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Around the World Roundup: ‘Valkyrie’ Storms Top Spot

by Conor Bresnan
Tom Cruise in Valkyrie
 

 
February 5, 2009

At the foreign box office, Valkyrie took the lead over the weekend with $19.2 million from 33 markets, bringing its total to $40 million. The World War II thriller had a satisfactory performance but hasn't packed the same punch as such recent titles as Yes Man, Australia or The Day the Earth Stood Still. Valkyrie had solid openings in Spain ($3 million), Russia ($2 million) and France ($2.2 million). It was off off 39 percent in Germany but down only 27 percent in the United Kingdom, and it's held well in South Korea, amassing $7 million in two weeks there. In two weeks, the picture will be further tested with openings in most of Asia and Latin America.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button moved up to second place with $12.1 million from 25 territories. The Best Picture nominee was propelled by a terrific opening in Germany ($5.3 million) as well as strong starts in the Netherlands ($704,504) and Austria ($658,056). Few of its territories fell more than 35 percent and some increased, and the picture's total grew to $38.3 million thus far.

Revolutionary Road expanded considerably and garnered $10.9 million from 40 markets for a $26 million total. The period drama had disappointing openings in the U.K. ($1.5 million) and Italy ($1.6 million), and only South Korea and Southeast Asia remain on its schedule. Still, it has vastly outperformed the Oscar-nominated Milk, Frost/Nixon and The Reader.

Yes Man slowed down to $9.3 million from 57 markets. The comedy opened in Brazil and Mexico, but neither market was impressive as comedies rarely translate well in Latin America. The movie is on the verge of crossing $100 million and still has Germany and Japan ahead.

Rounding out the Top Five, Seven Pounds also showed some wear and tear. The drama was off 37 percent as it only opened in the Middle East and a few other small markets. Aside from Russia's 80 percent plunge, it has held very well and, with $71.7 million in the till, it should surpass $100 million and nearly half the world is still in the offing.

Many big earners were in Asia, where the Chinese New Year was celebrated in most markets. China was led by Yau lung hei fung (Look for a Star), which recorded the 12th largest opening ever there ($7 million in five days). Also lighting up the China chart were the animated Niu Qi Chong Tian ($9.3 million total in three weeks), Silver Medalist ($7.3 million in two) and Red Cliff: Part II ($35 million in four). Outside of China Red Cliff Part II reigned again in South Korea, grossing $9.8 million in two weeks. In Hong Kong, All's Well That End's Well 2009 bagged $2.4 million in two weeks, and Japan was taken by storm by the sequel 20-seiki shônen: Dai 2 shô - Saigo no kibô, which made $7 million in just two days.

Meanwhile, Mamma Mia! opened in its final market, Japan, with a huge $4.9 million from just 334 screens. It was the largest opening ever there for a musical, topping The Phantom of the Opera (which made a sizable $35.9 million), and Mamma Mia! could significantly increase its already mammoth $434 million foreign total when all is said and done.

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