Around the World Roundup: ‘Benjamin Button’ Matures to Top Spot

by Conor Bresnan
Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

February 12, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button hit the big leagues for the first time after adding 23 markets over the weekend for a total of 48. The fantastical drama earned an impressive $32 million to lead the weekend at the foreign box office, lifting its total to $74.8 million. Debuts in Spain ($5 million), France ($5.4 million) and Japan ($3.5 million) were excellent, but the movie had quieter starts in other markets like the United Kingdom ($3.3 million) and Russia ($1.6 million). In places where it didn't impress out of the gate, it has held well, including Germany (off 29 percent over the weekend), Chile (off 23 percent) and Brazil (off 21 percent).

Coming second for the weekend overall, Valkyrie pulled in $11.5 million from 33 markets for a $56.8 million total. The picture's only notable opening was in Denmark, where it ranked second with $325,191 from 52 screens, and, in holdover markets, it has been sliding at average rates for its genre.

With $9.8 million from 36 markets, Bolt leapt to third place, propelled by a lively start in France ($4.6 million) that beat local opener Lol. It wasn't one of Disney animation's best openings but is positioned for a lengthy run through upcoming holidays. Bolt also had several solid debuts in Scandinavia, including an outstanding $1.2 million in Sweden, but was merely adequate in Greece ($346,929). The animated comedy also had sneak previews in the U.K., amassing $3.3 million from 565 screens and officially opens this weekend there. Overall, Bolt has amassed a $106.9 million total.

In fourth, Revolutionary Road fell 44 percent to $6.2 million from 41 markets. The period drama hasn't held terribly well in most markets, but its $36.8 million tally thus far is strong for its genre.

Bride Wars rose to fifth with $5.9 million from 43 territories. With $32.2 million in the till, the romantic comedy hasn't impressed, considering that it was the only romantic comedy in nearly every market. In Germany, it grabbed $1.6 million in its four-day start, which was one-eighth the start of Sex and the City and less than 27 Dresses. Elsewhere, holdovers were unimpressive and openings were average at best.

Not far behind Bride Wars were Slumdog Millionaire (which crossed the $50 million mark), Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Seven Pounds, new Italy release Ex, Yes Man (which passed $100 million this past week) and Twilight. Each movie made more than $5 million over the weekend.

The current top movie domestically, He's Just Not That Into You, had a blah foreign debut. In its main market, the U.K., though, the ensemble romantic comedy grossed $2.8 million, ranking second to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The picture adds several more territories next weekend and will roll out nearly everywhere throughout February and March.

Also opening internationally, Coraline was solid in Mexico with $1.2 million, which included a record $400,000 launch on 60 3D screens. In Columbia and Chile, the stop-motion animated picture also had 3D-only openings and will expand to 35mm screens in the future.

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