Around the World Round Up: A Very Strong 'Engagement'

by Conor Bresnan
November 3, 2004

Local productions dominated the international marketplace last weekend, but thanks to a wider release Shark Tale again grabbed first place.

Un long dimanche de fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement) lived up to expectations in France with the fourth biggest opening weekend of the year. Its estimated $9.7 million (€8.0 million) start from 707 prints was easily good enough for first place. The opening was also the eighth biggest ever for a French movie and the seventh biggest for Warner Bros. The Audrey Tautou drama was 64% ahead of Amelie. It was director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's, who also directed Amelie, biggest opening as well.

The World War II drama also opened in French Switzerland and Belgium. In Switzerland, it placed first with an estimated $235,000 (Franc 281,000) opening from 20 screens. The opening was 37% better than Amélie and 72% better than Cold Mountain. Belgium's estimated $315,000 (€246,000) from 40 screens was No. 1 and was 75% ahead of Amélie and 11% better than Cold Mountain.

Seven Dwarfs (Sieben Zwerge - Männer allein im Wald), a German family comedy that Universal acquired for Germany, Austria and Switzerland surprised with giant starts in all three markets. In Germany, it opened at No. 1 with a stunning $11,321,728 gross from 753 screens. It had a 53% market share and was the third biggest opening of the year there behind (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1's $15.4 million and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban's $14.8 million as well as Universal's biggest opening of all time there.

In Austria, Seven Dwarfs was No. 1 with a 50% market share and a weekend gross of $1,321,010 at 95 dates. That was the third biggest opening of the year behind (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as well as Universal's biggest opening of all time there. In German-Switzerland, Seven Dwarfs grossed $484,079 at 39 dates, which was the second biggest opening of the year behind only (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1.

Seven Dwarfs' opening weekend total from the three territories is a terrific $13,126,808.

Finding Neverland wasn't very impressive in its U.K. premiere. The drama about J.M. Barrie's experiences during the writing of Peter Pan grossed only $1,426 501 from 325 screens. By comparison, the more family-oriented Peter Pan grossed $2,413,229 from 439 screens back in December of 2003. The Johnny Depp-Kate Winslet drama will have to hope for long legs.

Shark Tale again had strong holds across the globe as well as excellent openings in four markets. Best of all debuts was Russia's $1,414,013 from 180 screens ($1,527,603 including previews). That was 41% better than Finding Nemo, but 29% below Shrek 2. Smaller openings include Hungary's $157,484 on 35, Panama's $53,084 on 19, and Slovenia's $55,821.

The biggest surprise, however, came from France where in a holiday session Shark Tale rose an enormous 93% from the previous weekend to $5,255,337 from 643 screens for a 19-day total of $14,889,322. In the U.K., it fell 39% in its third week to $4,384,299 on 503 screens. That pushed its 17-day tally to $35,229,330. Germany was off 34% in its third week to $1,309,368 on 674 for an 18-day total of $9,006,374.

That stunning French hold and Russian opening helped Shark Tale rise 2% from last weekend's total international weekend gross. The DreamWorks' hit grossed $16,665,219 over the weekend from 4,113 locations in 23 territories for an estimated $111.5 million total.

Collateral wrapped up its international tour in Denmark, Greece and Japan last weekend to excellent results. In Japan, thanks to star Tom Cruise, who's had a string of hits including The Last Samurai ($119.3 million), Minority Report ($40.9 million) and Mission: Impossible 2 ($83.6 million), Collateral had a solid $2,881,575 debut from 287 screens or $3,850,017 including previews. Although that doesn't match M:I 2's $13.1 million start or Minority Report's $6,329,370 debut it was extremely high for a crime thriller. Collateral looks to have long legs and finish north of $15 million.

Collateral also opened in Denmark and Greece where it grossed $212,629 on 40 screens and $392,665 on 46 respectively. Both openings were solid. It held well in other markets too. Spain's 7% third-week increase to $951,149 on 315, which pushed its total to $5.4 million, was the best followed closely by Italy's 4% drop to $1,080,621 from 199 screens, which pushed its total there to $7.1 million.

Overall, Collateral grossed $9,158,134 from 2,509 screens in 25 markets for an estimated $86.5 million total. The picture should top the century mark, but it's not guaranteed.

Alien vs. Predator had an exceptional debut in France, which led to an impressive $6.9 million international weekend gross from 1,780 screens in 18 markets and a $40.5 million overall total. AVP's opening in France was $3.3 million from 568 screens for an unconfirmed top five ranking.

