Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol opened throughout most of the world this weekend and took a commanding lead at the international box office. The fourth installment of the spy franchise debuted to $69.5 million in 42 markets representing approximately 70 percent of the marketplace. It was particularly impressive in South Korea ($11.4 million) and Japan ($9.3 million), and was also solid in Australia ($4.2 million) and Germany ($4.1 million). In all four of these markets, Ghost Protocol's opening marked a significant improvement over Mission: Impossible III.
The action in Ghost Protocol takes place in Moscow, Dubai and Mumbai, and consequently the movie played extremely well in all three of the respective countries. It opened to $6.04 million in Russia, which is over twice as much as Mission: Impossible III. It also scored the highest debut ever in the United Arab Emirates with $2.4 million from just 27 locations for a per-theater average close to $90,000. Finally, it launched to an enormous $4 million in India, which is more than four times the opening of Mission: Impossible III.
It did take a bit of a hit in France ($5.5 million) and Spain ($2.6 million), but on the whole the movie seems well-positioned to challenge Mission: Impossible III's $263 million foreign total.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol start internationally," wrote Anthony Marcoly, president of Paramount Pictures International. "The filmmaking team has provided us with an exceptionally playing film that moviegoers around the world are embracing. With two and a half weeks of school holidays still to come, we are positioned extremely well as the must see event over the Christmas season."
Last weekend's winner Puss in Boots dropped to second place with $29.8 million from 43 markets. Its only major opening was in Italy ($3.1 million), and it has so far earned $188.2 million overseas.
Domestic champ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows debuted to $14.6 million in just six markets. That includes a $6 million start in the United Kingdom and a $4.8 million opening in Italy, neither of which were significantly different than the first Sherlock Holmes. That movie wound up with $315 million overseas, and Game of Shadows will keep working towards that figure when it expands in to South Korea and Germany this weekend.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked opened to $13.3 million in 36 markets this weekend. It earned $3.7 million in the U.K., or less than half of The Squeakquel's $8.6 million. It did manage to take first place in Mexico with $1.7 million and perform decently in Spain with $1.3 million, though it was off from The Squeakquel in both of these territories as well.
Arthur Christmas added $9.5 million for a total of $72.7 million. It was up four percent to $2.4 million in the U.K., and it has now earned a strong $24.5 million there.