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Around the World Roundup: 'Asterix' Claims Top Spot Again

by Conor Bresnan
Movie poster for Asterix aux jeux olympiques
February 15, 2008

Several movies saw huge returns during the Chinese New Year, which started last Thursday, but the French comedy sequel Astérix aux jeux olympiques ruled the international box office once again with $24.3 million from 23 nations for a $72.1 million total. Astérix had impressive openings in Spain (a top-ranked $2.8 million) and Italy ($1.9 million), topping its predecessors, but it suffered some steep drops in holdovers. In France, it fell 58 percent, grossing a still mighty $9.8 million for a $35.2 million total, and it was down 51 percent in Russia ($7.6 million total), but it held well in Germany and Turkey.

With $13.4 million from 44 territories, Cloverfield remained in second place, down 28 percent despite adding 12 new markets. The monster movie saw another batch of blah openings in Brazil ($565,933 from 182 screens), Greece ($120,117 from 15) and South Africa ($89,771 from 61), and it dove 66 percent in both Italy and Spain and 53 percent in the United Kingdom. Cloverfield has grossed just $56.9 million with only Japan, Turkey and a handful of other markets left on its schedule.

Sci-fi comedy CJ7 mined the most gold provided by the Chinese New Year, a holiday akin to Memorial and Independence Day in the United States in terms of box office. CJ7, directed by Kung Fu Hustle's Stephen Chow, made $11.6 million from eight territories for a $29 million tally. It led China for the second weekend in a row, pushing its two-week gross there to $13.5 million. In addition, it recorded Malaysia's largest opening ever with $1.9 million from 90 screens and scored the biggest opening ever for a Chinese picture in Singapore with $1.4 million from 50 screens. CJ7 also led in Indonesia with a strong $363,778 from 25 screens, but was mediocre in Thailand with a second-ranked $518,616 from 44 screens. More impressive was Hong Kong's five percent increase from its opening a week ago pushing its total to $5.3 million, which is only slightly behind Kung Fu Hustle's gross through the same point. In Australia, though, its two-week tally is a poor $79,324.

Opening in competition with CJ7 was the sports comedy Guan Ian (Kung Fu Dunk), which reaped $10.9 million from five markets. The picture was big in China, tabulating $8.1 million over the long weekend. The movie about a Chinese basketball star wasn't as good elsewhere. In Hong Kong, it placed third with a still sizeable $655,503 from 41 screens and, in Singapore, it made $993,503 from 50.

Despite an average start in the U.K., National Treasure: Book of Secrets finished fifth overseas with a $10.3 million take from 37 territories for a $183.4 million total. Although it more than doubled the first National Treasure's 2004 opening, Book of Secrets still made only $4.8 million over the weekend in the U.K. For perspective, that was 33 percent less than the opening of Rocky Balboa. Book of Secrets also led in Demark with an opening of $691,367 from 57 screens. The adventure sequel opens in Finland and France this weekend.

Juno had a solid opening beneath National Treasure in the U.K., grossing $3.9 million from 363 screens, topping both Superbad and Knocked Up among past similar movies. Outside of the English-speaking territories, Juno has been a mixed bag, sometimes performing as disappointingly as Knocked Up and Superbad and other times greatly exceeding them. In France, the comedy earned an impressive $1.2 million in its debut, which was almost as much as Knocked Up made in its entire run there, while, in Norway, its measly $80,917 was only 36 percent of Knocked Up's opening. With much of the world ahead, the verdict is still out on Juno.

Meanwhile, two romantic comedies had standard openings for the genre. Fool's Gold led Australia with $1.8 million and grossed $120,883 in New Zealand. Definitely, Maybe preceded its American debut with a so-so start in the U.K. of $1.4 million from 332 screens, ranking sixth.

Foreign Weekend Box Office Results
International Box Office Home Page

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