Shall We Dance continued to entertain Australian audiences with a first place, second weekend haul of $1,266,842 from 268 screens, off just 18% for a $3,601,333 total. The movie opened in New Zealand, but wasn't as potent with a $185,433 weekend from 58 screens. With previews its total there grew to $315,854.

The Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez dance picture was more powerful in Italy with a second place opening of $2.99 million from 406 screens. All told, its international total grew to $7.54 million.

Opening just above Shall We Dance in Italy was The Village, which grossed $3.29 million from 411 screens, which was 12% bigger in local currency than M. Night Shyamlan's The Sixth Sense. That helped push the thriller's total to $136.1 million.

White Chicks had another buoyant session abroad, grossing $3,144,046 from 1,511 screens in 22 markets for a $28,168,178 total. Due to holidays in France, it rose 12% to $737,759 on 196 screens for a $1,710,931 total, but elsewhere holds were mainly higher 25% range.

Woody Allen's critically lauded Melinda and Melinda had solid success in its first territory worldwide, Spain. The comedy featuring Radha Mitchell and Will Farrell opened in fifth place, grossing $961,000 from 155 screens. That is Allen's strongest debut there in recent years besting Anything Else's $514,000 launch from 113 screens and Hollywood Ending's debut of $374,000 from 108.

The Bourne Supremacy had no new openings. It was No. 2 in Germany with a weekend gross of $1,834,935 from 563 screens, off 31% from its opening. The 11-day cume is $5,430,418 or at the same level as The Bourne Identity. Austria grossed $218,244 at 54 dates, off 43% from last week's opening. The 10-day cume is $862,293, which is 25% ahead of The Bourne Identity. Supremacy's international weekend gross was $2,767,788 at 1,050 dates in 20 territories, which raised the total to $90 million. There are 14 territories still to open, including Japan on Feb. 5.

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid inched above the $1 million mark in international receipts thanks to Russia's $464,649 debut from 164 screens ($498,642 with previews). The opening was nothing spectacular, but neither were the movie's expectations. The sequel grossed $1,004,870 from 641 screens in 28 markets over the weekend for a $22,888,357 total.

Exorcist: The Beginning grossed $4.9 million over the Halloween session from 1,456 screens in 20 markets for a $9.4 million total. In Spain, it nabbed a strong No. 1 debut of approximately $2.2 million (€1.7 million) from 292 prints. That was on par with The Ring and 5% better than Ghost Ship. The horror prequel also opened in first place in Mexico, grossing $1.1 million (Peso 12.1 million) from 350 prints. That was 71% better than Ghost Ship and on par with The Ring. In Brazil, it also placed first with $556,000 (Real 1.6 million) from 165 prints. That was 73% better than Ghost Ship and 31% better than Gothika. It wasn't so good in the U.K. where it grossed just $1.1 million (£577,128) from 327 situations.

Before Sunset continued to play well in limited release across the globe. In Brazil, it grossed $44,700 in its opening from 6 screens, which outperformed the original by 262%. In the Philippines the sequel grossed $54,100 from 17 screens in Metro Manila to rank in third place on the chart behind The Grudge and White Chicks.

Holdovers continued to supply solid numbers. In its sophomore session in Argentina, Before Sunset was off just 20% from its opening for a $65,900 (Peso 194,700) weekend gross from 10 screens. That brought its total there to $175,300 (Peso 518,300). In its third week in Hong Kong, the sequel grossed $13,700 (HK$106,000) from just 2 screens for a $70,742 (HK$551,790) total.

The Manchurian Candidate had an O.K. premiere in Australia, grossing $729,000 from 187 screens. The remake placed third behind Shall We Dance and Collateral.

Shrek 2 fell a reasonable 35% in Greece to $225,182 on 80 screens for a two-weekend total of $825,507. Its international total grew to $442.1 million.

The Princess Diaries 2 had a surprisingly strong opening in South Korea, grossing $404,000 on 84 screens, which was the best take for a U.S. production in that market. That helped improve its international total to $19.4 million.

The Terminal grossed $2,331,225 from 1,147 locations in 18 markets for an $86.75 million total. It was attributed mainly to Germany's fourth week haul of $1,244,942 from 493 screens for a $11.6 million total. It was off 28%.

I, Robot moved up to $196 million in international receipts after a $1.9 million weekend.

Catwoman grossed $815,600 over the weekend from 368 screens in 17 countries for a $36.6 million, while Scooby-Doo 2 improved its total to $97 million and Troy grew to $363.3 million.

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