Around the World Roundup: 'Shrek' Dominates, 'Transformers' Rises

by Conor Bresnan
A scene from Shrek the Third
July 5, 2007

The foreign box office boomed with the continued strength of top grosser Shrek the Third and several new titles. The fractured fairy tale rose 52 percent to a $71.9 million weekend, while Live Free or Die Hard and Transformers each had $30 million plus debuts and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Ocean's Thirteen and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End each fell less than 35 percent.

In the United Kingdom, Shrek the Third nabbed the highest-grossing opening ever in U.S. Currency with a smashing $33.5 million from 536 theaters, though the figure included three days of significant preview grosses. In local currency, it narrowly topped Shrek 2, which had one less day of previews.

Elsewhere, Shrek the Third generally bested its predecessors in openings. In Poland, it bagged the opening weekend record with $4.4 million from 96 screens, nearly doubling its predecessor, which was the former record holder. In Japan and Hong Kong, it also topped Shrek 2 with strong openings of $3 million from 288 screens and $1.1 million from 38 screens, respectively. Other debuts were Israel ($482,668 from 37 screens) and South Africa ($923,239 from 116).

Shrek the Third's overall total climbed to $262.2 million and, with only Greece, Italy and Scandinavia left on its schedule, it may not exceed Shrek 2's $479.4 million final tally.

In second place, Transformers launched with a whopping $36.3 million from just 10 territories, though Italy cast a slight pallor. The robo-spectacle was outstanding in Asia, but its sole European debut, Italy, was a disappointing $3.6 million from 540 screens, which is not a good sign for the rest of Europe. Nonetheless, it delivered the fourth-highest debut ever in South Korea with $13.2 million from 697 screens. In Singapore, it scored the largest four-day start of all time with $1.8 million from 29 while, in Thailand, it logged the biggest opening day for a non-sequel and had a $1.9 million weekend from 78 screens. In the Philippines, it mustered the eighth highest launch ever with $2.2 million from 270 screens, while Indonesia ($778,250 from 87), Malaysia ($1.5 million from 60) and Taiwan ($3.1 million from 68) were just as spectacular. Transformers also opened very well in Australia with a top-ranked $6.8 million from 239 screens, besting War of the Worlds by 16 percent. Transformers rolls out across Europe this weekend, including Russia and Spain.

Debuting overseas as well, Live for or Die Hard managed $31 million from 35 screens, an adequate launch for an aged franchise. The action sequel opened in most markets on Wednesday, which boosted its weekend figure. Die Hard 4.0, as its known internationally, premiered excellently in Germany ($7.6 million from 720 screens) and Japan ($7.2 million from 741 screens), both topping X-Men: The Last Stand. Live Free or Die Hard didn't rank first in Russia, narrowly beaten by Ratatouille. Die Hard snagged $4.1 million over five days there, which was more than Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer's three week total, and it played particularly well in Scandinavia with results just 25 percent below Spider-Man 3 in most markets. This weekend, the picture hits France, Mexico, the U.K. and Southeast Asia.

Fourth place went to Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which lost just 31 percent of business for a $15.4 million weekend from 44 territories and $82.5 million total. In Argentina, the superhero sequel's opening was 12 percent lower than the original with $528,688, and it earned $2.9 million from Brazil, $500,000 from Peru and $527,877 from Venezuela. Drop-off rates have been steep for Silver Surfer, but with a third of the world still to visit it will now likely pass the original's $175.4 million total.

Ocean's Thirteen's $14.4 million from 51 countries was good enough for fifth place. The caper sequel's only major opening was in Mexico where it grossed a disappointing $1.8 million from 500 prints, ranking second. It did well again in France with $2.25 million in its second weekend for an $8.7 million total and in the U.K. with $1.9 million in its fourth weekend for a $22.7 million total. Thirteen will wrap up its foreign run in Japan on Aug. 11, and its $124.1 million total puts it well short of its predecessors.

Meanwhile, Ratatouille opened in seventh place with $5.8 million from just 9 territories. Its biggest launch was Russia, where it claimed a top-ranked $3.5 million. It was Pixar's largest opening ever there, doubling Cars and tripling The Incredibles. Ratatouille was decent in Ecuador ($203,995 from 42 screens) and Uruguay ($20,184 from 8), where it failed to top Shrek the Third in its third weekend.

* Foreign Weekend Box Office Results
* International Box Office Home Page

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