News

Around the World Roundup: 'Mission' Runs Gamut Overseas

by Conor Bresnan
Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III
May 9, 2006

The foreign box office represented a mixed bag for Mission: Impossible III, which stumbled out of the gate in all but a handful of European and Latin American markets yet notched record highs in Asia and bested Mission: Impossible II in several key European territories. Tom Cruise's third outing as spy Ethan Hunt opened nearly worldwide, with the significant exception of Japan, grossing $70.3 million from nearly 8,000 screens.

Good news first: Mission: Impossible III dominated Asia. The picture's top market was South Korea with $10.6 million from 402 screens, a new benchmark there for distributor United International Pictures that was a whopping 405 percent higher than the previous Mission. In Taiwan, it delivered UIP's second best start ever with $3.1 million from 68 screens, while records for Paramount came in Thailand ($1.7 million from 76 screens), the Philippines ($1.3 million from 186) and Singapore ($1.3 million from 29)–the latter also setting a new record for Cruise. Malaysia's $947,576 from 51 screens was another personal best for Cruise, while Indonesia's $877,488 from 69 was by far UIP's biggest bow ever.

Mission: Impossible III also impressed in several important European territories. In the United Kingdom, it grossed $9.9 million from 515 screens, topping Mission: Impossible II by nearly 40 percent and second only to War of the Worlds among Paramount releases. Results were less stellar in Spain and Italy, but both managed to top the first two movies. Spain yielded $3.6 million from 408 screens, while Italy grossed $3.1 million from 281 screens. Russia's $2.3 million at 448 screens handily out-grossed the previous Missions as the market has doubled in the years since the last movie. In Mexico, the picture narrowly beat its predecessor with $2.8 million from 382 screens.

With an expected enormous upcoming run in Japan, a $200 million plus finish for Mission: Impossible III is certain. However, massive drop-off rates are expected as all Asian markets but Taiwan bowed on Wednesday, inflating their opening figures, and Mission: Impossible III is not likely to exceed its predecessor's $330.5 million final foreign tally.

In all other major markets, Mission: Impossible III failed to eclipse Mission: Impossible II. Most embarrassing was Germany's anemic $2.8 million start from 802 screens, which was down 64 percent from the second Mission. Neighboring Austria was equally disappointing with $569,647 from 130 screens. Business was a bit better in France, where Mission: Impossible III grabbed $6.2 million at 728 screens improved matters, but Australia also failed to meet expectations with $3 million from 243 screens.

In most markets, Mission: Impossible III will get another week free of major competition as Warner Bros. has set Poseidon for just a handful of markets next weekend. After that, however, The Da Vinci Code chimes in with a global launch, followed by X-Men: The Last Stand and then the distraction of the FIFA World Cup.

Sid the Sloth in Ice Age: The Metldown
After five weeks on top, Ice Age: The Meltdown ceded its title to Mission: Impossible III but maintained its blockbuster run. The computer-generated comedy grossed $14.3 million over the weekend, lifting its total to a dazzling $405.8 million.

In a distant third overall, Scary Movie 4 bagged $3.6 million over the weekend for a $56.5 million total. The comedy has played well in Germany ($8.6 million total), Italy ($8.8 million) and the U.K. ($9.9 million).

Reflecting the unpredictability of the Japanese market, The Producers, now in its sixth weekend of release, is still in the Top 10 after a 19 percent fall to $368,979 from 279 screens. The musical has shown tremendous legs there, grossing $7.1 million or 40 percent of its $17.7 million overall international total.



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