News

Around the World Roundup: ‘Benjamin Button’ Clings to Lead

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

 
February 19, 2009

Becoming the highest-grossing Best Picture nominee in the last two years with a $119.1 million tally, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button topped the foreign box office chart again, making $31 million over the weekend. The fantastical drama had three strong, first-place starts in Italy ($3.9 million), South Korea ($2.2 million) and Taiwan ($907,443) and was average in its other Southeast Asian debuts. Holdovers were sturdy as well, including the United Kingdom (off just 20 percent), France (off 24 percent) and Japan (off 12 percent). Benjamin Button also marks lead actor Brad Pitt's 11th picture to cross the $100 million mark overseas.

In second, Bolt had its biggest weekend yet, fetching $16.6 million from 38 territories for a $127.6 million total. In the United Kingdom, the animated comedy nabbed a fantastic $7.8 million in its opening (including previews from last weekend). Additionally, it fell only eight percent in France, improving its total to $10.1 million in two weeks, and it also impressed in Denmark, where it gained 27 percent in its second weekend to remain in first for a $1.7 million tally.

He's Just Not That Into You was warmly welcomed in 14 countries, ranking third with $13.6 million from 18 total markets for an $18.7 million tally. The romantic comedy's top debut was Australia (a first-place $3.1 million), and it was also impressive in France ($2 million) and Germany ($2.1 million). It even played well in Asia, grossing $1.8 million in South Korea and nearly half a million in Taiwan. In the U.K., it made up for its so-so opening last weekend with a minuscule ten percent drop.

Valkyrie was fourth over the weekend with $10.7 million for an estimated $71.6 million total. The World War II thriller was solid in its Southeast Asian openings, grossing $292,030 in Singapore, $363,589 in Hong Kong and $342,813 in Taiwan, and it looked good in Mexico with a $1.4 million debut.

Packing little of the punch of its domestic opening, Friday the 13th rounded out the Top Five with $9.5 million from 30 markets. The slasher franchise has had few fans internationally, in part, because the original movie began in 1980, years before foreign box office was considered important. In addition, only a few markets have traditional opening days on Friday, eliminating the thrill of seeing the movie on its titular opening date. However, Friday the 13th was universally bigger than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and good considering its $19 million budget. Its best market was Russia, where it grossed $1.7 million. Among other key markets, it was so-so in the U.K. ($1.7 million) and disappointing in Spain ($949,732).

Outside of the Top Five, the Turkish sequel Recep Ivedik 2 broke several records. Most prominent was Turkey's opening weekend record with $6.1 million from 390 screens. The comedy also scored the highest debut ever for a Turkish movie in Germany with $1.8 million from only 75 screens, ranking ahead of the debut of Friday the 13th. Recep Ivedik 2's predecessor was one of Turkey's highest-grossing movies, taking $24.6 million there (and $28.5 million worldwide).

Meanwhile, two American pictures disappointed in their openings. The International failed to ignite in its director's home market of Germany, ranking third with an average $2.1 million. Confessions of a Shopaholic earned only $3.1 million from its first nine markets, including Mexico (a blah $329,557) and Russia (a decent $1.8 million). Additionally, The Pink Panther 2 proved to be a huge bust overseas as its 25-territory expansion, yielding just $3.9 million over the weekend.

Related Chart
Foreign Weekend Box Office Results

Domestic Weekend Reports
'Friday the 13th' Hacks Up Top Spot
Holdovers Live Under Killer 'Friday'



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