News

Around the World Roundup: 'Compass' Leads Despite Drop

by Conor Bresnan
A scene from The Golden Compass
December 20, 2007

The international box office perked up over the weekend with the arrival of I Am Legend, several local productions and the expansion of Bee Movie. Overall business of the Top 40 movies was up a massive 23 percent from the previous frame, and The Golden Compass led the way with $29.8 million from 44 territories. The fantasy's 41 percent drop was cause for concern, however, as it added 17 new markets. Steep drops like in the United Kingdom (59 percent), Singapore (67 percent) and Spain (51 percent) were alarming for the picture's already disappointing box office, but it held relatively well in France (down 39 percent) and Germany (off 30 percent).

The Golden Compass' new territories yielded mixed results. It led in Argentina ($271,701 from 58 screens), Bulgaria ($66,199 from 14), Chile ($155,422 from 39), the Czech Republic ($151,080 from 25) and in Hungary ($142,317 from 33) among others, but it failed to beat the competition in major markets. In Mexico, it lost out to fellow opener Enchanted and, in Italy, it debuted in third with only $2.2 million from 379 screens, far behind the country's two local hits, Natale in crociera and Una Moglie Bellisima. The Golden Compass' overall total climbed to $91.5 million, nearly double its disappointing domestic gross.

Bee Movie rose to second place with $20.9 million frame from 43 markets for a $58.8 million total. The animated comedy was a hit in all of its new markets, including France ($3.2 million from 658 screens) and the U.K. ($4.7 million from 435 screens). Other impressive starts came out of Germany ($2.3 million from 689), Portugal ($690,648 from 64) and Turkey ($621,122 from 138), and the movie recorded strong holds for the second consecutive week.

In third, I Am Legend reaped a smashing $19.8 million from eight Asian territories. In Japan, the sci-fi horror delivered $6.4 million from 422 screens, which was higher than Minority Report (which ended up with $42.7 million) among past similar movies. In South Korea, its $6.5 million from 271 screens was tops too and more than the past start of The Matrix Reloaded. The other territories were just as remarkable including Taiwan ($2.3 million), India ($1 million) and Thailand ($1.4 million).

Enchanted fell to fourth place with $16.3 million from 29 territories for a $54.3 million total. The fantasy comedy failed to unseat The Golden Compass in the U.K., but its $5.1 million from 471 screens topped fellow openers Bee Movie and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. In Mexico, its solid $3.3 million opening from 755 screens was more impressive. Elsewhere, the picture continued to fall more steeply than most successful movies of its genre.

China's The Warlords (Tau ming chong) rounded out the Top Five with a $13.1 million opening from five markets. In China alone, it nabbed $10.8 million, which was double the opening of the year's highest grossing local title, Lust, Caution. In Hong Kong, The Warlords opened in first place, ahead of I Am Legend with $1.1 million from 71 screens, and it had robust debuts in Malaysia ($267,452 from 35 screens), Singapore ($636,724 from 38) and Thailand ($245,893 from 70).

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