Around the World Roundup: ‘Benjamin Button’ Tops Quiet Weekend

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

February 25, 2009

The foreign box office was relatively quiet over the weekend due to a lack of new product in most markets. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button continued its reign with $21 million from 61 markets, lifting its total to $153 million. Although the fantastical drama was unremarkable in its debuts in seven smaller markets, its holdovers were solid. So far, its top markets are Japan ($16.8 million total), Germany ($16.1 million) and France ($14.7 million).

Bolt stayed in second place with $11.3 million from 35 markets, pushing its total past $150 million. In France, the animated comedy dropped just 10 percent for $15.1 million in three weeks, and it remained in first place in the United Kingdom, tallying $19.7 million in two weeks there.

The most impressive performance belonged to Slumdog Millionaire, which was up four percent to $8.4 million from 25 markets, boosting its total to $74.3 million. The drama's drop-off rates were slight across the board. In the U.K., it made $2.2 million in its seventh week, and, in France, it rose 15 percent for an $8.6 million total. Even in markets where movies normally play for only two or three weeks, Slumdog was held well, including Malaysia (off 8 percent), Singapore (22 percent) and the United Arab Emirates (31 percent). Like most of its previous openings, Slumdog's start in Mexico wasn't impressive, ranking third with $521,951, but it will rely on its multiple Oscar wins to help spread word-of-mouth.

He's Just Not That Into You slid 42 percent in the weekend after Valentine's Day, grossing $8 million from 25 markets for a $32.1 million total. The romantic comedy opened well in Greece ($219,316) and Singapore ($275,090) but fell steeply nearly everywhere else.

Valkyrie also took a steep dive over the weekend. Falling 41 percent, it rounded out the Top Five with $6.5 million from 50 territories for an $81.6 million total. The World War II thriller's only notable debut was in Greece, where it made $375,489. Up next for it is China this weekend and Japan on Mar. 20, which means it will most likely cross the $100 million mark.

Two Clint Eastwood pictures showed some box office chops. Changeling led Japan with a fantastic $2.5 million debut, knocking The Curious Case of Benjamin Button off the top spot. Gran Torino earned $480,273 in a limited launch in the U.K., where it will expand nationwide this weekend. The action drama has already grossed $7.8 million from only four markets, while Changeling has more than doubled the total combined grosses of Best Picture Oscar nominees The Reader, Milk and Frost/Nixon.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, a surprisingly successful movie climbed to first place. Weonang Sori (Old Partner), a documentary about a man and his cow, made $1.9 million from 276 screens over the weekend, beating out five new releases. The picture started back on Jan. 15 with $37,253 on seven screens and has already become the highest-grossing documentary ever there with $6.1 million.

Related Chart
Foreign Weekend Box Office Results

Last Weekend
'Benjamin Button' Clings to Lead

Domestic Weekend Report
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DAILY: Friday Estimates, 'Pacific Rim Uprising' #1
WEEKLY: 'Black Panther' Tops the Week with $35.8m
DAILY: Thursday 3/22 (49 tracked)
DAILY: Wednesday, 3/21 (41 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 3/20 (40 tracked)
New MPAA Ratings Added
DAILY: Monday, 3/19 (40 tracked)
WEEKEND: Weekend Actuals, 'Black Panther' #1