place in the U.K. with $1.6 million from 371 screens. Overall, the picture had a $5.3 million weekend from 25 markets for a $40.7 million total.

Six debuts propelled The 40-Year-Old-Virgin to a $3.2 million weekend and a $46.7 million total. The randy comedy was impressive in Belgium, grossing $459,919 from 41 screens, but was forgettable in Spain with $873,116 from 220 screens and meager in South Korea with $208,716 from 90 screens. Ten territories remain, including France next weekend.

Doom added 13 territories this weekend with only two of note. The video game adaptation grossed $3.6 million from fast-falling holdovers and poor starts. It opened well in only Hong Kong, grossing $172,847 from 24 screens, and in Singapore, grossing $250,790 from 25 screens. The overall total stands at $11.4 million.

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