Around the World Roundup: French Comedy, ‘Slumdog’ Lead
by Conor Bresnan
March 24, 2009
The foreign box office was treated to some local flavor over the weekend as a French comedy topped the chart. Coco grossed a sensational $11.7 million from three markets. In its native France, it earned $11.2 million, which was better than fellow comedies Disco and Iznogoud and even larger than The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. Additionally it was Coco director and actor Gad Emaleh's largest opening to date, ahead of his box office hits La Doublure (The Valet, Hors de prix (Priceless) and La Vérité si je mens! 2.
Rising to second place, Slumdog Millionaire yielded $11.1 million from 50 markets and boosted its total to $152.8 million. The drama's improvement was due to debuts in Germany and South Korea, ranking second in each market with $2.2 million and $1.3 million, respectively. Both starts were solid, but healthy holds will be needed to match the picture's impressive runs elsewhere in the world. Slumdog's openings were relatively stronger in Austria ($338,370) and Slovenia ($68,713), placing first in each. Among outstanding older territories, Slumdog grew two percent in its tenth weekend in France, placing fourth and for a $16.9 million total. Next up, it hits China this weekend.
Despite poor starts in all of its new markets, Gran Torino abated 12 percent, grossing $9.7 million from 38 markets for the weekend. The action drama debuted to a mere $391,425 in Brazil, $308,425 in South Korea and $138,591 in Sweden. It held well, though, remaining in first place in Spain and falling just seven percent in France. With $60.9 million in the till, Gran Torino rides into Mexico this weekend.
Dropping from first to fourth, Marley and Me bagged $9.1 million from 42 territories for a $62 million total. The dog comedy fared well again in Europe, including debuts in Spain ($1.3 million) and Portugal ($306,623), as well as South Africa ($236,143 start). Generally, Marley hasn't held particularly well, though business has been good across the board. It enters Denmark, Sweden and Japan this weekend.
Business in Germany and Austria alone were big enough to put Männersache in the foreign Top Five. The German comedy led its native land with $6.2 million from 637 screens, which was better than Meet the Fockers, Mr. Bean's Holiday and You Don't Mess with Zohan. Including Austria's fourth place opening, Männersache grossed $6.4 million over the weekend. Watchmen was close behind with $6.3 million, hemorrhaging 53 percent for a $60.6 million total.
Outside the Top Five, Monsters Vs. Aliens was unleashed in Russia and Ukraine before any other market and generated $6.2 million. In Russia, the animated comedy's $5.8 million debut was the 25th biggest ever, though well below Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. Also in Russia, Knowing opened second to Monsters with $3.3 million, which was solid for a non-sequel and non-family movie. Duplicity was as modest overseas as it was domestically, producing just $4 million from ten markets, including major territories Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Among notable local releases, Otra pelicula de huevos y un pollo led Mexico with a spectacular $2.2 million, rating as the third biggest opening ever for a local movie there. Pedro Almodóvar's new movie, Los Abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces), premiered in second place in Spain with $1.7 million from 247 screens in five days. Its debut was better than Almodóvar's Hable con ella (Talk to Her) and La Mala educcación (Bad Education) but worse than Volver. Broken Embraces is scheduled for major releases in most markets based on Almodóvar's proven track record.
Meanwhile, Dragonball Evolution had one of the steepest drops Japan's Top Ten has seen recently. The manga comic book adaptation tumbled 60 percent in a market where most movies never fall more than 40 percent. Overall, Dragonball has been unimpressive with $17.8 million from eight markets in two weeks.