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Around the World Roundup: French Comedy, 'Syriana' Lead Soft Foreign Box Office

by Conor Bresnan
March 1, 2006

With $7.6 million from three markets, French comedy Les Bronzés 3 - amis pour la vie led the soft overseas box office for the fourth weekend in a row. In its native France, it entered the all time Top 10, and its overall total stands at $73.3 million.

Among Hollywood productions, Syriana was tops of modest lot with $5.9 million, bringing its foreign total to $9.5 million early in its run. The political thriller was warmly received in France ($1.6 million from 274 prints), Italy ($1.2 million from 242) and Germany ($1.2 million from 359)—each opening stronger than the respective starts of A History of Violence, The Constant Gardener and Crash.

A lack of competition appears to have benefited Big Momma's House 2. The Martin Lawrence comedy remained solid, grossing $5 million over the weekend for a $42.5 million total. Impressive tallies include the United Kingdom's $12.7 million, Mexico's $6.1 million and the Netherlands' $1.2 million.

Date Movie is also performing better than expected. The romantic comedy spoof held onto the top spot in Australia, grossing $902,486 from 223 screens for a $2.6 million total, and it opened at No. 1 in the U.K., making $2.3 million from 351 screens. However, success outside the English-speaking markets may prove challenging—similar movies often don't translate—but exceptions like the Scary Movie pictures give hope to distributor 20th Century Fox.

The Pink Panther led the Spanish market with a strong $2.2 million debut from 350 screens, which was nearly 50 percent better than what Fun with Dick and Jane and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory did there. Overall, the detective comedy bagged a $4.1 million weekend for a $10.6 million total.

In France, Fun with Dick and Jane landed in fourth place with a decent $1.8 million out of the gate from 368 screens. The Jim Carrey comedy is nearing the end of its foreign campaign, and, with $74.6 million overall after a $4.2 million weekend, its unlikely to match its $110 million domestic. Comedies often rack up less internationally than they do domestically, and a prime recent example is Wedding Crashers, which grossed $209.3 million domestically, but just $74.3 million overseas.

Beating Fun in France, Get Rich or Die Tryin' bowed to a surprisingly strong $1.9 million from 245 screens. The 50 Cent crime drama had grabbed $11.3 million from eight European markets, including Germany ($3.2 million) and the U.K. ($3.7 million).

Hostel opened in its first major markets, and the results weren't impressive. The horror picture was third in Australia and Italy, grossing $616,980 from 150 screens and $1.2 million from 291 screens, respectively. Both debuts were more than 50 percent below what Saw II did. All told, Hostel grossed $2.1 million over the weekend for a $2.3 million total.

Meanwhile, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire became the fifth picture ever to gross $600 million in foreign box office, which is especially impressive since it is the fourth in the franchise. Its $601.4 million total even topped its predecessor Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban's $540.3 million. Goblet of Fire, though, likely won't catch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' $614.7 million.



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