Overseas business was booming on the final weekend of 2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey remained in first place by a large margin, though Life of Pi and Les Miserables also put up strong numbers. Meanwhile, Skyfall became the 14th movie ever to reach $1 billion worldwide, and that's before it even opens in China.
The Hobbit grossed an estimated $106.5 million from 62 territories this weekend. Its biggest market was Australia, where it debuted to a massive $18.6 million. That's ahead of all three Lord of the Rings movies by a significant margin.
Thanks to a holiday boost, The Hobbit's holdover territories dropped just 12 percent on average (about on par with its domestic dip). It remained in first place in Germany (up 16 percent to $16.7 million), the U.K. (up 12 percent to $10.9 million) and France (up 23 percent to $8.6 million). So far, The Hobbit has earned $464 million overseas and $686.7 million worldwide; while it would seem like $1 billion is a foregone conclusion now, it remains to be seen how it holds up coming out of the holiday season.
Playing in 55 markets, Life of Pi had its highest-grossing week yet with $40 million. In Germany, it opened in second place behind The Hobbit with a very good $7.4 million. It also improved to $6.7 million in the U.K. and $4.06 million in France. Finally, it more than doubled its opening weekend in Italy with $2.4 million. Ang Lee's adaptation of the classic novel has already grossed over $219 million overseas, and a final total well north of $300 million is a guarantee.
After opening in Japan last weekend, Les Miserables expanded in to a few other major markets this weekend and earned a hefty $38.6 million. Its biggest market, by far, was South Korea, where it grossed $20.1 million through its first six days. It's already Universal's biggest movie of the year there, and will likely wind up being one of their biggest movies ever. Meanwhile, it grossed a very strong $8.3 million in Australia, and also added $3 million in Japan. At this very early point in its run, Les Miserables has already earned $49 million overseas; it's set to expand in to the rest of the world in early 2013, and will reach the U.K. on Jan. 11.
Wreck-It Ralph expanded in to 40 territories (55 percent of the international marketplace) and earned $20.4 million. As a result, the Disney Animation movie was able to finally push past $100 million overseas.
Jack Reacher leveraged Tom Cruise's international clout to earn $18.1 million from 32 markets, most of which were smaller ones. Among major territories, it had a fine $5.5 million five-day start in the U.K., and was also solid in France with $4.4 million. The crime thriller has grossed $22.5 million so far, and expands in to Australia, Germany, Italy, Mexico and more next weekend.
With Christmas officially in the rear-view mirror, Rise of the Guardians still managed to do respectable business this weekend. The movie added $11.6 million; top contributors were holdover markets France ($2.9 million) and the U.K. ($1.8 million). Guardians has now earned $165.2 million overseas.
Skyfall added $10.3 million for a new foreign total of $710.6 million. Add in its domestic tally ($289.6 million), and it's now at just over $1 billion worldwide. That makes it the 14th movie to ever reach that milestone, and only the sixth 2D-only outing.
"To see a film connect with audiences is always gratifying but the success of this film is nothing short of extraordinary," said Jeff Blake, chairman of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution at Sony. "After 50 years of entertaining audiences all over the world, Skyfall is the most successful James Bond film of all time. We couldn't be more excited for Michael Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig, and especially the fans who put James Bond in this very rare and very exclusive billion dollar box office club."
The movie still has an opening in China to look forward to in January, and a final total just under $1.1 billion isn't out of the question.
Coinciding with its domestic debut, Billy Crystal-Bette Midler comedy Parental Guidance grossed $6.6 million from six foreign markets this weekend. It had fine debuts in Australia ($2.8 million), the U.K. ($2.1 million) and Mexico ($1.4 million).