Around the World Roundup: ‘Slumdog’ Sensation Continues
by Conor Bresnan
Dev Patel and Freida Pinto in Slumdog Millionaire
April 1, 2009
With a body of strong holds and an excellent premiere in China, Slumdog Millionaire returned to the top of the foreign box office over the weekend, posting $12 million from 50 markets. In China, the picture's $2.93 million debut was the movie's most notable performance, ranking as the biggest launch in the past ten years for a movie not from China or America. Among holdovers, Slumdog grew two percent in Germany after a somewhat disappointing start and rose to first place in South Korea after a miniscule two percent dip. All told, Slumdog's worldwide total surpassed $300 million, including $171.3 million internationally. Next up on its schedule are the Philippines on April 11 and Japan on April 18.
Climbing to second place, Knowing grossed $9.2 million from 11 markets for a $13 million total. The thriller hasn't played in the same ballpark as past summer disaster movies, but has done well for a spring release. It led the country where it was produced, Australia, with a decent $1.3 million opening, but it was more impressive in the U.K. with a $3.5 million start. In its only holdover, Russia, it tumbled 51 percent despite a lack of competition. Knowing spreads to most markets in April.
Flexing its muscle in holdovers, Gran Torino placed third overseas with $8.9 million from 45 markets, despite another batch of mediocre openings. The action drama played okay in Mexico ($308,231), Singapore ($112,033) and South Africa ($43,830), but was nowhere near blockbuster levels. Gran Torino has made $73.3 million thus far and has a slew of key markets still ahead.
Marley and Me also showed strong holds in most markets and placed fourth on the international chart with $8 million from 46 territories for a $72.8 million tally. The dog comedy will reach the final territories of its foreign campaign this weekend with three stops in Europe, and will likely cross $100 million, or significantly less than its domestic haul.
With $7.9 million from 13 markets, Paul Blart: Mall Cop hit fifth place, bolstered by its first impressive non-English territory. In Germany, where American comedies routinely do well, Paul Blart earned $4 million from 504 screens, leading the territory with a bigger start than The Heartbreak Kid and Anger Management among past movies. Elsewhere, its results were still poor. Though it's the current top grosser of the year domestically, Paul Blart mustered a mere $52,615 start in Spain, and it tumbled 62 percent in Singapore and 53 percent in Mexico. All told, it has grossed $14.2 million.
Outside the Top Five, Monsters Vs. Aliens fell sharply in Russia and had decent starts in six new smaller markets, bringing its total to $12.4 million. The Haunting in Connecticut opened to a respectable $1.6 million in the United Kingdom but wasn't in the upper tier of horror debuts. Meanwhile, Watchmen entered the last market of its disappointing international campaign, Japan, where it launched with a moderate, eighth-place $1.1 million. Its $67.4 million overall total is well short of its domestic total and much worse than comparable titles like Wanted, Iron Man and Ghost Rider.