Around the World Roundup: 'Narnia' Bewitches 13 Nations, 'Goblet' Grows Past $400M
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe heated up the holiday season over the weekend, unseating Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in all of its 13 debuting territories. With the nearly worldwide release of King Kong on Dec. 14, the foreign box office will soon forget its recent woeful times.

Overall, Goblet of Fire retained the top spot, squeezing $52 million out of 58 territories for a $414.2 million total. There is no doubt now that it will soon top Revenge of the Sith's $468.2 million to become the year's highest grossing picture.

The Goblet of Fire entered only one new market, but it was a doozy. In Israel, it notched the biggest opening ever, grossing $814,000 from 37 prints. The opening was more than 50 percent bigger than all previous Harry Potter pictures.

Among holdovers, South Korea was the standout, where Goblet of Fire fell a mere eight percent in its sophomore session. The weekend tally was $4.7 million from 331 screens for a $13.1 million total, which is light-years ahead of the previous Potters through the same point.

In terms of raw grosses, France was Goblet of Fire's best market. Despite tumbling 50 percent, the picture made $9.9 million from 950 screens. Its $31.9 million total puts it behind only Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets through two weeks of release.

The Australian box office collapsed by 48 percent due mainly to Goblet of Fire's tumultuous 59 percent drop. The movie banked $3.9 million from 552 screens, improving its two-week total to $15.5 million.

Goblet of Fire continued staggering returns in most markets. Latest totals include the United Kingdom's $70.1 million, Germany's $50.1 million, Japan's $41.8 million and Italy's $22.4 million.

Distributor Buena Vista International had a tremendous weekend. The company successfully opened The Chronicles of Narnia, saw the continuing rise of Chicken Little, opened Memoirs of a Geisha successfully in one market and saw Flightplan become the 20th picture of the year to cross the century mark. After adding $3.2 million over the weekend the Jodie Foster thriller pushed its overseas tally to $100.3 million.

Letting The Goblet of Fire prepare the marketplace for its arrival, The Chronicles of Narnia grossed $41.5 million from just 13 markets.

Narnia amassed $16 million from 499 screens in the United Kingdom, its biggest territory. Not only was it the fourth biggest opening ever for a non-sequel, but it topped the debuts of both The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.

Several other territories supplied records for the picture. In Spain, Narnia grossed $7.5 million from 359 screens, making it the third largest opening ever there behind Torrente 3 and Goblet of Fire. The C.S. Lewis fantasy generated $5.9 million from 396 screens in Mexico, the fifth highest launch there on record. In New Zealand, it snared $1 million from 107 screens, becoming the largest opening ever for a non-sequel.

Numerous markets, although furnishing first place finishes, didn't fare as well. In Germany, Narnia grossed $6 million from 1,056 screens, a smaller gross than Goblet of Fire did in its third weekend and well below the standards of the Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings franchises.

Other moderate starts were Brazil's $1.4 million from 232 screens, Austria's $1.1 million from 89 and Switzerland's $1 million.

The foreign market is saturated with family fare, but audiences are still showing up in hoards to see these movies. In the face of Narnia and Potter, Chicken Little still found room to be No. 3 on the international chart with an $11 million weekend for a $56.2 million running total.

Chicken Little was powered by a France's $4.5 million on 420 screens. Two weeks ago, the animated comedy opened on the French equivalent of Hollywood's El Capitan theatre and averaged over $135,000 in each week there. Chicken also entered Argentina, scoring Buena Vista's largest opening ever for an animated movie with $765,000 from 120 screens.

Debuting in Japan, Oscar hopeful Memoirs of a Geisha grossed $2 million from 265 screens. The movie, set in early 20th Century Japan, was hurt by the controversy over its largely Chinese cast. However, a large section of audiences, who fell in love with The Last Samurai, another English-language take on Japanese culture, decided to see the picture anyway. The period drama will look for strong returns in the weeks to come.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose drew $5.3 million for a $51.9 million total. The horror drama wasn't impressive in France, where it opened in sixth place with $1 million from 232 screens.

Just Like Heaven $5.3 million for an $18.3 million total. Moderate openings include Belgium's $291,066 from 40 screens, Greece's $115,894 from 24, the Netherlands' $165,708 from 57 and Norway's $112,676 from 26 screens.


• 12/11/05 -
'Narnian' Delight: Passion of the 'Lion' Pays Off